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.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: google

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Is Google Going Too Far In Latest Advertising Bans?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Mark Blafkin (profile) says:

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.

Matt (profile) says:

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.



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.

Robert Ring (profile) says:

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.

Ryan Diederich says:

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.


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.

Charlie Potatoes (profile) says:

Level playing fields

I violated no terms of service whatsoever. When my site at 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?

NFG (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

John says:


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.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...