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Buying Ads For Other Sites

Against Any Policies?



6:23 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Is it ok with Google if I buy ads for a site that someone else owns?

*edit for clarity - So I would be buying an ad that shows up for some keyword and points to Bob's site.

[edited by: Jhet at 6:24 pm (utc) on Dec. 10, 2008]


7:09 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Why would you want to? Does Bob approve of you doing this?


7:32 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

He wouldn't know unless he happened to see it. He wouldn't approve if he did see but there is no way for him to know who was doing it. Google won't tell who owns a particular ad account.

I can't really go into the whys at the moment but there would be nothing illegal going on and nothing that would cause a civil liability.


7:34 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

People do this sort of thing all the time. not only online- I have people take out newspaper and online ads for one of my sites quite often.
I don't think that Google would mind (or even know) unless the benefiting site's owner complained. Iím sure however that G has it their tos somewhere that you have to own or have permission from the site owner just to cover their butt.


8:28 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member adwordsadvisor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

[...] He wouldn't approve if he did see but there is no way for him to know who was doing it. Google won't tell who owns a particular ad account. [...]

I haven't read the AdWords Terms and Conditions in depth recently, so I am not sure what they say on this subject. But it would be a good idea for you to read them, I'd think.

As a support person, I have tackled this question from the unhappy recipients of this sort of unwanted advertising attention a few times over the years - and in my opinion, it is a true waste of the 'target's' time, as well as a waste of the time of the support person who has to deal with it.

Bottom line, I doubt you will win any friends by doing this, and I would ask politely that you just don't do it.



8:55 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Actually...it's not me doing it. I'm the 'unhappy recipient' :) And you're right, they are not winning friends. But they knew that would be the case to begin with.

I called AdWords about ten minutes ago and gave them the information. They've opened a case and we'll see what happens from here.


3:01 pm on Dec 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Well I received an answer from AdWords but it was to a question I did not ask. AdWords answered it as a trademark question when I didn't ask about that at all. I asked if ads could be bought for a site you do not own and they answered with "There is no trademark violation because the trademark is not in the ad text."

So I've clarified (I hope) and I will see what they reply with. If advertisers are allowed to do this people can really do some horrible things to competitors.


9:49 pm on Dec 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi Jhet,

I don't understand how a business can suffer if someone is sending you "free" traffic. Can you please explain this a bit more?

Maybe that is Google's answer - unless a trademark is involved there is no problem with the Adwords TOS?


10:49 pm on Dec 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Right now I won't detail how they are doing it. There is no point in giving people ideas on how to be malicious. But there are several ways in which you could cause trouble.


4:57 am on Dec 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Google never bothered about distinguishing who advertises for whom. 100s of thousands (or maybe millions, not sure) of affiliates are doing that every day.

I, as an affiliate, had a case when a guy was doing something totally dishonest with my own site. It's very sneaky tactics that applies to affiliate world only.

Anyhow, I called, and an ad was brought down. I as a site owner asked for that.

If you are in the same position (regardless of affiliate matter), and especially if you can explain to support how the other entity is harming your business, they should definitely respond positively for you.

I just wish there is more of punishment going toward such people - those that are misusing other people's ads and web sites.

It's just awful what I have experienced out there in AdWords so far. The worst online dirt, deliberate 100%, coming from guys that would sell their mother. If they do just 25% of that on the street, they would appear in front of a judge with no doubt.


3:47 pm on Dec 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

AdWords replied to me last night and said no, they would not do anything about it because they donít see an issue. I've given them an (over the top) example of how this could be abused and how it impacts us but they seem apathetic to the situation.

I'm really disappointed in AdWords. It seems as though I have a choice of taking the moral high road and losing money or playing tit for tat and causing equal damage to our competitors.


10:27 pm on Dec 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

So i'm guessing these people are putting negative ads out and referencing your site? This is the only way i can surmise that you'd be unhappy with receiving free traffic, if it's making your company look bad and thus not sending you any traffic anyway. I could see a negative paid search ad influencing a visitors choice to click your natural listing and that's no good at all. There may be ways around it, though.

What about trademarking your domain? I believe the display url in the ad can't differ from the destination url domain, so if you were to trademark your domain, you might be able to get anything removed that references that domain?


4:39 pm on Dec 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

They actually are not buying ads for our site, they are buying ads for other sites that they do not own. But you have the idea. It is making us look bad by implication. It would be easy to abuse this even further as well.

I like the idea of trademarking domain names. I had not thought to do that before.


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