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Great post.
I got a few slaps and hope that I will never get the ban.

I wonder:
1. How many slaps gives you the "credit" for the ban...
2. Is that possible that Google is cleaning the road before pushing their own affiliate network?
3. I wonder what are the "Google Affiliate Network quality standards" mentioned here: http://www.google.com/ads/affiliatenetwork/publisher/index.html


Gab Goldenberg

Want to echo the first comment. This kind of price discrimination is right up there with other types of discriminatory business practices. Anti-trust suits in this regard would be right on the money in terms of slapping Google around for its unfair treatment of various clients

Ad Hustler

Great post. Every industry has it's whales and they almost always get preferential treatment.


Thanks for the post Jay,

We had 3 accounts shut down which effectively killed a new lead gen business due to a random test of an offer that lasted a whopping 3 days, a full 4 months before Google decided any offer related to a particular advertiser violated their TOS. Years of clean advertising with large companies and spend level meant nothingl There was no recourse, even with our adwords rep "checking on it".

IMO Google cut a deal with some parties and you can probably guess what type of offer I'm talking about, but leveling such across-the-board decisions without taking any type of context with such amorphous rules needs to be looked at. Or (hopefully) taken to court by a hungry group of mass-tort attorneys looking to be the next Tobacco bandits.

Chris F

I enjoyed your post on Google quality score. If I had a dollar for every time I got Google slapped I would have made more money than I ever did advertising on Google in the first place. I have made this same complaint to Google in the past. Actually citing specific instances where my ads were denied where others, which were nearly identical in ad and LP content, were allowed to run. Even though they clearly bent Gooogle's rules.

I love your casino analogy. You hit the nail right on the head.

I don't blame Google necessarily, but I don't like it either.

Keep the great posts coming.



Great article! If you're a big advertiser, you also want to take care not to complain too loudly, else you might just get hammered down-- whether you do SEO or PPC. So I'll just mention that a major AdWords advertiser we both know (you were in his office last week) has a multi-million dollar AdWords campaign and we cannot for the life of us get it re-instated.

I've had other guys get banned and Google has made extreme exceptions in bringing the accounts back. But for this mutual friend, despite our connections and spending levels-- could not get back in. Worse, we had complied with all changes in policy as they came-- and there were many.

Of course, many folks will say they complied and that Google is evil. We're not saying that-- just saying that we came in as a white hat, had multiple folks at Google mention that the disapprovals were wrong and that they'd get back to us-- and then we never hear from them again.

So where do we have to be-- in the $100MM a year spend to really matter? Would love some help if you have some insight or connections we're missing....


Thanks for the feedback. Having tried for two+ years to get reinstated, I obviously lack the proper connections. From my experience, Google is hesitant to do a reinstatement, because someone is then responsible and most people don't want to risk their internal reputation - even in your situation when they potentially erred.

As for the spend level that matters, I believe it is now 250k/month on the low end but realistically closer to 500k before you get the all important dedicated account manager who has an actual name and phone number.


You are completely right...


Jay, I completely agree with your observations, but I believe Google is more like a stock exchange, like NYSE, where larger players "buy in" a seat on the exchange in order to get preferential pricing and execution, while smaller retail clients will always pay more and get less. For Google, the buy-in is an unpublicized amount of consistent AdWords spend. Difference is that stock exchanges are regulated, have nominal government oversight, and operate transparently. As Google grows, they will eventually become big enough and end up regulated. Mark my words.


Thanks. Very interesting observation and analogy.

-- Jay


Possibly a shooting yourself in the foot a little with the way you started with a dig at anyone who likes Google, thus portraying anyone who doesn't agree with you as 'unsophisticated'. I think this is what makes you sound like you're kvetching, rather than the perfectly legitimate issues you have raised, and it was what made me want to disagree with you. After forcing myself to read the article, I find that I agree for the most part, but knowing that you took a swipe at people who might just never have had a problem in their relationship with Google still left a bit of a bitter taste in the mouth.


Thank you for the feedback. That is a good point and not what was intended, i.e., to inadvertently insult those who like Google.


I have a couple of friends who work at one of the biggest SEM companies here is Australia. Not only do they let the big guys get away with junk on the system (theyve had 1 page sites go by for months no problems) but they share an insane amount of details.

My mate made a call to one of their Google reps recently and the guy was more than happy to disclose all sorts of information about the competitors of their clients. Campaign budgets, keywords, strategies. They shared everything.

Crazy stuff

john andrews

Thanks for the article Jay. I can't point to proof (just as he general public nor congress people couldn't) but of course we know it's true, and have seen it develop over the years. And as you suggest, it's not unlike business in general. The real issue is one of consumer protection and choice. Right now, we don't have any.

As for class action lawsuits, Google has that covered in the plan. They will settle for up to hundreds of millions (a small price to pay for tens of billions in profits), and secure conditions and terms that ensure future profits. We've already seen them do that. I suspect they'll feel more comfortable after a few of those specific unknowns (risks) are managed anyway.

Technologists behind the wheel? They bought a chunk of Washington as protection. Until they screw up really big, they're safe. I think they face a bigger threat of killing their host than losing their freedom to "innovate" around market inefficiencies. Yes, I did just compare Google to a parasite ;-)


It's about time someone wrote about this! Nice work.


Isnt this in violation of Monopoly laws? When do the laws that affect telephone and cable and other industries apply to internet advertising. Hmmm, I THINK the internet world needs to SUE GOOGLE !!!
and make public to the public how un-fair GOOGLE is. The masses have taken out elitist's in the past once informed and riled. Perfect time to since Mom & Pop are looking to the internet to supplement and would be none to happy to know how big G play's
Lets get AARP on the arse's !!! :)

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