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Google Display URL Policy Change



10:18 pm on Jan 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Mod's note:

This post originally contained a copy of an email, which our TOS forbid. (No emails, no exceptions.)

The email purported to be from Google AdWords, and stated that they will no longer be allowing display URLs from multiple domains within a single ad group, supposedly in the name of improving user experience. The email asked advertisers to make changes by the end of February.

This would be a significant and disruptive policy change if it is true but we have not yet been able to confirm if it is genuine.

I personally have not received a copy of the email, and I am not seeing any announcements about it either in my Client Center or within individual client accounts.

Can anyone out there help us verify that this is really from Google?

[edited by: buckworks at 11:07 pm (utc) on Jan. 25, 2009]
[edit reason] Paraphrased email excerpt. [/edit]


3:04 am on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


You don't have to be new around here to be confused ;)

I'm confused by this too. Specifically why do this? How does this provide "more relevant results and a high quality experience"?

I''m 'white hat' and I've got two domains that differ greatly in layout, but offer the same products to a searcher.

I too like to split-test the two domains, often with identical ad text, save for one going to myoldsite.com and the other going to mynewersite.com


If I break them out into different adgroups, I need to use the same keywords for my purposes.

I fear a difference in QS with this sudden change and missng out on searches due to the nature of the 'auction'.

I believe I got an overall benefit with QS doing this 'my way', since one domain or the other often contained vital keywords which may have lifted the overall QS for the adgroup.

Frankly, that 'trick' is not something that impacts the 'high quality experience' for users, IMO. Especially with all the junk, often dynamic insertion ads that surround mine. Whether they go to 'old' site or 'new' site, they are getting exactly what they searched for.


I have a lot of adgroups and campaigns where I do this.

AFAIK, there is no feature in the Adwords interface or editor to allow me to search for these.

This presents a rather sudden formidable task for me.


If I recall, when this thread opened, this was something that only agencies were alerted to and even in the discussion here, the exact "rules" were still being debated among us. There was speculation that this only applied to keyword-level destinations which I checked.


And, still at this late date, I have not been notified by Google.

Ironically, the only communications that I got from Adwords today was the rare 'Disapproval' email. For a word in an ad that is now trademarked in a campaign that I paused and deleted all keywords for in mid 2007. I had neglected to pause/delete the ad though if that would have made a difference.

Instead I had to find out only because I opted-in to the adwords.blogspot plethora of emails that I get.


So frankly, I've got a lot of hard decisions to make late on the week-end when I'm tired. I suspect a lot of us do.

And, frankly, I really don't understand why.

Especially when I'm still seeing multiple ads with the same domain showing for the same search due to a Programming 101 test that should be so obvious to Google.


Skaye, you are not alone in wondering what happens to our ads in a day. It's not made clear in the link provided at adwords.blogspot - Adwords should have had a blurb on the interface for weeks.

Am I out of business if I can't perform the superhuman or will they just stop showing one of the ads? The latter I could live with for a little while.




4:09 am on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Pardon me for being back so soon.

I read the earlier part of the discussion and none of us really had a handle on what this means to us.

Even AWA (who promised to come back) -;)


The example given is a poor one:

not acceptable



Okay, what if I own example.com and widgets.com and am split testing them? Forget the sub-domains for now.


Every reference in the link refers to 'display URL'. Of course we know the display URL has had to match the destination URL for years. By inference, this suggests that only a single top level domain is permitted per Adgroup.

But were there folks who were using a different display URL than its destination? I know when adding/changing ads, I'd sometimes leave the wrong one in by accident -- but I always caught it myself -- often months later when I was changing the ad yet again.


The skeptic in me imagines that perhaps Google realized the keyword QS was getting confounded when it had to assess two landing pages in the same adgroup.

But please, I don't want to create a rumour so don't take that 'guess' seriously!


If this only involves Display URLs, fine.

Myself, like most of us good folks, take people where we are telling them they'll go based on the ad they see.

If it entails not allowing ads properly pointing to two of my domains (or yours), then it has significant impact with little firm notice.

The Adwords blog page makes it clear as mud, never using the word 'destination'.

This is important. We need a clarifation!



1:47 pm on Mar 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I would like to point out that this is absolutely untrue. You ask me why? I'll tell you.

The term top level domain mentioned both in this thread and on the official AdWords blog is used incorrectly. Top level domain is AFTER the dot for example com, uk, de, org and so on. The part of the URL address that AdWords bloggers should refer to is a second-level domain.

If you would like to disagree with this statement please see wikipedia.

So in fact Google doesn't allow different second level domains as display URL in the same ad group.

The funniest thing about this is the fact that everybody is rewriting Google's news with that error :).

[edited by: DIVelement at 1:49 pm (utc) on Mar. 2, 2009]


4:14 am on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Just wanted to bump this back up to the top of the Adwords Forum...Is there any new date for this implementation AWA? I'm about to stop all my adwords campaigns because I'm getting real tired of people using our domain in their display URL only to be sent to some MFA site. When there is a URL displayed the target domain should at the very least match the destination! Maybe I should try out using Google.com as my display URL? I'm sure that is not tolerated by Google so why isn't it the same for everyone else's prized domains?

[edited by: MLHmptn at 4:18 am (utc) on April 8, 2009]


5:50 am on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

This was supposed to have been implemented back in Feb. BTW, it had nothing to do with people using display domains, yours or otherwise, that are different from the destination domain. Rather it had to do with using two different display domains in the same adgroup. What you are talking about is supposed to be checked when the ad is reviewed and if missed you need to contact them to request they re-review it for that policy violation.


6:07 am on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

What you are talking about is supposed to be checked when the ad is reviewed and if missed you need to contact them to request they re-review it for that policy violation.

That is precisely what I thought before and I contacted Google about it and they said I had to take it up with the domain owner, of which there is privacy on the domain and the contact form on their site does not work. Hopefully AWA can look into this for me then if this is in fact a policy violation.


6:23 am on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Well either the support person who replied is misinformed or they misunderstood your complaint to be that the person using your domain as their display domain in their ad was also using your domain for their landing page's domain as having mismatched display and final destination domains is clearly against their policy as outlined at the following URL under the 'Display URL' section:

[adwords.google.com ]

[edited by: Kobayashi at 6:29 am (utc) on April 8, 2009]


9:15 am on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thank you for the link Kobayashi...Much appreciated...it has again been reported.
This 38 message thread spans 2 pages: 38

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