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Google AdWords Forum

This 139 message thread spans 5 pages: < < 139 ( 1 2 3 4 [5]     
Google Shuts Down $Million Affiliate Account
No humans involved in the decision

 1:04 am on Nov 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

This is how Google is currently treating some Adwords customers, and has destroyed our business (amongst many, many others) and the livelihood of many people:

1. Has a long-running policy of causing high click costs when customers promote sites with poor landing page quality - otherwise known as a the Google Slap.

2. Adds to this policy by deciding that the promotion of poor landing page quality sites is sufficient to terminate accounts without warning. The landing page quality is determined by "the AdWords system" using secret "specific filtration methods". No humans required.

3. Many accounts are shut down without warning, without any notification anywhere of this new policy. Typically affiliate marketers are those affected.

4. Many more accounts received a final warning, and then subsequently were shut down.

The chief complaint I think everyone has is that the process is automated, and there is no way to seek recourse, no matter how large you account is. Almost as bad is that system is unfairly biased towards super affiliates. A raw number of poor quality violations is used, irrespective of the size of an account. AdwordsAdvisor, correct me if I am wrong...

Our experience went like this:

1. First we ever knew about the policy was receiving a final warning.
2. We promote thousands of merchants - so it took about a week to remove every ad group that even has a remote chance of breaking landing page quidelines.
3. We ceased creating new ads or ad groups, so that we could not possibly lose our account.
4. One month later, after 12 hours of wondering why none of our ads are showing, we get the automated email saying our account is disabled.

Despite our very best efforts to do everything possible to please Google, it was all in vain. If we have caused bad user experiences in the past, it was minor (relative to thousands of merchants we promote), unintentional, and immediately rectified upon finding out about the new policy.

Our background:
Multiple millions spent on Google Adwords
Exclusive deals with many major online merchants
We don't even have landing pages - we direct link to merchants.

Please, no replies bashing Google in general. I just wish to discuss this specific policy, and I'm hoping AWA can pass on that the current process is faulty and needs addressing by Google.



 10:43 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

There may be a bug in software created to dismiss accounts with *** QS and *** Low value landing page etc.


 3:19 pm on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

It is an algo thing, not direct human intervention in most of the cases - the Adwords review / quality teams aren't that big really, definitely not big enough to handle all these shut downs (hence the poor customer service unless you have a direct rep and only big spenders get these)

I disagree about the algo thing.

If this was all controlled by an algo them all the same types of sites would be "banned" in one fell swoop. Not some get hit, others just skirt on by forever untouched even though the content is practically identical.

I'm more for human review for the exact reasons stated....that they don't have enough human power.

This would explain the randomness of some sites getting hit while competitors using the same model are untouched.

Every site is queued up for human review at some point and when it is your time you could get hit. I also think if you've been hit before your will automatically get shot higher up in the queue for re-review which makes sense if you've been slapped before it is likely you will "need" to get slapped again.

There is a whole niche industry around working as a "Google Quality Rater"

Just Google it and see. There are entire forums dedicated to being a quality rater for Google. It's a massive operation. There are "Quality Raters" which do the SEO side and "Ad Quality Raters" that are on the Adwords side.


 5:32 pm on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

But be careful not to harm innocent!

Too Late. Baby's are going out with the bathwater. Those that realize this, fall in two camps.

1 - It is a necessary evil to purge the rot, give Google some slack.

2 - The collateral damage is unacceptable and unnecessary, Google needs to be held accountable by public opinion if nothing else.

Which camp you fall in seems to depend on whether one of your baby's has been thrown out or not.

-Tom Hale
Ex-AdWords Help Forum Top Contributor


 12:34 am on Nov 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Times have changed..

A few years ago when LPQ just started I was having a heck of a time getting my quality up. Had numerous site reviews and was basically told 'we don't see anything obviously wrong'.

((Just about the same time I was getting requests from another adwords group to have a campaign optimized by them. I almost went batsh*t when they requested that))

After months of whining and complaining and being a general pest I received a couple of responses asking me to stop using Adwords since it appears my 'business model was not a good fit with adwords'.

I'm still using adwords with little problems now.

My conclusion is that google is a cluster boink.


 8:41 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

If I am earning $22,000,000,000 per year. Why would I need to listen to you? Why do I care if you are piss off at me? Just do what I said or else I could just press that disable icon on your account, I know you'll be crying and begging for my mercy.

That's how Google acts right now.

What we need is true competition. Yahoo and Bing aren't competitions. Can the government help us?

Even Monoply Microsoft Windows don't treat its customers this bad.

This really sickens me.


 5:23 pm on Nov 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

It appears theyre just taunting us now; just did a search on Google UK for [affiliate window] and get the following ad:
UK Affiliate
Gain New Customers In Just 15 Mins
Sign-Up To Google AdWords Today!

Glad to see there not giving out mixed signals..


 9:11 pm on Dec 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Wel spotted spotswood!

A search for [affiliate] in the USA finds the same. Perhaps they feel there are affiliates out there that have missed out on the Adwords experience.


 9:33 am on Dec 6, 2009 (gmt 0)


Somebody needs to work hard to edit this and bring it up to date.


 7:01 pm on Dec 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google thanks that they can come up with an algo for anything. That one algo fits all business models and business types. They are a bunch of highly educated geeks that want to boil everything down to a math problem. There is no emotion there is just numbers. All these adwords threads keep talking like Google has emotions. They don't. They only make decision based on numbers. They look at the big picture and the long term picture. They have no problem with losing money now to make money later.


 8:04 pm on Dec 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

They look at the big picture and the long term picture.
But how good are they looking at the big picture? In the past almost everybody loved Google. Nowadays more and more people are starting to think otherwise. You have a group of webmasters that used AdSense in the past but got banned. You have the group AdWords users that got banned. All those people/compagnies and their employees are starting to talk bad about Google on forums, blogs, their own websites, to their family, friends etc. etc. Other people like family, friends, visitors on websites are picking this up and ar spreading the rumor.

Then you have the group of people (not clients from Google like webmasters) -that is getting bigger everyday- who don't like that Google is getting so big because of the privacy implications that comes with it. You read more and more about people complaining about Google. That Google has to much information about people who surf on the internet.

Then you have the group that see that Google is more and more becoming like Microsoft. For example, Google just bought the Google Wave competitor AppJet (Etherpad) and you can read a lot of negative responses about this in forums and blogs.

Then you have countries that are willing to take action against Google because of privacy issues. The most recent one is from last week. Germany is thinking about a law that forbits Google Analytics on German websites. It's just a matter of time before the EU will also take some actions.

The above are just a couple of examples. People always liked/loved Google. Not anymore. The wind is changing slowly and Google is not adjusting his sails. On the contrary... it is pushing the sails more and more into the wrong direction.


 8:10 pm on Dec 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Then why do they keep growing at a staggering pace and make more money every month. MS made Windows ME and Windows Vista but yet still own the desktop market. They lost a little ground but they still own it.


 9:13 pm on Dec 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Then why do they keep growing at a staggering pace and make more money every month.
In some countries they lost some market share in the past 10 months (also in the US). Profit from advertising was also lower but that could have been because of other reasons.

MS made Windows ME and Windows Vista but yet still own the desktop market.
Different kind of product. Consumers can't (and will not) switch as easy to a different OS as they can switch to a different search engine. Or how about switching to a different browser? Is also easy. FireFox took about 25% of the market share within a couple of years. Why did those people not stick to Internet Explorer? Why did a lot of people switch from hotmail or yahoo mail to gmail in the past years? And what makes you think those people will not make a switch ever again?

Remember the time before Google started with his search engine? Everybody was using other search engines like Altavista and others. Then the positive rumor about Google was spreading over the internet and people switched to Google. Why did they not stick to Altavista or other search engines they used? Because it is very easy to switch.

You can't ignore the fact that in the past almost everybody 'loved' Google and that currently more and more people (and whole governments) are starting to dislike Google for different kind of reasons. The wind is changing slowly and time will tell if they can and will act on this fact soon enough. I hope they won't. One compagny with 75% market share is not healthy for any market.


 1:37 am on Dec 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

It occurred to me that we're all asking the question backwards perhaps:

Maybe we should be asking Google to point out an affiliate site that DOES conform to their nebulous guidelines, rather than "why mine doesn't".

Of course, they'll never do this because such a site doesn't exist. They're just being vague about affiliates to avoid making press about "cutting out the little guy". Imagine those articles flooding Google news.

BTW: My thoughts on why they have done these bans on a rolling basis? To space out the support load of managing appeal requests (which they never intended to allow at first), and to not flood the call centers. Some amount of affiliates are bound to make it through the call tree (I was able to).


 3:25 am on Dec 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't think it is responsbile to say that Google is losing business becasue of how they treat affilate marketers and other adwords users. We are in a recession every business is losing money. Firfox has made strides because MS screwed up so bad with vista. Google has not screwed up. People still find what they want easily. Your just mad because they don't find you.


 3:48 am on Dec 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

If my businesses ( which are making money not losing it ..we are not all in recession ..nor suffering from it ) depended entirely on Gorg ..or selling SEO or PPC services designed around Gorg ..I'd switch to thinking about using other search engines ..and or selling SEO and PPC services related to them also ..

Rather than singing Gorgs praises and just hoping that it would all go away and people would believe Gorg was wonderful ..it would be realistic to diversify..and not depending on just one company ..and having all my eggs in one basket ..controlled by the plex ..because they dont care whose eggs are in the basket if it suits them to drop it ..no-one smaller than shopzilla or Ebay is immune ..Gorg is not anyone's special friend ..


 12:46 pm on Dec 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Following on from our mysterious account closure I have now received a demand from Google Adwords Ireland for payments outstanding. They claim that because they have blocked our credit card they can no longer get the money we owe them. I checked my account and have found that they have already requested payment through the credit card on 22/11 ( it has not yet left our bank account). More alarmingly they have asked us to pay the outstanding amount by cheque to Google c/o <a mailing address in Ireland>.

This seems incredibly poor to me ; particularly as they have engineered the closure of our account in the first place. I dont see how this could be a scam but it just doesnt seem right.

[edited by: buckworks at 3:46 pm (utc) on Dec. 7, 2009]
[edit reason] Removed specifics [/edit]


 4:23 pm on Dec 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

demand from Google Adwords Ireland for payments outstanding

Quite interesting, isn't it? They give you the boot and still want money?!

They claim that because they have blocked our credit card they can no longer get the money we owe them.

I'd tell them to just charge your credit card. If THEY blocked your credit card, they certainly can unblock it again for that transaction, right?

And once they actually charge your credit card, you could reject that payment with your credit card company, demanding proof for the services rendered from Google. Which clicks. Which sites. What time. Which price per click.

See how much information they are willing to give to you in order to get that money... ;-)


 4:37 pm on Dec 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

I appreciate you needed to edit out the specifics of the address but want to reiterate the point that the address Google Adwords have asked us to send money too is a third party and not Google Adwords themselves. Since I posted last I have asked GA to verify this address and company or allow me to speak to a senior GA representative to verify.I have also asked them to take the money from the credit card they have blocked ( as Zett rightly says they can unblock it if they chose to) They have refused on both counts.


 7:28 pm on Dec 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Then you have the group of people (not clients from Google like webmasters) -that is getting bigger everyday- who don't like that Google is getting so big because of the privacy implications that comes with it. You read more and more about people complaining about Google.

..because they dont care whose eggs are in the basket

You need only look at Adwords costs to see that advertiser demand is still high - possibly too high for Goog's own good. I think loosing advertiser competition is low on their worry list.

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