• http://www.renaissance.co.il Jackie Goldstein

    Regarding bridge pages: What about incentive marketing sites, such as we-care.com or onecause.com?

  • http://andybeard.eu AndyBeard

    I think you might be underestimating some of the issues.

    1. Data collection – I have seen a situation fairly recently where someone with a high quality blog driving traffic to his home page which was a static page, lot of links, privacy policy, disclaimers etc, links to recent blog articles… and an email list opt-in form.

    Google gave him a first and final warning about being a data collection page – no further discussion.

    2. First party shopping cart hosted on another domain was mistaken as being a thin affiliate doorway page.
    An affiliate was driving traffic directly to that sales landing page which possibly wasn’t ideal… as it contained primarily a video sales letter, but it was still high production quality, full legal papers etc.

    Google hit the affiliate for driving traffic to a doorway page

    Google have 2 major problems

    a) Poor communication
    b) Incompetent staff – not all of them but if there is no room to discuss and sort out issues as a small business owner, it is just written off as customers falling through the cracks.

    There are also 2 minor problems
    c) extremely poor documentation and support
    d) extremely cluttered search results from their forums and poor internal search

    There are people making decisions that are killing off the legitimate marketing efforts of small businesses.

  • http://www.adwords-adviser.co.uk/know-adrian AdWords Adviser

    Facinating article. I get lots of questions from AdWords users who have had their website banned and don’t know why. I used to send them to AdWords terms and conditions, but now I am going to show them this web page.

  • Dave83

    Great article- your advice is spot on! I only wish that I had read it six months ago before I was permanently banned for promoting ewan chias 24 hour internet. I had actually tried the product myself and felt that I well and truly got my moneys worth, so why not promote it? Being new to affiliate marketing (it was something I was giving a try on the side) I didn’t really know what I was doing, so the minute that I got the dreaded warning letter from google I immediately deleted the campaign completely. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough for them, a few months later when I logged back in they had banned my account. Having received no explanation whatsoever, and unable to navigate the horrible mess that they call “help” files, I wrote an extremely polite email to them to seek forgiveness and advice. I received an equally polite reply informing me that there was no mistake, and yes I was banned.. For life! (You get less than that for murder these days) It seemed a bit over the top, especially since I had said I would do whatever it takes to fix it, and it was an honest mistake. I suppose this is what you get when a couple of kids start up an internet business straight out of college with no real world experience(I don’t actually know how old they are but I am assuming they are immature from the way they run their business). Anyway, that was my brief experience in Google Adwords. I am much more aware now, and looking at other options such as Yahoo, and Bing- I mean, what else can I do? Not much point fighting them, just got to cut my losses and keep moving on. What really rubbed salt into the wound though was seeing the Google head-honcho on a business show here in Australia the other day. He was saying how easy it was to start a business on the net, especially using Adwords to send traffic to your site. One of the benefits, he said, was the ability to tweak and experiment with different campaigns. What a joke! One strike and you’re out! It would seem that the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing, this guy doesn’t seem to know what is actually happening within his own company. You had better know what you are doing before you start experimenting with different campaigns, as I was. It is hard to believe, but what you have said is true- even if the campaign is no longer running, Google can and will ban you forever for a campaign that you have run in the past!
    Believe it or not I can actually appreciate what they are trying to do, just not the way that they are going about it. They need to be waay more open about the rules, and waay more helpful and patient with newbies. This has really left a bad taste in my mouth, and has opened my eyes to other options out there that I was not previously aware of. Who else does that.. willingly sends their hard-won customers to the opposition? I can only hope that this is the beginning of the end for Google, but seeing their market share I suppose they can afford to be so arrogant.. For now anyway.

  • http://www.epiphanysolutions.co.uk SteveBaker

    Hi Brad,

    The point about Arbitrage is a good one. Google’s own guidelines are pretty vague: http://bit.ly/huuz6P. “Websites whose primary purpose is for users to click on ads that redirect to other sites” are not allowed, but “Websites that have more content than ads” are allowed.

    But recently, they’ve started to encourage advertisers to use Adsense in conjunction with their Adwords account: http://bit.ly/e5iNb9. Their case study actually states that “We have come to think of AdSense revenue as a partial but instant rebate on our AdWords investment,”

    So clearly, you are allowed to use Adsense to generate income to offset your Adwords costs (Google encourage this), but if your adverts are promoted too heavily, you can be banned.

    There’s a line that you can’t cross, and Google don’t even tell you where the line is (or mention that there is one, when promoting Adsense).

    In fact, if you actually look at the website that Google hold up as a shining example of good Adsense usage, you find that they don’t actually sell anything. Every product link on their site heads off to a different website!

    Taking all of this together, it’s not surprising that advertisers are getting confused, and making mistakes. Google do say that they have a range of penalties, and I’d hope that they only ban sites that are clearly and deliberately running their website to take money from Google, but it’s a real minefield for advertisers…

    Steve Baker
    Chief Analyst
    Epiphany Solutions