|Did Google just try and snuff out my business?|
Ok, I'll admit it. I am a seething, downright nasty, horrible person who sells backlinks for a living.
Or at least that is what Google and probably half of the webmasters on this site might think about me and my practices.
But the fact of the matter is that what I do is entirely legal and in demand by a number of entrepreneurs out there.
Anyways long story short... I just decided to fire up ye olde AdWords account for the first time in a long time... (I had used them for years before, but not for the past 6 months or so.)
I input my backlink selling website, created 3 simple text ads, added about 700 seo related keywords, and within 24 hours I received this message at the top of my account on a bright red background:
|Your Google AdWords account has been permanently suspended for repeated violation of AdWords or Landing Page and Site policies in this or a related account. |
What on earth do you think might have prompted that?
I never had an ad unapproved, I have never tried to deceive anybody, all I was doing was pushing users to a landing page that encouraged them to sign up for a free trial.
Is there any way to appeal?
Is this not a blatant example of an anti-competitive or anti-business practice?
Google doesn't like me, so I can't promote my legal product through their website?
EDIT: On second thought... one of my customers just messaged me asking if they could promote their affiliate link through adwords... I have about 5,000 users who actively promote their affiliate links... could it be that many of them have already tried to promote via adwords and now my site/URL is flagged/banned from adwords because of my affiliate's practices?
I see they have been very generous with that message.
My new Google Adwords account was closed even before I activated my ads. I got too tired and left my account for the night with ads that contain a display URL of not my own (misspelled) but never activated the ads.
Got the message you got in the morning. Asked twice, and got replies with links to the TOS.
|pushing users to a landing page that encouraged them to sign up for a free trial |
AdWords has a low tolerance for squeeze pages these days.
Did your free trial use negative option billing, perchance?
I'd like to know more about how they decide that accounts are related.
Hello all, thanks for the feedback.
@Habtom: the lack of transparency is maddening and downright upsetting.
@buckworks: By landing page offering a free trial, I meant my homepage, which prominently displays the fact that you can sign up for free, without any payment, or negative billing option.
I have just given the OK to one of my affiliates to promote my website (with their affiliate string added) across AdWords so we shall see what comes of that. I will report back if I hear anything.
Another question: will this have any bearing on my AdSense account? I haven't used that in a long time either, but would hate to start up again only to find I was insta-banned for some strange google reasoning.
Rollinj, I got that message at the end of November 2011. To be exact, on Cyber Monday. I contacted them actually I was talking with 2 Adwords support. One of them told me that my account was under review that I should not be worried and the other one told me the same message as you received "the bla bla account banned because of bla bla TOS".
I received the same message in my Adwords account but I will suggest to wait 2 weeks (that is what it took to get out the "Under review" phase) and see what happens.
So basically: you received the same message, and were "un-banned" after a 2 week probationary period or something like that?
Update: I have just received two quick (and personalized!) replies from a one "Amita" who works for AdWords support.
Apparently she has escalated my question/support request and I should receive a more concrete response within 3 business days.
I am somewhat impressed, hopefully we can get to the bottom of this.
One thing I find most interesting is their wording on the suspended message "or a related account." - which makes me think that hopefully I was not the culprit, and that I perhaps just got caught up in somebody's habitual evil ways by mistake.
Perhaps it is also because the account laid dormant for nearly a year or two and then I added a new credit card and began to create ads for a site they have perhaps had problems with in the past? Who knows for now... I will update when I do.
Update: Apparently I have been snuffed out as well as now snubbed by Google.
After two quick responses and a promise of an escalation and response within 3 business days... those 3 business days are up and I am still without a response or a working AdWords account.
There is nothing surprising about Google not wanting to do business with links sellers. It's their main pet peeve.
And my AdWords account (upon logging in) now displays the error message twice: "Your Google AdWords account has been permanently suspended for repeated violation of AdWords or Landing Page and Site policies in this or a related account. Learn more"
There are literally TWO large bright red boxes at the top of my account now, doubly informing me just how banned I am!
I wonder how that happened?
@koan, yes, that much is obvious, but if I could prove that I could sue them for a bagillion dollars - could I not? Business of this nature is NOT OK anywhere in the world as far as I know.
Why? They're not obligated to do business with you.
|There is nothing surprising about Google not wanting to do business with links sellers. It's their main pet peeve |
It's ironic isn't it?
Google makes its income by selling links. They don't want the competition.
Apples and oranges.
The links Google sells (via AdWords etc) do not affect its own search results.
|Why? They're not obligated to do business with you. |
are you questioning the entitlement mentality, how dare you do that!
hahahaa! happy holidays Netmeg!
ork ork - back atcha!
@buckworks, true enough. But the money that goes to my company is less money that could go into adsense. They are both methods of online promotion for websites. That much they have in common.
@netmeg, you would be right, IF they were not a monopoly with substantial market power. This explains it well: [ftc.gov...]
Basically my reasoning is this... if one company becomes the ONLY place that sells text ads, then they are basically forced to allow any legal advertisements to run, because they are not allowed to determine who fails and who succeeds in society basically.
My legal wording is horrendous, I am aware... but am I entirely baseless on this?
I understand that most companies are not forced to do business with anybody... but if Google refuses to allow my legal website into their search advertisements... tell me, how else am I supposed to reach the 70% of the internet that visits Google every day?
I should have the same advantage as anybody else online, should I not?
Judging by the ad results for "buy backlinks" term on Google however, I am nearly positive they have a policy of some sort in place to stop my type of business. Because there are 1,000+ competitors of mine and I refuse to believe none of them have the money for ad dollars.
Wow... second paragraph of that link I just dropped above reads:
"For example, in a case from the 1950's, the only newspaper in a town refused to carry advertisements from companies that were also running ads on a local radio station. The newspaper monitored the radio ads and terminated its ad contracts with any business that ran ads on the radio. The Supreme Court found that the newspaper's refusal to deal with businesses using the radio station strengthened its dominant position in the local advertising market and threatened to eliminate the radio station as a competitor."
This does not sound like my predicament per say... but it is an apples to apples comparison of what Google admittedly does today to my clients.
"Buy from rollinj (buy backlinks, basically)? You're banned from our search engine."
|policy of some sort in place to stop my type of business |
No, they just have a policy that they won't help you promote your type of business.
|how else am I supposed to reach the 70% of the internet that visits Google every day |
Every one of us needs to develop effective answers to that question.
Start by pondering this: Google is huge, but it's by no means the only place that people visit online.
Hello again buckworks. Thank you for the insight. I greatly appreciate it.
re: "but it's by no means the only place that people visit online."
I am not saying they are the only place people visit online. I am saying they are the only place people visit online to promote their online business. You can't argue that Google is not a monopolist in the advertising business.
My argument is that Google is not allowed to have a policy in place to block my kind of business, because they are in direct competition with me, and because they are a monopolist of my business' type of business.
re: "For instance, if the monopolist refuses to sell a product or service to a competitor [ME] that it makes available to others [EVERYBODY ELSE], or if the monopolist has done business with the competitor [in the past] and then stops [WHICH AGAIN, THEY HAVE WITH ME], the monopolist needs a legitimate business reason for its policies." (again, lifted from the FTC link above...)
Perhaps the courts would argue that google's vague "oh, you broke one of our million policies in this 10mb TOS page" is a "legitimate reason" but I highly doubt it.
P.S. Please note... I am not in the position of needing Google. I have answered that question quite elegantly with my free trial/affiliate program setup I believe. My site is currently flirting with the top 5,000 alexa domains in the world.
Perhaps I read this statement incorrectly:
"For instance, if the monopolist refuses to sell a product or service to a competitor that it makes available to others, or if the monopolist has done business with the competitor and then stops, the monopolist needs a legitimate business reason for its policies."
You could read that as:
Google is legally allowed to block my type of business, so long as they block every other one of my competitors business'.
Which I am almost positive that they do. So unfortunately, I may be out of legal luck unless I can find proof that some of my competitors are currently using their services. Correct?
Damn, time for a drink.
|I am saying they are the only place people visit online to promote their online business. You can't argue that Google is not a monopolist in the advertising business. |
I could argue at length with both of those sentences, but it's getting late.
I'll just say that I do some consulting for a company that spends hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on AdWords. That accounts for less than 10% of their overall traffic. No way could Google be considered to have a monopoly on advertising.
|I have answered that question quite elegantly with my free trial/affiliate program setup I believe. |
Then you support my point that Google AdWords is by no means the only way to promote a website.
I gotta ask ... if your business is selling links, why don't you just do what it takes to rank competitively in the organic results? From my location I'm not seeing any ads, but I'm seeing lots of organic results for searches about buying backlinks.
I do that as well, sure. This site has only been live for ~3 months so far but organic referrals are steadily increasing for related keywords. Buying backlinks does work, people ;)
Affiliate referrals are my greatest source of traffic at the moment... but the pool of people willing to perpetuate these referrals is only so large. As a prudent business owner I was exploring other options for the future. Apparently Google Adsense is not one of them, unfortunately.
Ok just hear me out one last time...
So Google doesn't accept link sellers to participate in adwords because they compete with their business model. That fact is accepted by the lot of you, because you don't sell links. Fine, anybody can understand that. [en.wikipedia.org...]
Google is slowly but surely entering many other markets, as I have seen griped about here before:
- "ip" query
- google products
- google maps (gps)
What happens when they say "ok, no more hotel adverts, we have this great new hotel search engine you should use...".
Or "ok, no more gps adverts, you should really be using google maps on your phone".
Or "no more competing mobile phone advertisements, motorola is king".
What happens when their search share rises above 70%? To 80%, 90%?
Admittedly buckworks, yes, there are situations such as yours and mine where google traffic is not of the greatest importance... but since they own 70% search market share... ie... 70% of the online world visits them every day... I feel I should be able to pay for my placement in this "world market/advertising board" that Google has now become just like everybody else.
There are plenty of places that sell online advertising, text links, etc. Ever hear of Bing? Facebook? Twitter? I could go on, but you've obviously made up your mind. Do let us know how it goes.
@rollinj, yes the same message and after two weeks I was unbanned. Give them time, if you don't have any problem with your Google Adwords account they will enable your account.