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This 356 message thread spans 12 pages: < < 356 ( 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 > >     
New rule? Quality Violations => Adwords ban

 11:51 am on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Today I received an email from Adwords.

The email mentions that I have submitted several ads for landing pages that are considered to be of a poor quality and that the landingpage does not comply with the 'landing page and site quality guidelines'. I most remove the ads. Well, no problem.

The email also mentions that it is a final warning. It tells me if they find any ad in the future that is in violation with the site quality guidelines (the product itself is not the problem) they will immediately disqualify me from participating in the AdWords program. Now, that is a problem.

A bit strange? Also because I’m using Adwords more then 4 years and then I receive an automated email in English while I have a Dutch account.

Anyway, how can Adwords ban you for submitting sites that that seems to be in violation with the Landing Page and Site Quality Guidelines while there is not a tool where can check if an URL is ok to submit?

How can you be for 100% sure if a site is in violation with the Landing Page and Site Quality Guidelines before you submit the site? That is impossible right?

As mentioned, I’m using Adwords for myself and for other companies for over four years so I know how it works. The site I submitted yesterday is nothing different from many other sites I promote.

If Google would like to ban clients for this than they should offer a tool where you can check your website for Page and Site Quality Guidelines before you submit the site. If Google does not offer a tool like this then they should not ban clients.

[edited by: engine at 1:05 pm (utc) on Sep. 25, 2009]
[edit reason] user requested edit [/edit]



 3:16 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Exactly as byron and dlocks have stated - there is nothing you can do do 'get around' this.

>>To find what triggered the warning

This isn't on a keyword level SuperF, this is on a domain / account level, and will have been triggered by the site being one of the following:

1) Data collection sites that offer free gifts, subscription services etc., in order to collect private information

2) Arbitrage sites that are designed for the sole purpose of showing ads

3) Malware sites that knowingly or unknowingly install software on a visitor's computer

4)eBook sites that show frequent ads

5)'Get rich quick' sites

6)Comparison shopping sites

7)Travel aggregators

8)Affiliates (especially those who have used multiple domains in the past)


 3:19 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm sure knowledge of how they're treating their (past) customers goes right to the top - the companies incredible success and wealth is only outdone by the level of arrogance now being displayed.


 3:57 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

I got banned also last week.

I'm a furniture guy that has no affiliates and participates in no affiliate programs. I've had an account that I spend from 7 to 10k per month only inactive for about 3 days in the 5 years. I hadn't received even a single warning ever regarding the quality of my landing pages (I've looked back). I've gone through my adwords account and I'm all 8/10 and 10/10s for quality score.

Google has told me to "go die in a fire." No help, no other way to appeal.


 4:01 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

According to my Adwords support person, the only way to detect poor site quality is by looking at the quality score of a keyword...

As an example, maps com, rated poor by Google, a mark against me, can't see how I could have known in advance.


 4:07 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just had a quick peek at your site. I think you may have got caught in the sweep - unless your account has other domains that are different, and you've been banned by association. There are a couple of things that are missing off your site that we know Google like - whether this could be the reason is possible. There is no privacy policy - and although your contact details are there - perhaps a separate page with your full contact details is needed. Others things spring to mind, but perhaps it is just as simple as that. The site was also very slow to load. Probably not very helpful - but I'd appeal if I were you.


 4:15 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)


trying to appeal. getting someone to get back to me isn't the easiest task. thank you for looking at my site though.


 4:37 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ok, at least someone in support is looking into the issue now. I have my hopes moderately up.


 5:03 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

This is developing into a situation that could be rife for abuse.

With a near monopoly in search advertising, Google has the power to make or break a business. Without any objective standards for quality score and no chance of appeal (unless you know someone), who's to say in the future that one could be banned just because they are competition to someone's friend? It could even develop into a "pay to play" situation like we have seen in some local and state governments. This is too much power for one company to have over the economy.

I would compare this situation to advertising in the Yellow Pages in the eighties. If for some reason you were not allowed to purchase an ad but your competitors were, it could be devastating to a business.

I find the whole thing very disturbing.


 5:10 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

There is a very real need for an anti-trust investigation of Google. Seriously.


 5:34 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Agree. If a company can make or break multi-million dollar businesses with one automated email, I believe they have an unacceptable level of control over the market.


 5:38 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

And, as a few people have noted, the Microsoft comparison is spot-on. MS used and abused monopoly power on their ascendancy, and now find out a few years later that they don't have too many friends left amongst the very people who put them where they are.


 8:08 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

:) nice heat


 9:07 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

I was told the same information as Dlocks:
A site that Google gives a QS of 10/10 today and even for years in the past can suddenly drop to a 1/10. If this happens the advertiser is given a 'strike' for advertising a poor quality site. Too many strikes and your banned.

And as SuperF stated, the only way to find out is to go live with the site and ad. However, if your site is not up to the "Emperor's" standards be prepared to receive a brutal penalty.

This is complete insanity!
- No precise guidelines
- One warning (SOMETIMES NONE!)
- No recourse



 9:15 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

My opinion on this matter, is that google must be more transparent on the landing page quality score. Spell out specifically what is wrong with the page and what must be fixed. (No generalities). Google is hiding what it wants in a black box and not sharing this information, making it impossible for some to comply.

I just spent 2 months redoing my entire site to meet all the requirements that I was told by a rep google wanted to see. I did this and more. Loads of content. I even got a new domain to start fresh. Within 3 days, it was slapped down. Unbelievable.

Is what they are doing legal? Is there the possibility that advertisers who were unfairly slapped will band together in a legal action? Something just isn't right with the way google is treating people like trash. Certainly not the way most businesses treat their loyal customers. I read on here people who have used adwords for 7 years, then they slap you down like you are nothing.

Sure there are some bad advertisers out there. But most of us are trying hard to comply with rules that really are vague at best.


 9:59 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

This is all information I can give you regarding the final warning. Don't contact us any more about this warning. Further communication about this issue will be handled as not received.

All that? They could have said the same thing in just two words.


 10:20 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

This isn't on a keyword level SuperF, this is on a domain / account level, and will have been triggered by the site being one of the following:

1) Data collection sites that offer free gifts, subscription services etc., in order to collect private information

This is a little inaccurate though, don't you think?

I mean Google flat out says that Adwords is perfect for "lead generation".

Isn't lead generation basically "give us your info in exchange for XYZ?"

For example, "Just enter your contact info below to receive your free report on saving money on your next furnace install and one of our representatives will follow up with you".

That's lead gen...it would also fall into exchanging "private info for a free gift", right?


 10:21 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

First off, my apology for the radio silence.

And, no, I was not advised by anyone to remain silent as been suggested earlier in the thread - it is far simpler than that. I was out of the office for much of Friday and all of Monday for family related reasons - and not attending to this forum, or any other AdWords related task.

Upon my return on Tuesday I started out way behind the curve - in many areas, including this forum, and I have been catching up ever sense. Unfortunately, reading this really extensive thread carefully enough to 'get' all of it, and then exploring the situation behind it were not the first things that I could tackle.

In any case, I have done some digging to try to understand the situation - and, more importantly, I have also been contacted by a number of folks here at Google and asked to respond in this thread.

Below I have copy/pasted a document sent to me by a short time ago by colleague on the Ads Quality team, by way of providing more information. First, however, two quick notes:

* As an aside to the moderator who has in the past asked that I not quote emails in this forum, per the forum charter, please note that this is not a quoted email. Rather, it is quoted from a document.

* The document as sent to me included three inline links to the AdWords Help Center - which I have converted to references, noted like so: (ref1)

Quoting with no other changes by me:

The suspensions and final warnings that are referenced in this thread are due to account level actions taken against advertisers who've submitted multiple sites that violate our landing page quality guidelines. This is an existing policy to discourage repeat offenders by taking account level action. These final warnings and suspensions were only applied to sites with multiple violations which were manually reviewed to ensure that our policies were being applied correctly.

Certain kinds of websites (ref1) are not allowed per our policies because the user experience is of low quality or we consistently receive negative feedback from our users about these kinds of pages. These sites include:

* Data collection sites that offer the false promise of free items, etc., in order to collect private information.
* Arbitrage sites that are designed for the purpose of showing ads
* Affiliates who provide limited value by being a bridge page with the intent of solely driving traffic to another site or who are framing an affiliate site
* Malware sites that knowingly or unknowingly install software on a visitor's computer

You can find more information on this topic in the AdWords help center, under Landing Page Quality (ref2)

Landing page checks happen continuously, even after an ad has been approved, through both manual and automated methods. You can evaluate whether or not your site is in line with our landing page quality guidelines (ref3) If not, you can make the appropriate changes to your site or delete all ads that point to the low quality sites. Paused ads will still accrue violations against them.

We apply the same standards to all the sites that we check so violations are evaluated regardless of spend, keywords bids or history of the account.

Also note, some accounts have both allowed sites and not allowed sites. For these accounts, if you received a warning please remove the low quality sites from your account by deleting the ads pointing to these sites.

We constantly try to improve the quality of the ad experience which we believe helps both the consumer and advertiser when users can trust the quality of the site they reach when they click on an ad.


Referenced pages as noted above:

1) Are there any types of websites that merit low landing page quality scores?
[adwords.google.com...] (NOTE: this was also posted earlier in the the thread)

2) Landing Page Quality

3) Landing Page and Site Quality Guidelines

Having been posting in this forum for more than six years, I know full well that there will be follow up questions and comments. To set reasonable expectations, while I don't know that there will be much more that I will be able say, I can guarantee you that the right folks have seen this thread - and that I will make sure they see your follow up posts as well.

Again, my apology for my absence up until now.



 10:37 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

I got some further news that my account was banned because I had a close relation to other accounts in Google's system. They said it had nothing to do with anything that was on my websites and my actual quality scores and landing pages were fine.

Totally bizarre. There was nothing I did, but my account was associated with another account? And then they told me that I was still banned and to not contact them anymore.

I did use a consultant a few months ago that was in Mexico that I did cancel. There was one days worth of click fraud (Viagra or something, the guy was using the MCC) and I canceled the guy the next morning.

So I'm banned because I used a consultant that I fired? Was I not supposed to use a consultant? Is no one supposed to use a consultant at the risk of getting their adwords banned?


 10:59 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Sorry AWA but NO,
the explanation does not wash ..
I found just today ( in the space of 2 minutes ) 3 fake site review sites ..( just screenshot ..10 words lifted from site description ..blank "review" box ( with "be the first to review" the "featured" site ) ..and adsense all over them ..thinner
Arbitrage sites that are designed for the purpose of showing ads
just dont exist ..yet your adwords program takes their ads ..today ..

Shopping comparison sites are still all over adwords ..( but only big boys with deep pockets ..and wide networks..so 'really big money talks chez vous ..you only slap the little guys )..these guys ads actually say they are for the cheapest and best ( prohibited words under your TOS )deals ..and then on click just go to a page with their aff links to dozens of separate vendors sites ....no value at all to the searcher ...

warez sites ..are still advertising alongside legit sites when you search for software today ..and adsense is still all over warez sites ..

pron adwords ..still exist ..and go to sign up pages ..

I dont buy adwords ..nor do I buy your PR ..and if you believe what you posted then you need to tell your fellow workers who fed you that cr@p that it isn't true and wont wash ..and can be proven wrong in less than 30 seconds ( and please dont come back with the "we haven't gotten round to everyone yet please tell us who we missed ..1) your letters were automated ..so you could have told everyone that needed to be told ..and chose not to ..and 2)there are enough people employed by the plex to push their own brooms when cleaning day comes ..3) you have ignored the people here who are not affs ..and who only bought adwords to send visitors to their own B&M stores ..and still got slapped ..

Telling us the plex is watching the thread doesnt matter if the plex obviously doesnt give a cr@p other to to send it's PR team to say they are watching ..

Oh and one for your colleague ASA ..An item on the register dealing with child pron court case ..you served adsense on the page for "molestation" ..from "molestation news" and yes I did get the screen cap ..I have it here .. who approved that AD at the plex ?..

[edited by: Leosghost at 11:08 pm (utc) on Oct. 1, 2009]


 11:00 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Letting paused ads "accrue violations" seems pretty harsh. I have ads that have been paused prior to the public existence of the quality score system, and well before the site guidelines were ever published. A bunch of those ancient paused ads now go to 404 pages - is that a punishable offense?


 11:09 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

and regarding paused ads-

What if tomorrow the Google Algo says "hey u know what, after further consideration - that site which was slapped after years of being 10/10 is once again a great site. Lets adjust the QS back to 10/10" ... but now years of history and hard work has just been deleted

Punishing paused ads?!?! What is going on over there?


 11:15 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your reply AWA. It's very much appreciated since you are basically our only point of contact. (As you can read in my previous reply Adwords support basically forbids me to reply to the answer they have send me)

These final warnings and suspensions were only applied to sites with multiple violations which were manually reviewed to ensure that our policies were being applied correctly.
In my case it was indeed (well I think it was, because the warning email does not mention the adgroup/campaign/URL that is causing the problem) a website that got slapped a couple of months ago. I added it again in a reorganized campaign with less keywords and different ad copy to see if that would improve the quality score. That was Thursday (last week). I could not have picked a worse moment because the day after I received the first and final warning message.

Since it was no problem till last Friday to have slapped websites in your account -I thought of them as disapproved ads- the email with the first and final warning was of course an huge surprise. In my opinion Google should at least have communicated this in advance like "The past years we did not go strongly after slapped domains. This is about to change starting at... Starting on date we are going after slapped domains and you wil risk a ban. To prevent it do this and that...". Communicate communicate communicate.

Please note that the website that (in my case) was causing the problem was not a data collecting site, arbitrage site, malware site, bridge page, pdf or anything like that. Support could not tell me why that specific website got slapped. They only told me that the judgement was correct and that they could not help to improve the page.

I was promoting that specific website as an affiliate. Guess what? This specific website still shows up in the ads listed at google.com. Other affiliates are still allowed to promote this website. Is this fair? Looks like Adwords is giving websites a low quality score on a account basis instead of on a higher level. How efficient is that?

The website is still shown on google.com via other affiliates. So the quality of the displayed ads is still the same. Not a single improvement. The only result is that Google now have an angry client (me) that has been a client for many years a pays Google tens of thousands of dollars each month. What is the purpose of that?

On the first page GoodForYou wrote the following:

I'm insulted that despite trying my best, sticking to their guidelines, and committing the huge crime of attempting to work with them like civilised human beings, I am treated with no respect, like a fraudulent advertiser.

Now that is how I and many other clients are feeling.


 11:24 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Punishing paused ads?!?! What is going on over there?
Perhaps punishing deleted ads. The automated warning email platform also sends emails for ads in campaigns that have been deleted months ago but suddenly got a ‘disapproved’ status.

Will Google guarantee that the exact same thing will not happen with the final warning message in combination with deleted campaigns?


 11:31 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

I agree with whiplashblue, how are we supposed to know that we should not have old paused campaigns in our accounts? I have campaigns that I paused years ago and never deleted because, well, who cares? If they're paused they are not running, so they are not doing anything.


 11:55 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Paused ads will still accrue violations against them.

This is insanity.

As an Adwords advertiser that has been active since before Adwords was PPC...I'm responsible for an ad that I may have created 4 years ago and has been paused since then?

There is simply no logical explanation for this.


 12:28 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi AWA, and thanks for joining in.

There are many problems with this new initiative, and I'll try and outline them as concisely as possible.

1. No forewarning, no announcement. For accounts to be ended or placed on last warning for a new, unannounced policy is harsh.

2. Raw numbers being used without any regard to account size, or nature. In our example, we are affiliate marketers who direct link to thousands of merchants. If 0.1% are of poor quality does that make us a bad customer?

3. Paused ads being judged. Previously any keywords that were slapped, we paused the ad group - as a reminder not to make the same mistake again. Ad groups can be undeleted as easily as they can be unpaused.

4. Lack of information. We get emails regarding disapproved ads. But when a keyword is judged to point to a poor quality site, we are never informed. The final warning email gives zero information as to which keyword triggered it, or how to find that keyword.

5. Quality quidelines are open to interpretation. For example "Provide a short and easy path for users to purchase or receive the product or offer in your ad." or "Users should be able to easily find what your ad promises". We have no means of checking a site's quality prior to promoting it, other than using personal judgement.

I think everyone here is all for weeding out Adwords customers who repeatedly, deliberately provide a bad experience for Google searchers. Ultimately it will provide honest marketers with more clicks at less cost, and save us time and effort as well. But it seems that the "one rule for all" has been poorly implemented, placing in jeopardy many businesses that Google should regard as valuable customers.

We have ten staff who work full-time, creating and maintaining ads on Google. Given that we have all our eggs in one basket, our mantra is "do not do anything wrong". We stringently follow all Google policy to the best of our ability. Now we are all losing sleep because a handful of merchants we promoted years ago, and have since been paused, have changed their site to one of lesser quality, and through no fault of our own we are looking as losing our livelihoods. We get the impression that Google does not care about this in the slightest, even though we spend in excess of $1 million anually.


 12:28 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

AWA, Your explanation simply does not stand up. The main issue here that everyone is mad about is that nobody was given any reason as to why they got the emails. In many cases, as was mentioned, we are talking about very big accounts. Perhaps in all those accounts there are a couple of ad that you guys don't like. Don't you think it makes sense to send an explanation to "your customers" to let them know what needs fixing? With all the phds working over there, don't you think somebody would've figured out the basics of "customer service"?

Let me repeat just to make sure you got my point. These are "YOUR CUSTOMERS". Maybe you should treat them like "CUSTOMERS".


 2:13 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Paused ads will still accrue violations against them.

Interesting Google does not bother to mention this small little item in their help pages. My account manager assured me not too long ago that I need not worry about disapprovals of paused ads but I think I am gonna go delete them all.


 2:30 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is it against TOS to send a copy of this thread to my Senators?


 2:36 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

A couple of years ago, we worked with a site that started off great for 6 months or so, and then got the dreaded 1/10 Google QS slap. We took a hint, paused everything (our way of stopping), and never returned. Presumably we accrued a "violation".

Looking back at our old paused keywords, I see that we now have quality scores of 5/10 across the board - without any site changes. Does that imply Google now thinks the site is better quality, and has rescinded our "violation"?

It seems to me that if Google can't decide on a consistent view of landing page quality, it shouldn't be punishing us...


 2:56 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Now that we know paused ads can accrue violations it would be helpfull to know if the adgroup or campaign status matters. For example:

paused ad active adgroup active campaign - Assumed
paused ad active adgroup paused campaign
paused ad active adgroup deleted campaign

paused ad paused adgroup active campaign
paused ad paused adgroup paused campaign
paused ad paused adgroup deleted campaign

paused ad deleted adgroup active campaign
paused ad deleted adgroup paused campaign
paused ad deleted adgroup deleted campaign

While we are at it, can active ads in these scenarios also accure violations?

active ad active adgroup paused campaign
active ad active adgroup deleted campaign

active ad paused adgroup active campaign
active ad paused adgroup paused campaign
active ad paused adgroup deleted campaign

active ad deleted adgroup active campaign
active ad deleted adgroup paused campaign
active ad deleted adgroup deleted campaign

This 356 message thread spans 12 pages: < < 356 ( 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 > >
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