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Peter

Using Add words can be very, very frustrating! I have an adult online store which is perfectly legal here in the UK, but every-time I submit a new add it goes under review for well over a week, only today I sent an email to my adds campaign Manager at Google words explaining that my adds where still under review after a week, he wrote back to me advising me that they should be activated today, this was at 9.30am this morning, it’s now 5pm and guess what? Still under review! I would end by saying that if I had an equivalent method of getting my pages listed I would certainly use it; so they have me over a barrel and unfortunately, I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.
Pete.

Nitin

Guess What!

Google does not has a help line for adwords in India... You need to call Google headquarters and if you are lucky enough someone might connect you to google adwords engineer... on top of that the only email help they will ever send you is copied help pages from their technical help... I mean they are a monopoly and they are
making every attempt to prove it..

This is an exceptional post

Joe Davison

Hear, hear! Thanks for voicing this Jay. We all know the horror stories and frankly it has gone on for too long.

Hi,

I can really appreciate the comparison of Google to the GDR (DDR).

Here's my story. Please forgive the lack of details, I want to preserve the anonymity of my post, as I've never shared this publicly.

I built a company around Google in the early days (between 2001-2003). I offered a simple, but valuable service. It was not considered a 'high risk'.

As I learned my way around the search process, I began to spend more and more money with Google. I was noticed by a few at their company, and as my spend increased, I continued to receive the red carpet. I met a few important people there, and I knew many of the worker bees. My operation had ran for many years without issue all built around paid search marketing (never SEO) - eventually including Overture & MSN - but the bulk of revenues came from Google Adwords. Then suddenly, within the last 2 years, I was told my account would be closed permanently. No valid reason was given. This information was passed to me verbally on the phone by a few in higher positions at the company. Quite smart on Google's part to not have a paper trail. I expressed, that we would make any modifications to the business model to satisfy them. I told them we'd do ANYTHING to remain an Adwords customer, change our ads, change our websites, landing pages, pricing, service offerings, literally anything. The pleas for help fell on deaf ears. They would shut down the account without giving any chance of reconciliation (if it was even required). While on the phone, I expressed our concern about the risk to our merchant account & the employees who take hundreds of phone calls. It didn't matter to them that we could lose our merchant account, possibly go out of business, and 100's of employees would lose their job. What kind of company shuts the door on a profitable client, gives no valid reason for the termination, tells them they can do NOTHING to reclaim their account, and says: "please don't contact us anymore" ?

I can tell you first hand that it's a horrible experience to see a company you built almost ripped apart & destroyed by the decision of a long term partner. The frustration is only compounded by the millions of dollars I pumped into their coffers pre-IPO.

It's simply unbelievable.

With the money that we were spending at Google, they could've hired an army to monitor and scrutinize our ads, and our business...and request changes if we unknowingly did something they did not approve of.

What are companies to do when their entire connection to their future customers has become disconnected?

I have written those I know over there, and there has never been a reasonable or logical reply to my questions. I used to admire Google and supported them, but they have become an arogant monolith. I can only hope that some company comes along and levels the playing field.

Maybe a falling stock price will help them to wake up.

teemoney

Jay-

If they have the guts to do it, you should have reps from all of the engines on a panel at your next Leadscon. These guys need to hear feedback from their customers. The sad thing is an SEM agency can set up multiple accounts like it is going out of style and it is de rigueur... I have a good brand story to tell you one of these days...

Jairo

I share a similar experience with you.
I do affiliate marketing and I pushed the envelope too far according to adwords.
My experience dealing with customer support was exactly the same as yours and I did give up on that account.
So far I have opened several new accounts which have been suspended (I do not market anything offensive or do double dipping) for god knows what adwords reason. And all I can say is that there is ways around the ban, they (adwords) make up their rules and that's all right, but their arrogance has lost me all respect for it and I don't feel a tad guilty of circumventing their ban.
I will not expose the manner in which I do this as I consider it a trade secret and would rather not release any information that they (adwords) can use against me.
And by the way, I've made a pretty buck this way.

John Chow

Cool! I'm with you man.
Actually I had the same problem.

SwitchStories

That is why we should always have a choice. There should always be an Apple for Microsoft, the same way Google should have a rival (Yahoo+MSN). In competitive markets consumers win.

Good luck, Jay. I hope the bad thing that happened to you will direct you towards better opportunities.

Michael

Great post. Actually I'm very surprised how ignorant the webmaster and webpublisher community has been towards the growing problems with the Google super power. We still endorse Google for having changed the way of searching just like the intellectuals who still endorsed emerging communist states for their positive social implications while being blind for the growing total control in these countries. What do we know about the data that Google collects in their underground data centers? The law in Germany allows me to have insight into the files that the Stasi (DDR secret sercice) might have about me. Why do I have no right to check what Google knows about me? Because their data are anonymously? Ha. It's so simple to connect my personal data from AdWords or AdSense accounts (or the contact data on the websites I have listed in Webmaster Central) with all the other anonymous data: what I search for with Google search, what blog articles I read on blogspot.com, what videos I watch on YouTube, everything I write in emails to any gmail addresses, what street addresses or local businesses I look for on Google maps etc. etc. By now Google must have a pretty clear profile about me.
Yes, I do regularly delete my cookies and change my IP address, but that's certainly only a weak defense.
Unlike the Stasi, Google has no power to come to my home and put me in prison, but they too can easily destroy dreams and the hard work of many people.
Fox was able to manipulate the presidential elections in the US 8 years ago, why shouldn't Google, a company whose philosopy is based on intransparency?
Many will say I'm too paranoid. But let's review that in some years...

Matt Larson

Thanks for confirming my paranoia. However, I routinely access my personal and company accounts from the same computer as do probably 1/2 of the search marketers out there. Have you given more thought as to what it actually could have been that set this whole avalanche in motion?

At some point Google will start reaping what they sow. It is inevitable. In the meantime, I wish you well in finding a way around it.

-- JW: Enough has already been written about the lack of transparency with Google. Documentation does not equal transparency, which Google routinely tries to have us assume otherwise. Similarly, it's not guaranteed that accessing person and business accounts will have them linked, but I would assume Google's system knows that you do. It isn't until you make a mistake or they start to overlap that it becomes a problem. I simply advocate diligence and unfortunately a healthy dose of paranoia.

Red

I enjoyed the article until you assumed that I believed in Global Warming.

"It's much like a global warming; you know the problem exists, but until your life has an interruption due to it, you can do a pretty good job ignoring it and paying it lip service."

Global warming can't be ignored because its continually shoved down our throats. That doesn't mean the problem is real. Maybe the government should also get involved in Google's matters as well..... if they aren't already in cahoots.

end rant.

Thanks for this post, Jay. I've been reading your blog for some time now, and this post comes in at just the right time. As I left an online lead gen marketing agency several months ago, and in planning my own independent foray into advertising, this post is very enlightening. This will definitely help shape my plan and approach, and hopefully avoid falling into the same seemingly inescapable traps.

Hugh Simpson

I'm a former CONSUMER investigative reporter that has been VERY active on the Net for over 8 years and I have had the same problem with both eBay and PayPal.

While working on a new Federal Trade Commission regulation that could greatly effect PayPal I have come to know several of their attorneys. I plan to tell these FTC attorneys about the PayPal problem which as one of my partners said is "theft by taking" under any other circumstance.

You need to also start a campaign at the FTC about what Google is doing and I plan to let my subscribers to my blog know what has happened here. I write a blog at http://consumershockjock.blogspot.com where I'm the Howard Stern of the Consumerism world.

Hey, if you don't think this can work just ask the original owners of Ammco Transmission what happen to their business when a 23 year old TV reporter help shut them down! That reporter was ME!


-- JW: Hugh, You're the man. Thanks for the suggestion and call to action.

Simon Abramovitch

Nice post, well done. Google is like YouTube - so massively successful on such a large scale that they feel it's acceptable to use their scale to justify their inability to manage it effectively, whether it's for copyright infringement, wrongful accusations, customer service, whatever. You're right to point out that the situation becomes serious when a family-supporting income is involved. I'm hoping the sheer and growing enormity of their current and future role forces them to act more responsibly. For now, the only 100% safe way is to find another means of income. While Google might try to err on the site of letting offenders go for the sake of making sure less of the innocent suffer from an undue ban stick smack, some slip through the cracks, and livelihoods get ruined. Time to try to diversify income streams until Google get their act together.

Joe McHugh

Great post. The information about mixing of personal and business accounts even though they are not related was something I never considered. I will certainly review my touch points based on this. Thanks

Jan

I feel your pain. I had some problems with the google gestapo a while back. Luckily for me they gave me a final warning first for so called repeated violations of their policy. The problem was that my landing page did not meet their guidelines. When I asked what I needed to change they gave me vague answers that could be interpreted in numerous ways. Never did they say "yes it's ok" or "no, not ok change this and that". So I resubmitted my ads (2 times) and then boom ... this is your final warning.

Very frustrating.

Scott Kuhn

Great post--I, as many others have, had a similar situation with Adsense. Despite multiple pleas to provide to them logs, tracking info, etc, I got nowhere. Just a completely unilateral, complete ban based not on any presented evidence, just that they said I was guilty.

Steve

This is your best post yet. Wow.

Jeff

Jay-thanks for the well written post. I had a similar experience with Adsense a couple of years ago. I was presumed guilty without having the opportunity to prove my innocence, which I was prepared to do. Google's attitude toward its customers willl come back to bite them some day. I just hope to live long enough to see it.

-- Jeff, I think you will love long enough to see. :)

Google Search Sucks

My favorite part about Google is the hypocrisies and double standards that run rampant in their organization. For example, if you are BMW and run BLATANT cloaking (http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/003245.html) you can get Google to re-list you in a matter of days. But if you are a regular webmaster, good luck getting anyone at Google to pay any attention to you.

John Webber

Great post! I have had the same thing happen to a few friends of mine. It is not fun when a company with this much power flexes it's muscles. But treating customers this poorly could be a sign of things to come. I have been pretty happy with Y! the last few months and have been slowly spending more there and less with G.

Yura

They really need to improve their customer service. Such attitude is arrogant at best.

Best of luck to you and your Albert Jerske.

Matt Cutts

Hey Jay, a blog that I read linked over here. I don't know e.g. which niches/industries you're talking about or what sort of long-tail bidding this other person was doing, but I mentioned it to a couple folks here--AdWords isn't really my area of expertise.

-- JW: Thank you, Matt. Regardless, I appreciate your reaching out; despite this post becoming an inadvertent sounding board for negative experiences, I'm glad that Google supports your thought leadership. You do them and the rest of us a service with your contributions.

Tshirt Business

Great article Jay. We've had the smae thing happen with our other friend eBay. We are multiple powersellers (multiple accounts) and one afternoon, bam, out of nowhere, our business gone, across the board.

These large so called empires need to remember that it is us the users and advertisers that make their business and pay their bills. Perhaps more squeeking voices like yours will create some for of revision (though doubtful with Google)

michael

The post hit home with me actually on another note. 25 years ago after a futile attempt to escape the "utter control" ; the DDR flag greeted me every morning, albeit distorted through the thick glass of a prison cell.

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