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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 Iím 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, Iím 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]


9:07 am on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I think Google needs to take action, this is the wrong time for such heated activity - now with Bing pushing real hard for a bigger piece of the market.

But maybe that will be good for us - in the longer run.


9:35 am on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I used to not think so, but at this point it seems like google's ultimate goal is to have paid search.

If Google was really worried about the user's experience they would make the ads much different and marked off so there was no confusion between the search engine results and the actual ads. They obviously don't want that though.

Google's approach would be like if they asked all magazine advertisers had to write a fake article copy to publish in the magazine.

Google's whole point is to deceive the end user, not make their experience better. Why they want people to click on ads in hopes that they think it is an actual answer to their search and not actually just an advertisement. To do this effectivetly though, they have to ultimately conspire with the advertisers. Those who won't play ball get booted.

There is nothing wrong with advertising and nothing wrong with people promoting products. I think Google's extreme desire to pull off mass deception is a bad road ultimately.

Don't worry though, like I said the ultimate goal is paid search where you have to pay to be included. Why bother indexing all those pesky free sites that are just taking money away from google.

You want to show up in Google? You will have to pay, period.

It will creep more slowly, first they might have 3 ads above the fold. Then they might have two ads at the bottom of the listings. Then why not just mix an ad in the middle to break things up. Studies have shown the middle of a page can be effective! So slide it in there. It is just one little ad right?

Google is free to take on whatever advertisers they want... the reality is though, they are not doing it to protect the user experience. That has become clear. I used to believe that bill of goods.


10:17 am on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Today I received my second last warning. So the the first and final last warning was not so 'final' and 'last'?

Last Friday
I received my first and final warning regarding "Repeated Site Quality Violations". After looking into my account I found that new adgroups I created the day before got 1/10. I removed them and opened this topic. I have also contacted Adwords support last friday. I dit not yet received an reply.

Last Sunday
One URL I have been promoting for about four years got slapped from 8/10 to 1/10. I removed them.

Yesterday (monday)
No reply from Adwords support.

Today (tuesday)
Received my second last warning. Again the email does not mention the campaign/adgroup/URL/ad that is causing the problem. I checked my accounts for keywords that got 1/10 quality score. I found zero of them. None of the ads are disapproved. So I don't know what action I need to take. Oh, and still no reply from support.

Some people mention Google is weeding out the duplicated content affiliate sites, PDF products like get richt quick and that sort of products.As I mentioned before, yes I'm promoting products as an affiliate for over four years till today. I always use the vendors URL. I never use my own URL and copy paste some content on it (so I'm not causing a second ad for the same website/product) and last but not least I'm not promoting get rich quick products or any other product or service Google does not like.

It almost looks like Google is currently not after affiliates that are causing duplicated content and double serving ads because they use their own domain. Most of the people in this topic who got this warning are using direct linking?


10:54 am on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I also received another identical final warning email today. Nothing has been slapped since the first warning so I can only assume it is either:

1) Google mistakenly sent the batch email out again today
2) Google did not get a high enough open rate on the first email so sent it again.
3) The whole thing is some kind of spam/mistake

We can probably discount option 3 as that is too much to hope for!


12:02 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

----but at this point it seems like google's ultimate goal is to have paid search.---


la la lala la, egs, baskets, human(borg is after you) nature.

What is interesting is why anyone in their healty mind would give the data to the company that controls $$% of worlds(this planet) internet traffic.


12:07 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

LOL What a joke! After getting the first "warning" email I went through and deleted all adgroups and keywords with low quality scores. Most of these were paused for more than a year so it was no big deal. What I also did was go through and pause the rest of the campaigns. This was a drastic move, but I did not want to get banned and needed more information since their vague email told me nothing.

So I basically have not been running any ads all week. Well today I got another "warning" email. What a joke! There is something seriously wrong with this picture. As I said in a previous post, I have been on Adwords since 2002 and most of my campaigns have been running for several years. Like most of you I have a lot of campaigns, ads and keywords. How can I know which ones are the ones that Google doesn't like? Pathetic.


12:21 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

don't feed-> the hand that <-bytes you?


12:22 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If a company stops to care about clients spending as much as some of you do, they really seem to be on the wrong track.

However, trying to understand whatís going on: Those of you with affiliate ads which lead directly to the merchantís website: Have you exclusive agreements with the merchant? Are you the only company allowed to use AdWords for the merchant? Or are there other affiliates possible doing just the same as you do, for the same merchant?

The latter, obviously, could easily result in a severe violation of the AdWords rules, without you doing anything ďwrongĒ: If other affiliate started to use the same keywords you did Ė bang, down you all go. Or maybe even the merchant himself started to use AdWords on his own. This would explain why ads which ran for years without any problems now are reported to be slapped.

Could this be happening?


1:08 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

love the hurt attitude of affiliates on here. You're affiliates! You either act as the middleman with largely copy and pasted content, another unwanted hurdle in the process of customer > product OR you don't even bother with that and you simply link directly to the vendor site...ker-ching, ker-ching.

we really feel for you, no honestly! :)


1:21 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

If they don't want affiliates how come when I type in 'car insurance' in google UK I get gocompare, moneysupermarket & comparethemarket at the top of sponsored search results? these are just comparison sites and comparison sites are just BIG affiliate sites - taking a commission for whatever insurance policy I might choose. Yeah, it's all about quality UNLESS the spend involved is big enough!


1:25 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

OR you don't even bother with that and you simply link directly to the vendor site
Google should indeed go after copy pasted content (as mentioned in many posts before in this topic). However, it looks like they are not after the copy pasted content but after the original websites.

What kind of problem do you have with direct linking? And why should this also be a problem for customers and/or Adwords?


1:30 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Linking direct to a merchant does not just guarantee money - your comment suggests you have minimal knowlege of the subject or a merely baiting us.

If simply putting an ad up guarantees you some huge income then all these "Earn more than your dad on Google" scams would actually work... The process involves a lot more than the uneducated think, with research, copy writing skils (it can be hard to sum up an offer in 70 characters), constant analysis of keyword performance, plenty of personal financial risk yadda yadda.

Some affiliates are basically small SEM agencies, running campaigns on a CPA basis for merchants who don't know how, or haven't got time. Or some that have tried and failed to run successful campaigns.

Linking direct to a merchant on a brand term is another matter though! Now, that is ker-ching ker-ching... However, in the UK at least, this has been almost eradicated.

Anyway, back on the subject, has anyone heard off the big G?


1:37 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I donít think its good that people are coming in hear saying finally finally finally we got rid of these affiliates. Me personally I am not an affiliate, I have direct relationships and I donít link to anyone. Alot of the affiliates I have talked to spent at least 500k a year. These affiliate selling products such as ebooks, acai etc, should just be told do not do it anymore instead of getting the boot. The ones whom are affiliates selling acceptable products should be allowed to operate. People are searching for these items and they are providing them. The majority of the products they are selling are strictly affiliate-based products. Where the product owner relies on the affiliates for sale. If this were a brick and mortar situation there would be a bloody out cry. Since Google went public they have gone against everything they say. They forget about the affiliates that were operating in the earlier days that actually helped build the adwords platform or the ones that use adsense to generate revenue for them. If you are running adsense, you are an affiliate; you did not contract those people who are showing the ads. Its also very contradicting to have your own affiliate network then banish affiliates for selling similar products. I can understand that Google is protecting the only thing they have which makes money but the manor they do it in and the severity they use makes them look like a monster not a company that cares about the user experience.


2:03 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I feel the discussion is drifting off topic - expressing our feelings towards good / bad affiliate schemes is getting us nowhere. May I suggest that we continue to analyse, from a more technical point of view, which ads are banned and why?

I posted some question a few posts up on this page, maybe we could go on from there.


2:34 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Has anyone that has a rep from Google been able to talk to them about the situation and get their ban reversed?


2:55 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Received a duplicate 'warning' email today too. #*$! is going on


3:15 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google's approach would be like if they asked all magazine advertisers had to write a fake article copy to publish in the magazine.

No, it would be like a magazine requiring ads for Eddie Bauer to be from Eddie Bauer, or ads for Wells Fargo Bank to be from Wells Fargo Bank.

I don't have strong feelings on this matter, but I can see why Google might feel that direct-to-merchant affiliate ads don't make for a great user experience--especially if a whole bunch of affiliates are sending users to the same places.

Just as important, such ads probably make it harder for Google to attract mainstream corporate advertisers and ad agencies whose budgets dwarf those of even the biggest affiliates. The current world of "Internet marketing" is a small rock in a big (and enticing) universe.


3:26 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The direct to sponsor link complaints are irrelevant. Google already has a system in place for this. Goolge's rule is that there can only be one ad for a given domain per keyword at any given time. Priority is given to the ad with the highest cpc. So it doesn't matter how many affiliates are linking to the sponsor as only one ad will show.


3:30 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have read the whole post and have been following if from the beginning and feel I need to post my view point here being a publisher.

I did a quick add here and looks like we are dealing with millions a year in "lost" revenue to Google.

Now how many of you would be willing to lose millions in revenue. This is a drastic step by Google and one I am sure they didn't want to make but were "forced" to make the decision.

As with any update there are those that are on the fence between right and wrong in compliance and out. I know Goolge has been warning about low quality ads for several years now, but that hasn't stoped the millions upon millions of marginal ads being built without any "consequences". Low QS campaign or disapproved well no problem resubmit over and over millions upon millions everyday. Low QS campaign or disapproved no problem redo resubmit over and over and over.

I am sure this is costing google more than the revenue being lost from the accounts being banned.

My advice is if you got the email pause/delete the ads get off the fence and rebuild the pages to provide quality content that won't get you banned.

Think of it like this those that got the email just got of of prision and are on probation. Your account will be watched very closely and if you break probation your going back to jail.

I have had an adsense and adwords account for 9 years and have never gotten a warning email or quality low score. Not bragging or trying to rub it in but those that have been riding the fence with the campaigns should make some drastic changes.

I really feel for those that got caught up in the "update" but this happens eveyday in the organic area with those sites that are on the "fence" with SEO.

Pause delete and rebuild the campaigns before your banned.


3:36 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

This slap isn't just effecting affiliates. We have 5 retail stores, for the 3rd year in a row received the Circle of Excellence Award from Bizrate and A+ rating in BBB....been online for over 7 years and part of Google for 5+ years.


3:41 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I don't have strong feelings on this matter, but I can see why Google might feel that direct-to-merchant affiliate ads don't make for a great user experience--especially if a whole bunch of affiliates are sending users to the same places.
As Manga wrote, for direct linking this is not relevant. For the user experience it does not matter from which account an ad is served.

For Google however it is a plus to have more affiliates promoting the same product via direct linking. Google takes the ad from the affiliate that has written the best ad copy (read: better user experience) in combination with the highest bid (read: more money for Google).

So more affiliates promoting the same product via direct linking means higher CPC's, higher quality of ads and more keywords will be used (again more money for Google).

It looks like Google is currently sending these warnings to affiliates that are using direct linking and not to affiliates that are using a copy/pasted content domain with doulbe ad serving as a result.

Now what will Google accomplish with the above? Perhaps affiliates will stop with direct linking and use their own domain. Result: multiple ads will show up for same product.


3:53 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Yes it is not just affiliates being affected. I think vetofunk's post is particularly worrying as it highlights Google's control over how websites are constructed.

If a merchant with award-winning retail stores can be affected then there are problems. These stores have no doubt gone through plenty of research and testing of their own to maximise user experience and ultimately profitability. However because they do not match what Google feels a store should be then they are out.

Google has a massive market share and is The Internet for many people. This means some retailers are unable to fully utilise online marketing - as Adwords is a significant part of an online marketing budget.

When you have this much power, you have also have responsibility. It looks like G are trying to get to the right place with all this, but somewhere along the line they are struggling to tame the beast they created.


3:55 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Looks like Google has done a large dragnet on all the get rich quick adword spam, and naturally some innocents are going to get caught in the net. Since 99.99% are probability guilty, customer service is probably overworked, with all the calls and emails.

If you are totally innocent, don't take no for an answer but always be polite and civil, eventually you will get results.

This is true for any company with front end customer service problems, be it Google or Citibank or whatever.

I give Google a 100% for cleaning up adwords and getting rid of all this spam. I give them 0% for being able to separate the wheat from the chaff however.

After this is over, Google will probably get some good advice (from their legal team), about setting up a formal appeal process.

[edited by: lgn1 at 4:06 pm (utc) on Sep. 29, 2009]


4:01 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have never hard of anyone getting an adwords ban lifted on their name. Google clearly states

"Please note that our support team is unable to help you with this issue, and we ask that you do not contact them about this matter."

I run a business not an affiliate program and all my sites provide a great user experience and had QS10 scores.


7:19 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I don't know if this is relevant, coincidental, or directly related to what's going on behind the scenes at Google... But in the past I have complained about how I have felt as if I'm being ripped off by Google on the Adsense front (as a publisher), as the average price I was being paid per click varied from 4-6 cents lately. I have had more than one day where I had 100 clicks which amounted to $3. But in the last few days, while all these bans/suspensions were happening for Adwords users, I noticed the amount G was paying me per click has increased substantially, at 9-11 cents (which may not seem like much, but it's double what I was being paid before). Could this be related?

I'm not sure what the minimum bid price is for Adwords, but I have had days where, on one of my niche sites, where I have thousands of highly targeted visitors every day, advertisers would "buy" clicks on my site for as little as 1 to 2 cents. At least, that's what I was being paid. Needless to say, I felt clicks from my visitors were worth more than that and it would make me feel cheated.

Not sure if any of that relates, but just thought I'd share in case it does.


7:28 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

@nicu - so are you suggesting that this move by Google might be to rid its auction of bidders who are at/close to a minimum CPC whose floor Google would like to see raised?


8:41 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

shorebreak- I guess that's possible. But I have never had an Adwords campaign so I'm not sure exactly how that process works, or if there is any relevance to what I said above. Maybe they were sick of people bidding on completely irrelevant keywords, just to be able to buy them for dirt-cheap. Out of curiosity, what is the minimum CPC that Google will allow you to bid?


9:48 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

if it's completely irrelevant the traffic won't convert... so it doesn't make sense to sink in money that doesn't convert.

I have all my accounts slap today... big trouble for me... don't know if the sales I generate from msn and yahoo would be enough to pay my employees and office rent... my 2 largest expense.. outside of my own salary...

I have a site that has been running for 4 years... since march of 05, it got slap left and right in the past but continue to run.. today it's all off together with the rest of all of my accounts...

most of my sites have reviews of the products I sell for my advertisers.. and they are all written from scratch.. I guess nowadays.. those don't count as well... to their "quality score"...

one observation though.. do you guys include the pricing and shipping(if applicable) to your reviews... I know in the past google looks for the contact info, terms and condition, privacy policy...and remove the slap maybe they look for pricing and shipping and warranty stuff nowadays? speculatively what other info would they look for? The keyword itself in the page doesn't seem to completely lift the qs... I made sure the keywords are in there...


11:50 pm on Sep 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Herculano, in your case it doesn't sound like the problem is something technical like a lack of keywords on the landing page. I believe G has said in the past that they dislike affiliate review sites, and in terms of quality that's understandable...from a consumer perspective a review made by an affiliate is useless to me. Not sure if that's the kind of site you have but that could explain it...


1:29 am on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Is the review site model per se that Google hates? or is it just that most affiliates use it as a bridge page?

For instance, <URL snipped> is a complete affiliate site, but provides interesting info and ranks well in google organically. (not sure if they do ppc).

I wonder if the 'product comparison' sites (not price comparison) provide more value than fake reviews or clearly biased reviews...

[edited by: buckworks at 1:15 pm (utc) on Sep. 30, 2009]
[edit reason] No URLs please; see TOS [/edit]

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