As of today, Google’s new Partners Program is now in effect. Perhaps the biggest change is the offer of free exams. Google AdWords exams previously cost $50 USD then was later offered for free for individuals who were connected to a registered partner. Now all exams are offered free of charge to anyone who signs up for a Partners account. For those who are already hold a Partners account (and for some reason didn’t get the email) here is the list of changes:
How this will affect Google Certified Partner individuals:
- Beginning September 30, 2013, access to your GCP account will be read-only.
- You’ll need a Google Partners account to take exams and get certified.
- Taking exams and getting certified will be free. (Currently $50 USD per exam)
- Your GCP exam history and AdWords certification status will transfer to Partners when you join using the same Google account.
- Certifications earned through GCP will remain valid through the expiration date.
How this will affect Google Certified Partner companies:
- Beginning September 30, 2013, a Google Partners account will be required to manage your company’s profile on Google Partner Search. You’ll be able to manage both your individual certifications and company profile using the same Partners account.
- Certified Partner companies will remain listed on Google Partner Search until November 13, 2013.
- To continue being listed on Google Partner Search after November 13, a company must qualify for the new Google Partner badge.
- Current Certified Partners will not automatically qualify for the new Partner badge.
- Use of the old ‘AdWords Certified Partner’ badge for promotional or other purposes won’t be permitted after November 13.
Some long-time AdWords Certified Pro’s have scoffed at the changes (perhaps they are upset about the $50), saying it’s no longer “worth” the labour cost to use the badge. But achieving Partner status with Google goes beyond just garnering a few free certifications and deeming yourself a pro. It takes time, dedication and skill to execute and be successful in online advertising and Google doesn’t just let anyone flaunt it.