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New rule? Quality Violations => Adwords ban
Dlocks




msg:3995574
 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 Iím 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, Iím 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]

 

Kobayashi




msg:3999622
 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

flipper21




msg:3999642
 3:58 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

My site went to QS 1/10 after 2 years of not having any issues, I have been using adwords since 05. My landing page has relevant, unique content and yes, is an affiliate site. It is clearly not a bridge page, or even a review page. Many of my visitors actually send me testimonials about my great content.

One of my competitors, B****.com, has a landing page that is a full of sponsored ad links and is doing straight arbitrage on the same keywords I can't advertise on. I have shown my landing page and this arbitrage page to other folks, and none of them can imagine how google can think the arbitrage site full of ads is a "high quality" site, while my site with unique content that is related to the exact keyword is not.

Not to mention lots of other affiliate sites that i would say are much less quality than my site, all allowed to be advertising on the same exact keywords. I had 10/10 QS on my keywords before the slap, now everything is shut down overnight.

If google wants to outlaw all affiliates, then they should just say so clearly. Its painful to get slapped, but even more so to see competitors thrive at your expense with clear violations of google's own rules. Google should give clear rules, and apply those rules equally to all sites.

"Don't be evil" is still the corporate motto as far as I know, yet these actions clearly don't reflect that - especially shutting down businesses and livelihoods in this economy.

thecloser




msg:3999649
 4:05 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

AWA, could you clarify that direct linking to a merchant as an affiliate is/is not a low quality landing page experience?

JoeT321




msg:3999666
 4:36 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

"Affiliates who provide limited value by being a bridge page with the intent of solely driving traffic to another site"

AWA:

1. What exactly is "limited value" and how would an affiliate build a site to not get penalized by this bridge page policy?

I have affiliate sites with 50-200+ pages of 600+ words unique content (no affiliate links) on the same domain as the landing page (not a review page, even though your Quality Rater Guidelines states that not all review pages are thin affiliates): Still slapped.

I have affiliate sites that have WAY more unique content than the merchants sites and I still get slapped.

2. Are domains slapped based on just the landing page's content or is the whole site taken into consideration?

3. Are one page affiliate sites with LOTS of unique content just on that one page considered bridge pages?

And the best question:

4. Why can't one of your customers who spends 7 figures a year with you get SPECIFIC REASONS on why their landing pages are considered low quality instead of just getting told "You can read more about our vague LPQS guidelines at this link here, don't contact us about this anymore!"

What's absolutely ridiculous to me is that I didn't even receive any warning about low quality landing pages that others did, I was just banned. I never promoted Acai or the scam Google bizkits either. I also had a pending support request asking for reasons why a couple of my sites had just been rated poorly (that took 2 weeks to get the initial reply to). I submitted another message about this ticket and 2 days later was banned with no response? Ridiculous.

Khensu




msg:3999668
 4:51 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Do no evil (until we have to)

That is all mind manipulation on a massive public scale. Tell someone an absolute, unwarranted, supertruth to get peoples guard down, and use it as a cover for an actual attack later.

Why would you have to tell anybody that you were going to do no evil, if in the back of your mind, you knew it would tend to protect you when you did decide to do evil?

The more I read this, the more I am glad I sold out.

Oh AWA nothing personal, I like you, but I was just calling you out by talking about your absence. You were eventually sent by higher powers to try and politically put out the fire, which I knew would happen.

Too bad it's out of control and starting to burn the neighborhood.

Khensu




msg:3999690
 6:10 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm sorry,

Did I say

Do No Evil ?

I meant to say

"do no evil"

[do no evil]

Elric99




msg:3999719
 8:12 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Guess we're all waiting for the email of doom now?

Not exactly a solid foundation to build a business on.

trannack




msg:3999753
 9:53 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Out of curiosity - what country are all you guys in that have had the ban - is this a global swipe - or are they rolling it out country by country?

James_WV




msg:3999880
 12:58 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

I totally get why most people on this thread are annoyed - many of them will be losing tens of thousands through this policy change by Google.

It's really easy to understand though - Google basically don't want affiliates advertising on Adwords - they don't want this because most affiliates don't add any value to the user experience - it's the same product as a thousand others are trying to sell. If user experience is low then less users will use Google and / or Adwords.

If you have been slapped then in the vast majority of cases you should stop wasting time / money trying to make adwords work for you and start getting new sources of business - i.e. AdCenter.

If you're not an affiliate and you don't do any of the other things that AWA mentions then you may have been caught in the cross fire and you can probably get your account back

However, the point about it not affecting everyone doesn't really cut it. There are a lot more sites out there that now should be getting slapped - i.e. moneysupermarket etc but my bet is that they won't be. It would be interesting to hear why, but I don't think we'll ever find out

LucidSW




msg:3999891
 1:19 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Flipper21 said:
I have shown my landing page and this arbitrage page to other folks, and none of them can imagine how google can think the arbitrage site full of ads is a "high quality" site, while my site with unique content that is related to the exact keyword is not.

What most people misunderstand is that what Google calls a quality landing page in Adwords has nothing to do with how pretty it looks. In this case, if you are an affiliate, you get poor quality. That's the definition, not a visual one.

chrism




msg:3999912
 2:01 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

There's a subtle difference in AWA's post and the adwords help pages regarding sites that are not allowed.

"Data collection sites that offer free items, etc., in order to collect private information" is from the help pages and "Data collection sites that offer the false promise of free items, etc., in order to collect private information" is from AWA's post.

The inclusion of the term 'false promise' makes me wonder if there is a more specific internal version of these guidelines? It certainly changes the meaning of the definition.

vphoner




msg:3999917
 2:04 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

AWA, thanks for your input. I recently put up a new site on a new domain (a complete revision) in order to satisfy the google standards. It was shutoff in 3 days. I did have the old campaigns still up that got google slapped 2 months ago. I had paused them just prior to the slap on the new site. The new site meets all the new requirements. Could the old sites have hurt my new site's quality score, even though it was on a new domain.

After reading your note, I have deleted ALL ads except for the new revised site. Do you think this will help? This is so frustrating, and google seems to not care about advertisers and helping them to meet the new standards. I have never seen such poor customer service. I have always complied with google as it changed.

flipper21




msg:3999935
 2:40 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

LucidSW said:
Adwords has nothing to do with how pretty it looks. In this case, if you are an affiliate, you get poor quality. That's the definition, not a visual one.

There are two issues here. One is that I am not claiming my site is not any prettier than the other site full of ads, its just a lot more relevant. When a user searches for something, and clicks on ad that gets them to a whole new page of ads with some made up generic content, I would think this would be a poor user experience?

On my page they most likely get an answer to their question, with some affiliate links for related services they may need to fix their issue. There is an option to get even more relevant information via an email newsletter or other places on my site, including a blog where people can comment.

To imagine a page full of ads is a better user experience than my targeted landing page with aff links is pure nonsense.

The second issue is if google wants to ban all affiliate sites, they should simply do it and put it in their policy, but that is not the case. They pick and choose who to slap, and there is no reasoning behind it.

In my email replies to customer care, they never explained to me why my site was given a 1/10. I have asked other people to read over the LP rules to make sure I am not missing something, and none of them could make any sense of it either.

At some point I even sent over to customer care a landing page with no affiliate links on it and just pure content and signup form for an email newsletter for more information, and that also came back as 1/10. The products I am an affiliate for are sold by lots of other affiliates and companies for the same exact keywords, so the products are not the issue.

RhinoFish




msg:3999936
 2:42 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

I keep reading about emails people have received - the one thing that scares me is the unreliability of email delivery.

I hope these warnings are also being posted as alerts within the AdWords interface.

RhinoFish




msg:3999937
 2:43 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

To my peers here:

I perfectly understand you're mad or hurt, I have had a site QS slapped hard, and rightly so. But if you degrade this conversation into name calling and threats, you won't move anything forward, just backwards.

Please imagine you're sitting at a table with the people you're talking too here - and I mean all of the people here regardless of who they are or what has happened or who has done what to whom.

The general tone here reflects poorly on us all and is not productive.

Dlocks




msg:3999981
 3:26 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

I hope these warnings are also being posted as alerts within the AdWords interface.
You can't find anything in your account about this final warning. I guess Google thinks it is not important enough to post it as an alert.
Manga




msg:3999990
 3:49 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

The general tone here reflects poorly on us all and is not productive.

The funny thing is that is precisely what everyone is mad about... the tone of the emails from Google. The emails are not helpful in that they do not say which ad/landing page is the problem, and even worse they say that this is the first and last warning. So customers who have been advertising for years are given no more respect than a threatening form email. How do you expect the tone to be friendly in response?

Imagine Google happily taking your money year after and sending you Christmas presents every year to show that they value your business, and then to get this email one day, treating you like you are the scum of the Internet.

The thing that I am most angry about is the tone of the emails. I have no problem changing an ad or a landing page. Whatever. But after over 7 years of advertising on Google, this is the respect I am shown? Like I am some lowlife committing some crime. Are you kidding me?

La_Valette




msg:3999992
 3:55 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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.

AWA, you talk about deleting ads. Will deleting adgroups have the same effect as deleting all the ads inside the adgroup, or do we specifically have to delete the ad too?

The reason I ask is that I always assumed that deleting adgroups would have the same effect for violations etc as deleting ads, but lately we started getting some trademark notices on ads that were in adgroups we deleted eons ago...

jkwilson78




msg:3999993
 3:59 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

AWA'a posts states:

Paused ads will still accrue violations against them.

oops....looks like even people within Google don't know how the Adwords system works (bolded part is my own emphasis):

From the Adwords Agency Blog:

Quality Score does not suffer when your ads are paused or showing infrequently. One of the factors that determines Quality Score is the performance of a keyword in combination with its associated ads. Pausing ads or showing them infrequently doesn't affect Quality Score since they aren't accruing any performance data while they're not active. So there's no need to worry if you run seasonal or low-exposure campaigns for your clients, your Quality Score won't drop while the ads aren't showing.

Source:
[adwordsagency.blogspot.com...]

Ironically the above is from their "Quality Score fact of the Week" series.

Even more ludicrous, remember that "Ads Quality Getting Started Guide" Google came out with a couple month ago?

Here's another nice contradictory nugget in the "10 Things To Know" section (again, bolding is my own emphasis):

Quality Score is only calculated when your ads are triggered by a user's query and display on the Google search results page. When your ads are paused or not being displayed due to budget or low bids, your Quality Score is not affected.

Source:
[adwords.google.com...]

None of the above info is really linked to/from anything in Google's Adwords help. Their documentation is such an amazing mess and not ordered or referenced in any meaningful or intuitive way which seeing at this is Google is again pretty ironic.

[edited by: jkwilson78 at 4:28 pm (utc) on Oct. 2, 2009]

thecloser




msg:3999995
 4:03 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

jkwilson: that's referring to the CTR-related (keyword)( quality score, not landing page QS

Dave_Davis




msg:4000001
 4:14 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

OK, so Google clearly want to eliminate affiliates from the equation. Fair enough, it's their search engine and they can do what they want. No problems there.

I think the problem here is that advertisers want Google to be CLEAR about their policies and they want to be able to resolve a situation should a "violation flag" be incorrect (which is clearly happening).

If Google doesn't want affiliates, they should just say so. If Google doesn't want a certain "type" of advertiser, they should say so explicitly.

luke175




msg:4000002
 4:15 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Please imagine you're sitting at a table with the people you're talking too here - and I mean all of the people here regardless of who they are or what has happened or who has done what to whom.

The general tone here reflects poorly on us all and is not productive.

If I was sitting at a table with a company with whom I spent 7 figures and they were telling me "we're not going to talk to you" there would be issues for sure.

I think the fact alone that the guidelines AWA posted in some cases directly contradict what Google has posted publicly should be cause enough for concern.

jkwilson78




msg:4000007
 4:16 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

My post is in response to AWA'a post that states:

Paused ads will still accrue violations against them.

Which is very clearly contradicted by Google's own documentation referenced in my previous post. Unless a paused ad that is paused because of certain kinds of quality score issues is considered different than a paused ad with another kind of quality score issue.

In other words there are different "flavors" of paused ads.

Sadly I would not be surprised if this were true and that we as advertisers would be expected to understand that :-)

My point is that Google's public statements have always been vague, subjective, contradictory and very well scripted. If anything you can't accuse them of not being consistent!

This will probably never change it's just maddening to deal with when trying to legitimately understand and work with the system.

[edited by: jkwilson78 at 4:34 pm (utc) on Oct. 2, 2009]

LucidSW




msg:4000023
 4:29 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

> One is that I am not claiming my site is not any prettier than the other site full of ads, its just a lot more relevant

I'm not disputing the relevancy of the page. It may in fact be very relevant. It's simply that Google does not want advertisers to use Adwords to promote affiliate sites. It also does not want pages full of Adsense ads. If you see ads for those, they will soon disappear.

Like RhinoFish says, I too understand people being mad and everything. But didn't Google warn people about this? Seems to me they do with TOS policy change emails and announcements right in your account.

jkwilson78




msg:4000030
 4:53 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

But didn't Google warn people about this? Seems to me they do with TOS policy change emails and announcements right in your account.

Google doesn't mention any of this specifically in their TOS but they don't have to because they have this in there:

Google or Partners may reject or remove any ad or Target for any or no reason.

https://adwords.google.com/select/tsandcsfinder

I'm sure this kind of language is pretty typical for all advertising services but by using Adwords we put ourselves at the mercy of these kinds of all encompassing policies.

luke175




msg:4000031
 4:55 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Plenty of people here are not affiliates, that only pertains to some people who were affected by this.

Even so, the affiliate sites that still appear on Google are some of the lowest, crappiest scraper sites around. I've reported some of these before but they remain. Not to mention that "comparison shopping" sites make up a large part of the ads for many terms.

vphoner




msg:4000058
 5:39 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

My original site got slapped several months ago. Unfairly I must say as I had plenty of content. So I set about to reverse this an revamp the site completely. After months of work, I launched the new site with a new domain, and got slapped down again within 3 days.

The revamping included original articles, help screens, comparisons of features, and commentary on the products that I reviewed. And yes, I have affiliate links so the customers can compare prices and purchase if they like the product.

I asked for reconsideration of the current slap, and they got back to me today and said that it was a bridge page. Same thing they said about the original site months ago. NO CHANGE. Thats why I completely redid the site. It was not poor quality back then either. This time I made sure the site was rich in content. But they contend its a BRIDGE page.

The problem is that google does not care. They see all affiliate pages, no matter how much content you add as BRIDGE PAGES. AW Advisor or anyone, how can you comply and not be a bridge page if you are an affiliate?

I got this message from google:

Bridge pages: Pages that act as an intermediary, whose sole purpose is to link or redirect traffic to the parent company

Is this not the definition of price comparison sites, as well as ALL affiliates. They need to relax this for sites that do provide original content. How can I comply and reverse the poor landing page quality score?

Anyone....?

Green_Grass




msg:4000059
 5:39 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

This thread is such a nightmare for adWords users. Anyone who hasn't got the dreaded mail must be thinking.. I am next. I keep logging in and checking my adwords a/c every few minutes. Getting paranoid. Horrible feeling.. Shame on you Google, for poor communication and taking customers for granted. Such bad PR ..unbelievable stuff..

interiorexpress




msg:4000071
 5:46 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

again, even worse for me, I'm a furniture store that apparently had connections somewhere somehow with someone that was doing something and I get banned. I didn't do anything except guilt by association. I'd love to copy the email explanations here. You didn't do anything, you have no recourse, you are done.

Nice.

flanker23




msg:4000075
 5:52 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

My advice, put some time and effort into the alternatives, I'm now rebuilding using Adcenter & Yahoo - and I'm sseing a much better ROI because G was getting too greedy anyway. More money spent with their competitors means more money to invest improving their systems AND more money for marketing and taking a bigger slice of G's 'cake' - can't wait!

Btw, I had a slight problem with an ad group in Adcenter and the reps been ringing ME the last two days to get it resolved to my satisfaction and I'm only spending about $20 a day right now! - despite anything else you might say about Adcenter, THAT'S CUSTOMER SERVICE!

mortgagemax




msg:4000090
 6:17 pm on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Absolutely, what a difference. MSN AdCenter just called us yesterday about help with campaign optimization, which I declined, but the thought is what matters. Having someone appreciate your business is a wonderful thing. I had always thought Google did appreciate its advertisers but wow this whole episode has been a huge eye-opener.

I may still be in denial but I really feel that Google will come to see how harsh and inconsiderate it's new aggressive policy enforcement has been. I would hope at the minimum they will ease up on the lifetime bans.

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