Google SMU Get NTU

Singapore Management University (SMU) students not too happy about Nanyang Technological University (NTU) buying the keyword smu at Google Sponsored Links. Read the SMU student’s blog post here.

NTU sponsored link using keyword smu

I think NTU is just wasting taxpayers’ money.

NTU is paying at least US$0.40 per click for the keyword smu. I know because I bid > US$0.40 to place a sponsored link to this blog post and only got a second place.

How much did NTU pay for SMU


SIM & “singapore management university”?

You may realize that SIM ad appears when you search for singapore management university. That’s because SIM bid for the keyword management using broad search.

[Update 26 March 2008]

NTU replied to the Sponsored Links Ad fiasco to bloggers:

The impression I get from the so-call reply… “its not our fault, its the problem with Google’s dynamic ad copy feature”.

Then don’t use Google AdWords or get a more responsible Google reseller.


  1. Hey Shi thanks for the link.

    I can’t speak for the others, but for me the issue is not buying the “SMU” keyword because that’s common practice for competitions.

    The issue is that the sponsored link says “SMU Singapore” as the link, while the url is NTU’s (ie pretending to be an SMU link). I think that’s blatant misrepresentation.

    And yes, it is a waste of taxpayer’s money as well.

  2. Yes, using “SMU Singapore” to advertise for NTU courses is blatantly wrong. It reflected very badly of my alma mater.

    Why a supposedly prestigious school has to use such lowly technique.

    Hopefully, they will remove all the keywords related to “smu” and “singapore management university”.

  3. Wasn’t NTU recently privatised? In any case, what’s with this Singaporean obsession of “wasting taxpayer’s money”? Most Singaporeans pay little/no income tax anyway.

  4. […]using dynamic ad copy[…]

    Google AdWords allows multiple ad copy for each ad group to facilitate split testing.

    I think NTU may be using different Ad Group for smu and smu singapore.

    To find out what other keywords NTU is buying at Google Adwords, try this keyword tool.

  5. The money spent on Google Ads is perhaps insignificant if one considers the many full page advertisements that NTU, NUS and SMU have been taking up in the newspapers these days. The Unis are throwing too much good money at advertising when it can be channeled to the students.

  6. Squaredeals,

    You’re right! The money spent on Google Adwords is insignificant compared to advertising in the print media. But that doesn’t mean NTU has to use another university’s name to advertise in Google. I wonder if NTU would use “SMU” in newspaper ad.

  7. I think if they are using dynamic ad copy, it might not be their intention to use another uni’s name. Don’t think they really need to use other uni’s name to promote themselves.

  8. Hi..

    Just my view. I think NTU marketing is a little too aggressive this time. Besides the google link, they are giving brochures and if i’m not wrong, goodie bag OUTSIDE SMU administration Building. I think this kind of marketing will not Promote the school, but instead pull the school image down.

    I believe NTU has the potential to draw good students, even if they do not use such aggressive marketing tactics. =)

  9. Tactics like this is common place in the Search Engines Marketing world, but this was executed wrongly in NTU’s case. Whoever did this for NTU should be sacked.

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