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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]


5:26 am on Oct 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Well they are still at it.. got a few campaigns hit by 1/10 QS.. Ads that have been running for last 2 years with no change in 'domain' or anything.. They just decided overnight that they are low quality.. No recourse.. I guess.


8:50 am on Oct 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"Affiliate sites that the primary purpose of which is to drive traffic to another site with a different domain "

No clearer really. As that is the aim of affiliate marketing. Why not get specific about the requirements for affiliates, or just tell us not to advertise. One way or the other would be better.


10:38 am on Oct 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

"Poor comparison shopping or travel sites whose primary purpose is to send users to other shopping/travel comparison sites, rather than to provide useful content or additional search functionality"

Does that apply to poor search engines as well? Shouldn't they be booting ask.com off from bidding all over the place as well then?

Mister Bogdan

4:40 pm on Oct 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We also have problem with google.

Our affiliate/partner sites which were running for over 3 years without any change are now 1/10 ...

The problem is bigger because some of our other websites which are not connected to affiliate/partner business in any way, and have order form on our own domains and we sell it from our stock, they are also 1/10 ... This websites have PR5

Very interesting... I wish google to soon become search engine which nobody will use. Give monopoly to company and you will soon see in what it will transfer.

Google should be dismantled at once as they have too much power to influence every online business.

This is not hate talk, just results of what they done to advertisers business.

We already start massively to add campaigns on yahoo and msn accounts.


8:25 pm on Oct 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


No google will never mistreat Ask.com!

Together with all of the other sites they own IAC is the largest known spammer within the organic results (check out ServiceMagic if you doubt me)

Additionally they spend in excess of $35,000,000.00 per month on Google Adwords Advertising.

No way Google would harm them in any way, shape, or form.


10:27 pm on Oct 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

What a mess. Overwhelming.

I am an AdWords Help Forum Top Contributor, Certified Company,AdWordsHelpExpert, yada, yada.

Just surveying the damage.

I have a client down and banned, another TC/AHE has a client down and banned. Google will not tell us why other than vague language like ".. account is found to be in relation to another AdWords account..."

Has anyone involved with this guys website or AdWords wondering who or what the problem is, which of course generates suspicion.

I sympathize with what they are trying to accomplish, but am taking damage because of the way they are doing it.

-Tom Hale


8:24 am on Oct 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Yep that is what I thought, Tom.

Now that you mention it SEO1.

Has any advertised on ask.com?

Any good?


4:37 pm on Oct 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Has any advertised on ask.com?

Any good?

I've tried a few times. Each time the budget runs out way fast without any conversions. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but as far as I can tell it blows


5:03 pm on Oct 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

For me at least, Ask was a waste of time - have now rebuilt my life with Adcenter and Yahoo UK & US.


5:04 pm on Oct 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I am waiting for a competitor to really attack Google where they are vulnerable, in support and transparency.

If it were easy, it would have been done by now. Must not pencil out for the short term labor-wise, even if legal OKd more transparency

It seems diversification is a matter of survival for those leaning on PPC, but there is no good "substitute" for Google. Bans hurt.

Plus when you cut off a source of income, and allude to wrong doing, you are not going to get a cool response.

Thus any rational discussions about acceptable/unacceptable collateral damage in addressing the AdWords fraud and ignorance issues are lost in the uproar.

Like I said, from where I stand it is a sad mess. Remedies were needed. But this?

The lack of transparency and poor communication make it hard to determine whether Google is right on the money, or napalming whole villages in hopes of catching a few bad guys.

-Tom Hale


6:44 pm on Oct 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

napalming whole villages in hopes of catching a few bad guys

That is exactly what they are doing with adwords and their organic search as well and they honestly really don't care. They have the "Google God" complex and it's really turning off a LOT of supporters.

For the first time, my Yahoo spend is double what I'm spending on Adwords because I'm working on dropping them all together. I'm sick of their games.


7:06 pm on Oct 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well its been some time find out that I am banned and they rudely told me there is no way to get back in. Sites are good then they are not without warning. I deleted entire campaigns and Google still sends me a notice on it. Personally I have never heard of a customer being treated like this and its shocking to have a company tell you go away after all the money you have spent. Google must truly think that we are all criminals and do not deserve a chance to operate in their ad space. I am putting together some paperwork to send to the FCC and FTC for some intervention. Google controls enough of the searches just like broadband companies control the fiber. I do not see the difference and I feel we all deserve the opportunity to advertise in their guidelines. Its advertising, you pay to be shown. Anyone interested message me as I have scheduled something that will help this progress.


7:18 pm on Oct 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I was thinking the whole time that it was internal error and then I got back here and saw what people said about affiliates getting booted. Its amazing to me, what if someone decides they want to start their own business? They cannot advertise on Google cause they were an affiliate before? I used to be an affiliate and it helped me get to where I am now. In all my time on the Internet the way that Google treats customers is the worst I have ever seen. That post by AWA provided absolutely zero value as well.


7:38 pm on Oct 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

To date everyone is focussing on what sites the "slap" has hit. Now why not turn this discussion around and focus on what hasn't been hit - ie what Google are looking for.

Now we know they don't like click arbitrage
they don't like price comparisons that don't offer unique content
they don't like the usual "offensive" content sites
they don't like .....

They do like

sites promoting unique content
sites not there for the sole purpose of passing onto another site
sites that are not making a commision from a third party

Instead of licking wounds - identify what it is that they appear - for the moment - to like - and what they don't. If you fall in the "don't like" bracket - you need to re-think your strategy. If you currently fit into the "they like" bracket - anticipate what they may not like about it several months down the line.

The internet evolves - it always will - Google, sadly, appears to have the ability to wipe people out overnight. Make it part of the business strategy. You cannot rely on a body who has the ability to wipe you out overnight with no recourse. Have other measures in place.

I realy do sympathise with everyone. I got hit several years back - and have avoided adwords since. There are other ways. Diversify.


8:30 pm on Oct 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

@trannak I get the positive twist, and agree there is not enough talk about the signals that bring about incineration.

But the net got a lot wider a few weeks ago. The communication is horrible, the staff overwhelmed.

Last week two different support people had two of my clients mixed up. Getting the two mixed up in one of their "you have been accused, tried, and banished" emails. And then another person did it when talking to me on the phone.

Getting slapped because you gave off a particular signal is bad enough when you have to "guess" at what that signal is.

I fear people may be getting slapped because they have been mistaken for someone else giving off the offending signal. It is the damn secrecy and poor communication. It creates a vacuum that is then filled with all kinds of doubt.

I do not assume 100% efficiency/purpose, as Andrew Goodman suggested in his comments to Barry Schwartz. (not active here enough to know the linking policies)

Not with what me and other professional associates (AdWords Help Top Contributors, SEMpdx Board Members and the like) are seeing the last few weeks.

I don't know where the problem lies - some combination of badly calibrated software (too wide a net) and overwhelmed manual review systems perhaps.

But you are so right on the diversify, seems it is a matter of survival.

It's a shame, I specialized in AdWords to focus my expertise. That strategy looks rather dangerous right now.

I also use to assume that those that got banned deserved it.
In fact I have been critical of Google over the years for a number of things having to do with low thresholds and insufficient enforcement.

That too, is haunting me now.



9:10 pm on Oct 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Let's get back on track and discuss the real issue - Google gave no warning, no explanation and placed accounts in jeopardy (or closed them) based on what seems to be a poorly-thought out, automated process. Hundreds of seemingly good, honest customers are facing losing their business, and Google is not forthcoming with any information to help.


9:16 pm on Oct 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

People need to start making noise about this in places other than the WW forum. For example, News Media, Your Senators, The FTC and any other outlet that has the power to get the word out that Google is a evil monopoly crushing business in an economic down turn and is need of regulation.


9:55 pm on Oct 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Google is a evil monopoly crushing business in an economic down turn

I don't think anyone with any influence would take polarized statements like this seriously...it will only serve to hurt the credibility of otherwise valid arguments.


10:31 pm on Oct 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Really, and just why is that not a valid argument?

The FTC is already looking them for other things.

If I'm a small business owner and the Great Google kills my account for no valid reason thus wounding my companies ability to generate revenue because they have a monopoly on the search market and I can no longer pay employees because of it, I think thats a valid reason to make a stink about.

OK, so I wouldn't use the the evil part, but Google is worse than Microsoft ever was.


10:45 pm on Oct 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

If I'm a small business owner and the Great Google kills my account for no valid reason thus wounding my companies ability to generate revenue because they have a monopoly on the search market and I can no longer pay employees because of it, I think thats a valid reason to make a stink about.

Arizonadude, I feel your pain and I too am frustrated with the way Google is going about the latest flush but first of all, when you signed up to adwords, you agreed to the term that you could be terminated without reason. Second of all, any business model that relies on the policies of another is a poor one. Do your employees know that their job depends on those policies?

The fact is, they do NOT have a monopoly on the market (yet) and there are other options. I think it would be wise to use this opportunity to diversify. It's safe AND smart.

Not having a go at you because I too have felt the wrath of Google in the past despite spending incredibly large figures with them. Despite this, Google ultimately owes me nothing. The sooner everyone realizes this the better off they will be. Google is not your friend. It's a massive corporation and you are NOT their customer. The regular Joe Soap searcher is. If you want to play in Google's sandbox, you have to play by their rules.

If your site got caught in the crossfire and you feel it was in error, contact them. Every site/account we manage that got erroneously slapped (ie: was not an affiliate site) was reinstated/unslapped after speaking with our reps and having the issue investigated.


10:50 pm on Oct 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Now why not turn this discussion around and focus on what hasn't been hit - ie what Google are looking for.
As mentioned before, I use only direct linking. No duplicated content, no passing of visitors to another site etc. etc.

A couple of sites I have been promoting as an affiliate using direct linking -some of them for over three years- have been slapped over night.

Guess what... those slapped sites still show up in the ads on google.com because they are still promoted by other affiliates who did not get slapped for the same websites.

So how can you ever figure out what kind of websites Google is expecting from their clients?

They slap websites on an account basis. So website X is only slapped for account X. Other accounts can still promote the same website. How weird is that? What is Google trying to accomplish by doing that? It's not that the so called low-quality-websites-according-to-automated-algorithm will not show up in the ads section anymore. It doesn't make sense.

And because a few websites got slapped (minor percentage of total amount of websites I promote) in the past four years I now risk a ban because I (and many others) received the first and final warning over night?

As written before, sending in a website for a review to Adwords support before you use it in Adwords is also no guarantee for not getting a ban one week later. Even when support tells you the website suits the guidelines and you can start to use it then a couple of weeks later you still can get a ban. Even when the guidelines did not change and you did not change the approved website. How crazy is that?

In other words... there is no way you can't prevent a ban.

Oh... and do you have clients for whom you manage their corporate Adwords account? They also can't prevent a ban in the future. Even if they stop working with you today. If you get a ban one month later then those accounts will be banned too. Check the story below that interiorexpress wrote in this topic:

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?

So if you suddenly get a ban from Adwords and you are thinking that loosing your main source of income is the biggest problem? Guess what? You might get sued by your clients because their accounts will get a ban too. So this might ruin you for the rest of your life.

I don't now about the rest of you but next to my own account I have clients for whom I manage their corporate Adwords account... and this is scaring the hell out of me.

[edited by: Dlocks at 10:56 pm (utc) on Oct. 9, 2009]


10:52 pm on Oct 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Googles Customers are its adwords advertisers.

Google Searchers are its readership, userbase, whatever.

G is only in a position to act this way because of the glut of advertisers lined up to become customers. And there's only so much space on page one. Hence the 'picky' attitude...


10:52 pm on Oct 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


Google kills my account for no valid reason thus wounding my companies ability to generate revenue

Valid argument

Google is a evil monopoly crushing business in an economic down turn

Not valid argument (polarization of known facts)


6:37 am on Oct 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Ok,ok, according to their terms and conditions they can do what they like with us, but after spending #*$! thousands of dollars over many years, is it morally acceptable to ban you overnight and potentially ruin your very source of living without any clear and transparent reason why? and all this from the 'do no evil' company in the middle of a recession!


4:51 pm on Oct 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Ok, according to their terms and conditions they can do what they like with us

Yes, I always wondered about those T&C. The same conditions exist across pretty much everything G does, from stockholder rights to "free" applications.

$$$ tend to blind people - for awhile...


1:29 am on Oct 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Regarding affiliates, I don’t understand why Google is “out to get them” now… Seriously, no affiliate can advertise for long unless they are making $$$, and no affiliate makes money unless people click through their links, find what they are looking for and buy it. Obviously, if an affiliate can stay in business then they are generating enough income from a site to pay the Google advertising costs and make a profit. Therefore, obviously they are providing a service to the consumers that find what they are looking for and buy it. And if they don’t do it well or don’t do it “right”, then they won’t make money and they will stop advertising on adwords very quickly. I understand Google wants to have some standards (ie; no gambling, no adult sites, etc), but not every affiliate is running some illegal or “red light” site….

I don’t think Google needs to “weed out” affiliate sites; it’s a natural process in the marketplace that the ones that do a good job will make money and thrive and the ones that don’t will discontinue and move on (and rather quickly since they will be losing money……). There are a lot of search terms that only an affiliate ad pops up that leads people to where/what they want and if you eliminate that then you can’t find it through the organic results. So what if it’s a “bridge to the parent company” if the consumer ends up where they want to be? Google did what they were supposed to, the affiliate site did what it is supposed to do and both get paid and make a profit and the consumer ends up where they want to be which is why they use search in the first place.

Google is clearly a monopoly and exercising monopoly power now……. Those that weren’t banned but were only threatened now have to live in fear, fear of the unknown with no chance for dialog to address any issues…

It is so disturbing that Google is banning entire accounts FOREVER because of some unexplained occurrence; with no recourse and no chance to make corrections…. FOREVER……. It’s not even clear if it’s something from the past, something from the present or just “guilt by association”…….

FOREVER is a mighty long time…….

BTW, I’m all for free markets so if Google really doesn’t want affiliate sites to advertise then that is their right and just tell us that. Tell us what’s acceptable and not acceptable (not the vague T&Cs up now…), give us a link checker; give us a process to appeal. Work with us, don’t just ban people out of the blue and threaten a bunch of other people……. It’s really disappointing from the company with the slogan “do no evil”……. I received two of the threatening emails with no specific details; and it’s EVIL…….

Transparency please.......


2:14 pm on Oct 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

It seems to me that Google is targeting "some" affiliate sites. Why I say this I do a product search and the first 3-4 listings are Price Comparision sites that are nothing but an "affiliate sites" sending traffic to another site for a cost per send. These sites IMO are worthless as some of the advertised prices are lies on the "affiliate sites" that get the user to click on the link to the site were the price is not what was advertised.
This is false advertisment by the "affiliate" site yet they are still advertising away. The ban here ban there just doesn't cut it and I can see a large storm a coming.

Just got a $100.00 worth of adwords for free but don't plan on using it. I don't advertise with any SE so I am not bias in my opinion it is just there are those "chosen affiliates" still advertising away.

Boy I bet they are enjoying the decline in competition and wonder if their prices will go up due to this.


4:26 pm on Oct 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

This is one of my first and only posts on this forum.
Considering that google may be monitoring this thread
i would like to layout the future just around the corner that google is creating.
It's clear that google do not want affiliate advertisers
on the adwords system however the market is stronger then anything and is stronger then google and a room with a few PHD's that call themselves "Specialists".
Dear google, here is a glimpse of the future:
its called rebranding...
A vendor will not be able to have affiliates helping him
promote his products with adwords so he will offer advertisers the possibility to rebrand his product and sell it as his own (in essence its still an affiliate).
All affiliate marketers will become professional rebranders,
they will take an existing product and rebrand/create a website for it on their own domain , it will be very hard to tell what is the source product for any given product.
Today adwords has 1000 affiliates for one product.
The future of adwords holds 1000 "different" products which are actually the same one.
Wait and see google.


4:58 pm on Oct 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

asafrash, ssshhhhhhh...don't ruin it :)

In all seriousness you are exactly right. I'm an affiliate and I started promoting rebranded (whitelabel) offers months ago after seeing the writing on the wall from adwords.

When done properly it is absolutely impossible for anyone to tell it is not a stand alone unique product...even when campared side by side.

In the end nothing will have changed and there will be nothing google can do about it except run detailed inspections on each product/service being advertised and compare them to all other products being advertised. Good luck with that!


5:58 pm on Oct 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Has any advertised on ask.com?

Any good?

This question inspired me to give ask another go. I realized I had about $60 sitting on the account anyway, so I figured I might as well give it one last try. I got over 200 clicks, and only one conversion - and that conversion came from me testing that it was actually working.

As I did this I realized I've gone through this a few times; tried ask, not gotten any conversions, forgotten about it, then thought maybe I did something wrong and tried it again.

So I ran an all time report:

570 clicks, $245 spent - THREE covnersions. And at least 2 of those conversions are from me testing the ads (though I'm pretty sure the third one is too). I used only exact match keyword that see 30-40% conversion on G, Y and msn.

So my final answer is : yes I have tested it thoroughly and IME it's terrible. The interface is bad, you'll fly through your budgets in no time, and you'll get nothing back. Avoid.

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