Is Google Going Too Far In Latest Advertising Bans?

from the a-little-explanation-would-be-nice dept

We've been talking a bit about some of the communications problem Google seems to have at times, often not doing a very good job communicating with the public on things that may impact them greatly. Here's yet another example, sent in by Ryan, who notes that many people have recently been kicked out of Google's AdWord program with no recourse or explanation.

Now, it seems pretty clear that Google is trying to block "bad" advertisers who are somehow lying or cheating the system -- and that's a good thing. But these sweeping bans seem to be catching plenty of legitimate advertisers, and even more frustrating than the "ban" itself is the fact that as many times as you attempt to get them to explain why you were banned or ask for your case to be reconsidered, the company's response is, effectively, to tell people: "You were banned for being bad, and you will never advertise with us again. Goodbye." While I'm sure plenty of the banned accounts were banned for nefarious activity, it seems ridiculous to do a permanent and total ban with no explanation whatsoever. Google has been known to do this before (certainly many folks who use AdSense have received similar notices with the same lack of info or recourse). It's just a shame, because it's the sort of thing that Google could do right, and seems to have chosen not to.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Mark Blafkin (profile), Dec 15th, 2009 @ 12:12pm

    Interesting Conundrum

    I think the problem will be that the only way to do this "right" is to put human beings back into the loop to help mitigate any potential false positives in the system. I don't think Google can simply tweak the algorithms to fix it. But, therein lies the rub. Putting human beings back into the system is not in the Google DNA - you can't deliver all these cool free services if you're paying thousands of support staff to answer questions and fix false positives.

    Will be interesting to see how or if they try to fix this issue.

     

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      Matt (profile), Dec 15th, 2009 @ 1:17pm

      Re: Interesting Conundrum

      Perhaps they could charge for unsuccessful appeals. Require an upfront deposit of $1500. If the appeal is successful, that amount gets credited against the account. If unsuccessful, the money is forfeit to Google to pay the costs of investigating and adjudicating the appeal. Some amount would also go into Google's legal defense fund to pay for contributory infringment suits brought by people unhappy with the process, a few of which appear to be filed every year.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 3:59pm

        Re: Re: Interesting Conundrum

        The paid appeal process seems like a good idea. Perhaps an automated report of why an advertiser got bounced should be included in the package.

         

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    IOERROR, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 1:36pm

    Funny

    So let me get this right. People are breaking the TOS agreement because they didn't fully understand it, have gotten banned for doing so and you are supporting them? Sorry but there are a lot of people making a lot of money by breaking the TOS and if Google bans a few legit people to ban a bunch of scammers I have zero issue with this.

     

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      Robert Ring (profile), Dec 15th, 2009 @ 1:53pm

      Re: Funny

      "People are breaking the TOS agreement because they didn't fully understand it, have gotten banned for doing so and you are supporting them?"

      No, actually that's not the case at all. He's referring to cases in which people have NOT broken any TOS agreements but still get banned. This happens fairly often, and Google has been really bad about following up with those who were wrongly banned.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 3:52pm

      Re: Funny

      Oh, well, I heard that someone who lives near you is a criminal. I'm too lazy to find out which one, so I'm just going to arrest all of you. Don't worry, though, the criminal will be arrested, so everything is fine!

       

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      Briggidere, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 8:37pm

      Re: Funny

      so how would you feel if it were you banned as one of the legitimate advertisers? Tell your staff they have no jobs just before the holidays and re-mortgage the house to feed the family while you look for another job?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 1:55pm

    So you are fine with shooting into the crowd of protesters just to get those throwing rocks. So what if a few (hundred, thousand) innocent people voicing their opinion get hit.

     

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    Ryan Diederich, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 3:23pm

    Depends on the perspective...

    The RIAA sends out blanket lawsuits and possible catches a few real criminals. This is a crowd of innocents...

    If google catches many scammers and only a few legit customers get kicked out in the process, that isnt as bad, accidents will happen, and a company built on free cant hire people to prevent it.


    But

    While it would take hundreds of employees to make sure that every scammer removed was indeed a scammer, it would only take several if any new employees to handle claims of mistakes made, so that legit customers could get back in.

     

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    Charlie Potatoes, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 3:24pm

    Level playing fields

    I violated no terms of service whatsoever. When my site at www.NewWorldEssays.com was banned from advertising I asked the ad exec why. He said it was 'immoral' to write essays for students. So I asked who made Google the keeper of public morals, but I got nowhere. Later I would see some of my much bigger competitors' ads on Google. I would call and complain. Each time I was thanked for bringing it go their attention, but they did nothing about it. Apparently Google's idea of morality is directly linked to the number of clicks your website can generate. Today I advertise on 3rd rate search engines while my huge competitors are free to violate the morals of American youth via Google. Is this a great country or what?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 4:01pm

    GOOGLE = KAFKA

    It seems more like Kafka's Trial where no one knows what the charges are.

     

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    NFG (profile), Dec 15th, 2009 @ 8:47pm

    They got us too...

    We sell inventory control software in Australia, and have been shelling out about a thousand dollars a month for an Adwords campaign for a few years now. Our relationship with Google's service was satisfactory, as far as we were concerned.

    We were stunned to have our account canceled recently, and we have no idea why it happened. Of course there's no recourse, no one at Google returns our mails, despite inviting us to respond if we felt it was done in error.

    We're faced with a starkly frightening future without the sales leads we generated with our Adwords campaigns, and our Canadian office - with far more staff - is now terrified that they'll face the same ban.

    It is powerfully frustrating to be dealt this blow and not have any mechanism for appeal or recourse, moreso 'cause we thought we knew Google's rules and were following them. No warning, just a permanent and bewildering end to our number one customer generating mechanism.

    The best part was the email from Google a week later inviting us to read about new ways to maximize our now dead Adwords campaigns.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:10am

    Too Many Unwritten Rules

    The reason innocent people keep getting banned from AdWords and AdSense alike is for violating the unwritten rules and that's the reason they never get a response. Google figures its their business so they can do whatever they want, within the law.

    While it may seem unrelated, websites get deindexed or dropped from the search engine completely and Google claims they won't tell anyone why because it would tip off the black hatters to find ways around it. Poppycock, I say.

    It's time to find a better, more profitable source.

     

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    John, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 5:56am

    Ban

    All these people who are raising hell about being banned are only raising hell because Google stopped their money making scam's dead in their tracks. I have not seen one case of a "legit" advertiser being banned. Most are giving away "free" products, capturing personal data and some of the landing pages actually take people's credit card numbers and charge them.

    Bravo Google, keep going, you do not need this trash advertising anyways, there are plenty of honest and good adwords customers out there that sell products and services and do not scam people.

     

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      charlie potatoes (profile), Sep 1st, 2010 @ 4:33pm

      Re: Ban

      John, you're talking out your ass. You have clue how I run my business or what kind of cut throat foreign scam artists i have to compete with who are happily in bed with Mr. Google. I'm not a flamer, but you, sir, are full of crap.

       

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