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New rule? Quality Violations => Adwords ban



11:51 am on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

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 I’m 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, I’m 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]


10:20 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This isn't on a keyword level SuperF, this is on a domain / account level, and will have been triggered by the site being one of the following:

1) Data collection sites that offer free gifts, subscription services etc., in order to collect private information

This is a little inaccurate though, don't you think?

I mean Google flat out says that Adwords is perfect for "lead generation".

Isn't lead generation basically "give us your info in exchange for XYZ?"

For example, "Just enter your contact info below to receive your free report on saving money on your next furnace install and one of our representatives will follow up with you".

That's lead gen...it would also fall into exchanging "private info for a free gift", right?


10:21 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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

First off, my apology for the radio silence.

And, no, I was not advised by anyone to remain silent as been suggested earlier in the thread - it is far simpler than that. I was out of the office for much of Friday and all of Monday for family related reasons - and not attending to this forum, or any other AdWords related task.

Upon my return on Tuesday I started out way behind the curve - in many areas, including this forum, and I have been catching up ever sense. Unfortunately, reading this really extensive thread carefully enough to 'get' all of it, and then exploring the situation behind it were not the first things that I could tackle.

In any case, I have done some digging to try to understand the situation - and, more importantly, I have also been contacted by a number of folks here at Google and asked to respond in this thread.

Below I have copy/pasted a document sent to me by a short time ago by colleague on the Ads Quality team, by way of providing more information. First, however, two quick notes:

* As an aside to the moderator who has in the past asked that I not quote emails in this forum, per the forum charter, please note that this is not a quoted email. Rather, it is quoted from a document.

* The document as sent to me included three inline links to the AdWords Help Center - which I have converted to references, noted like so: (ref1)

Quoting with no other changes by me:

The suspensions and final warnings that are referenced in this thread are due to account level actions taken against advertisers who've submitted multiple sites that violate our landing page quality guidelines. This is an existing policy to discourage repeat offenders by taking account level action. These final warnings and suspensions were only applied to sites with multiple violations which were manually reviewed to ensure that our policies were being applied correctly.

Certain kinds of websites (ref1) are not allowed per our policies because the user experience is of low quality or we consistently receive negative feedback from our users about these kinds of pages. These sites include:

* Data collection sites that offer the false promise of free items, etc., in order to collect private information.
* Arbitrage sites that are designed for the purpose of showing ads
* Affiliates who provide limited value by being a bridge page with the intent of solely driving traffic to another site or who are framing an affiliate site
* Malware sites that knowingly or unknowingly install software on a visitor's computer

You can find more information on this topic in the AdWords help center, under Landing Page Quality (ref2)

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.

We constantly try to improve the quality of the ad experience which we believe helps both the consumer and advertiser when users can trust the quality of the site they reach when they click on an ad.


Referenced pages as noted above:

1) Are there any types of websites that merit low landing page quality scores?
[adwords.google.com...] (NOTE: this was also posted earlier in the the thread)

2) Landing Page Quality

3) Landing Page and Site Quality Guidelines

Having been posting in this forum for more than six years, I know full well that there will be follow up questions and comments. To set reasonable expectations, while I don't know that there will be much more that I will be able say, I can guarantee you that the right folks have seen this thread - and that I will make sure they see your follow up posts as well.

Again, my apology for my absence up until now.



10:37 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I got some further news that my account was banned because I had a close relation to other accounts in Google's system. They said it had nothing to do with anything that was on my websites and my actual quality scores and landing pages were fine.

Totally bizarre. There was nothing I did, but my account was associated with another account? And then they told me that I was still banned and to not contact them anymore.

I did use a consultant a few months ago that was in Mexico that I did cancel. There was one days worth of click fraud (Viagra or something, the guy was using the MCC) and I canceled the guy the next morning.

So I'm banned because I used a consultant that I fired? Was I not supposed to use a consultant? Is no one supposed to use a consultant at the risk of getting their adwords banned?


10:59 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Sorry AWA but NO,
the explanation does not wash ..
I found just today ( in the space of 2 minutes ) 3 fake site review sites ..( just screenshot ..10 words lifted from site description ..blank "review" box ( with "be the first to review" the "featured" site ) ..and adsense all over them ..thinner
Arbitrage sites that are designed for the purpose of showing ads
just dont exist ..yet your adwords program takes their ads ..today ..

Shopping comparison sites are still all over adwords ..( but only big boys with deep pockets ..and wide networks..so 'really big money talks chez vous ..you only slap the little guys )..these guys ads actually say they are for the cheapest and best ( prohibited words under your TOS )deals ..and then on click just go to a page with their aff links to dozens of separate vendors sites ....no value at all to the searcher ...

warez sites ..are still advertising alongside legit sites when you search for software today ..and adsense is still all over warez sites ..

pron adwords ..still exist ..and go to sign up pages ..

I dont buy adwords ..nor do I buy your PR ..and if you believe what you posted then you need to tell your fellow workers who fed you that cr@p that it isn't true and wont wash ..and can be proven wrong in less than 30 seconds ( and please dont come back with the "we haven't gotten round to everyone yet please tell us who we missed ..1) your letters were automated ..so you could have told everyone that needed to be told ..and chose not to ..and 2)there are enough people employed by the plex to push their own brooms when cleaning day comes ..3) you have ignored the people here who are not affs ..and who only bought adwords to send visitors to their own B&M stores ..and still got slapped ..

Telling us the plex is watching the thread doesnt matter if the plex obviously doesnt give a cr@p other to to send it's PR team to say they are watching ..

Oh and one for your colleague ASA ..An item on the register dealing with child pron court case ..you served adsense on the page for "molestation" ..from "molestation news" and yes I did get the screen cap ..I have it here .. who approved that AD at the plex ?..

[edited by: Leosghost at 11:08 pm (utc) on Oct. 1, 2009]


11:00 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Letting paused ads "accrue violations" seems pretty harsh. I have ads that have been paused prior to the public existence of the quality score system, and well before the site guidelines were ever published. A bunch of those ancient paused ads now go to 404 pages - is that a punishable offense?


11:09 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

and regarding paused ads-

What if tomorrow the Google Algo says "hey u know what, after further consideration - that site which was slapped after years of being 10/10 is once again a great site. Lets adjust the QS back to 10/10" ... but now years of history and hard work has just been deleted

Punishing paused ads?!?! What is going on over there?


11:15 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks for your reply AWA. It's very much appreciated since you are basically our only point of contact. (As you can read in my previous reply Adwords support basically forbids me to reply to the answer they have send me)

These final warnings and suspensions were only applied to sites with multiple violations which were manually reviewed to ensure that our policies were being applied correctly.
In my case it was indeed (well I think it was, because the warning email does not mention the adgroup/campaign/URL that is causing the problem) a website that got slapped a couple of months ago. I added it again in a reorganized campaign with less keywords and different ad copy to see if that would improve the quality score. That was Thursday (last week). I could not have picked a worse moment because the day after I received the first and final warning message.

Since it was no problem till last Friday to have slapped websites in your account -I thought of them as disapproved ads- the email with the first and final warning was of course an huge surprise. In my opinion Google should at least have communicated this in advance like "The past years we did not go strongly after slapped domains. This is about to change starting at... Starting on date we are going after slapped domains and you wil risk a ban. To prevent it do this and that...". Communicate communicate communicate.

Please note that the website that (in my case) was causing the problem was not a data collecting site, arbitrage site, malware site, bridge page, pdf or anything like that. Support could not tell me why that specific website got slapped. They only told me that the judgement was correct and that they could not help to improve the page.

I was promoting that specific website as an affiliate. Guess what? This specific website still shows up in the ads listed at google.com. Other affiliates are still allowed to promote this website. Is this fair? Looks like Adwords is giving websites a low quality score on a account basis instead of on a higher level. How efficient is that?

The website is still shown on google.com via other affiliates. So the quality of the displayed ads is still the same. Not a single improvement. The only result is that Google now have an angry client (me) that has been a client for many years a pays Google tens of thousands of dollars each month. What is the purpose of that?

On the first page GoodForYou wrote the following:

I'm insulted that despite trying my best, sticking to their guidelines, and committing the huge crime of attempting to work with them like civilised human beings, I am treated with no respect, like a fraudulent advertiser.

Now that is how I and many other clients are feeling.


11:24 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Punishing paused ads?!?! What is going on over there?
Perhaps punishing deleted ads. The automated warning email platform also sends emails for ads in campaigns that have been deleted months ago but suddenly got a ‘disapproved’ status.

Will Google guarantee that the exact same thing will not happen with the final warning message in combination with deleted campaigns?


11:31 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I agree with whiplashblue, how are we supposed to know that we should not have old paused campaigns in our accounts? I have campaigns that I paused years ago and never deleted because, well, who cares? If they're paused they are not running, so they are not doing anything.


11:55 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Paused ads will still accrue violations against them.

This is insanity.

As an Adwords advertiser that has been active since before Adwords was PPC...I'm responsible for an ad that I may have created 4 years ago and has been paused since then?

There is simply no logical explanation for this.


12:28 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi AWA, and thanks for joining in.

There are many problems with this new initiative, and I'll try and outline them as concisely as possible.

1. No forewarning, no announcement. For accounts to be ended or placed on last warning for a new, unannounced policy is harsh.

2. Raw numbers being used without any regard to account size, or nature. In our example, we are affiliate marketers who direct link to thousands of merchants. If 0.1% are of poor quality does that make us a bad customer?

3. Paused ads being judged. Previously any keywords that were slapped, we paused the ad group - as a reminder not to make the same mistake again. Ad groups can be undeleted as easily as they can be unpaused.

4. Lack of information. We get emails regarding disapproved ads. But when a keyword is judged to point to a poor quality site, we are never informed. The final warning email gives zero information as to which keyword triggered it, or how to find that keyword.

5. Quality quidelines are open to interpretation. For example "Provide a short and easy path for users to purchase or receive the product or offer in your ad." or "Users should be able to easily find what your ad promises". We have no means of checking a site's quality prior to promoting it, other than using personal judgement.

I think everyone here is all for weeding out Adwords customers who repeatedly, deliberately provide a bad experience for Google searchers. Ultimately it will provide honest marketers with more clicks at less cost, and save us time and effort as well. But it seems that the "one rule for all" has been poorly implemented, placing in jeopardy many businesses that Google should regard as valuable customers.

We have ten staff who work full-time, creating and maintaining ads on Google. Given that we have all our eggs in one basket, our mantra is "do not do anything wrong". We stringently follow all Google policy to the best of our ability. Now we are all losing sleep because a handful of merchants we promoted years ago, and have since been paused, have changed their site to one of lesser quality, and through no fault of our own we are looking as losing our livelihoods. We get the impression that Google does not care about this in the slightest, even though we spend in excess of $1 million anually.


12:28 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

AWA, Your explanation simply does not stand up. The main issue here that everyone is mad about is that nobody was given any reason as to why they got the emails. In many cases, as was mentioned, we are talking about very big accounts. Perhaps in all those accounts there are a couple of ad that you guys don't like. Don't you think it makes sense to send an explanation to "your customers" to let them know what needs fixing? With all the phds working over there, don't you think somebody would've figured out the basics of "customer service"?

Let me repeat just to make sure you got my point. These are "YOUR CUSTOMERS". Maybe you should treat them like "CUSTOMERS".


2:13 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Paused ads will still accrue violations against them.

Interesting Google does not bother to mention this small little item in their help pages. My account manager assured me not too long ago that I need not worry about disapprovals of paused ads but I think I am gonna go delete them all.


2:30 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Is it against TOS to send a copy of this thread to my Senators?


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

10+ Year Member

A couple of years ago, we worked with a site that started off great for 6 months or so, and then got the dreaded 1/10 Google QS slap. We took a hint, paused everything (our way of stopping), and never returned. Presumably we accrued a "violation".

Looking back at our old paused keywords, I see that we now have quality scores of 5/10 across the board - without any site changes. Does that imply Google now thinks the site is better quality, and has rescinded our "violation"?

It seems to me that if Google can't decide on a consistent view of landing page quality, it shouldn't be punishing us...

This 356 message thread spans 24 pages: 356

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