Google Adwords Drops The Axe Again

It appears that Google Adwords has done another round of banning of accounts with very little information other then a simple email that says that your account has been banned.

I know this because I received dozens of emails from my customers telling me that they had received the dreaded “You’ve Been Banned By Google” emails over the last week.

The problem with these emails is that they don’t tell anyone why they have been banned.  Calling or emailing Google Adwords to find out why is a bigger waste of time then watching a Lindsay Lohan movie.

They are not responding or answering any questions and I have yet to hear of anyone who has been banned ever getting their account reinstated.

This ban has not been limited to people running rebill offers but rather a mix of accounts promoting anything from Clickbank products, CPA offers, poor landing pages, own products etc.

In fact, I heard that a company that had been spending one million dollars a year with Google Adwords selling their own coffee product was banned without explanation.

I have yet to receive one of these emails, but I fully expect to if they are targeting advertisers running poor quality CPA offers (i.e email submits).

I am offender “numero uno” when it comes to promoting email submit CPA offers on Google Adwords.

Here is who they are nailing:

1. Offer Does Not Offer A “Good User Experience”

If you are running any sort of offer that Google deems not to provide their users with a “good user experience” according to Google’s judgement, they can ban you.

2. Rebill Offers

If you try to run a rebill offer (i.e. Acai, Biz Op), you risk the chance of having your account banned.  I have even heard that if you had run a campaign like this in the past that may be paused or deleted, they can still ban you.

3. Guilt By Association

If you have ever or had anyone log into a shady or banned Google Adwords account from your IP address,  you run the risk of having your account banned because Google targets all Google Adwords accounts that have ever been accessed by that same IP address.

Now, it isn’t that hard to open a new Adwords account, but it does require a bit of work.

1. Get a new computer

2. Get a new IP address

3. Open a new Adwords account under a new name and new credit card with a different name and address (i.e. mother-in-law?)

With the above being said, it appears that affiliate marketing on Google Adwords is dying a slow death and pay per click marketers need to start evolving their businesses outside of Google Adwords.  Also exploring other traffic courses such as media buys, ppv, natural seo, viode marketing, etc. doesn’t hurt either.

Google represents just a small fraction of the traffic available online.

At one-time, my monthly advertising budget with Google Adwords represented about 70% of my online budget.  Scary eh?  I have now brought this down to about 15% and will now never allow one traffic source to be more than 20% of my monthly budget.

I myself will not be content until my monthly ad spend with Google is just about 10% of my total monthly ad spend.

I have been working heavily expanding out with other pay per click search engines and pay per view traffic sources for the last two weeks.

I can understand Google Adword’s wanting to give their users a “good user experience”, but the manner in which they are offending their advertisers who have helped build their company is astonishing.

It appears that they don’t give a crap.

I have started moving my advertising dollars elsewhere.  I don’t have to deal with this unbelievable arrogance with other companies that sell paid traffic.

If Google simply worked with their customers to clean up poor advertisements (i.e. removing flogs, etc.), they would still have a lot of loyalty from their advertisers.

All good things come to an end.

When Google runs into hard times, they won’t regret the policies they put into place, but rather the manner in which they treated their advertisers when implementing them.

Any comments?

172 comments

  1. I am in the process of engineering a new solution to AdSense/Adwords, hope I get support from you guys! I started this some time ago out of a massive GOOGLE FRUSTRATION and I am going to look for at least 500 people to launch the product. I am coming back str8 to this blog first! 😉

  2. Itoro

    I think Andre is right, I think “this” slap was only targeted at “Search Network” advertisers.

  3. It’s a good advice NOT to install Google Analytics on your sites, esp. affiliate. Don’t give Google a chance to kick you out of hard earned high rankings.

    I’ve seen several stories (not counting my own site) of good affiliate sites suddenly disappearing from G index, with nothing but a normal SEO schemes.

    So take care guyes, those bastards ban even SEO affiliate sites.

  4. Mikko

    You should consider an alternative for your Adsense account too. I’m not yet banned, but I’m looking for alternatives.

    This whole thing might have something to do with net neutrality debates: big companies want to transform internet as a cable tv, only for big players, only for certain urls. Make your fortune now, while it’s still possible for small guy.

  5. Thanks Gauher!

    I ‘invested’ my money on Google Cash Detective just to see my Google PPC QS drop from 7 to 1 when refreshing the page! while using LPGen direct linking! Then the creator of LPGen said I MUST have a quality website in the root of my site – not just two articles on a blog (LPGen operates in a subdir of this root). So I abandoned GCD & LPGen, which together cost a bit…
    Just as well I did not try to make it work after what I read today!

    I was wondering how long for Yahoo to become like G?

    I would like to see comments on: “Now the problem is going to go to PPV, since the mass will follow and the same will happen. Please stop promoting PPV.” And “Some comments above said the affiliate marketing is slowly dying. Is this true Gauher? Please comment.”

    And I am also for “banning Acai and White Teeth, Google Kits scamming” etc. This is maybe the biggest cause of all our problems.

  6. yes that is just the truth of the matter i think Google is getting unfair with how they are treating their clients…..too bad i will say……but that is a great awareness for advertisers that are putting too many of their advertising percentage on Google to quickly look for other good and reliable means of advertising….i think other means of advertisement are all over the internet….thanks for the awareness….

  7. please Gauher Chaudhry….can you guarantee me that the auto pilot software you talk about in your mail that i receive is reliable and can generate me a quick affiliate commission…for free after getting the software? please reply me i really need your help…my email mbuzzers@yahoo.com

  8. I was planning on just using Google Content with my choice of placements.

    Does anyone know if this too is subject to the whims of Google?

    Thanks for the heads up Gauher. My sympathies to those who got shut down suddenly. As relative newbie I am not sure I even want to bother opening a Google account, but I am told they are the only place to really do content placement advertising.

    I run blogs so they might love me?

  9. It’s unfortunate that Google is going about this with some sort of vendetta against affiliate marketers.

    I realize that natural search traffic using SEO/backlinks is time consuming but it works. Unfortunately, the D-Bags at Google are making it even harder to do that. But to me, its well worth the effort. On-Page SEO/Backlinks/Social Bookmarks/Web 2.0 Properties all do the trick for sustainable traffic.

    Don’t get me wrong; I’m still going to be in PPC and soon PPV. Good Luck to All!

  10. I haven’t been personally hit myself but I know they do this from time to time.

    Thanks

    Chris

  11. Another victim of the ban! Funny thing is it’s the first time I have used the account in months.

    On a lighter side, Google “Google customer service awards” no results found! Brought a smile to my face.

    Also the second most searched term in Google for the whole of last year was ‘bing’ maybe they will get what they deserve soon.

    If you want to really annoy them buy a single share and turn up to their AGM, please be aware this is not stock advise because if you manage to make enough noise the price of your share will fall.

  12. Yep, I got banned as well. Trouble I have is that I was promoting my offline business through Adwords. A completely legitimate business and now I’ve been banned due to a teeth whitening ad which never received a single click.
    F**k Google as far as I’m concerned.

  13. Darren

    Hey Gauher,

    Thanks for the post.

    I got my Adwords account disabled last week even though I had no campaigns running. Everything else had been paused or deleted, and I’d only been doing typical Clickbank affiliate offers…nothing shady.

    The other comments here have made me think…if we want to get back at Google, maybe we can start to look at how many of their other services we are using and cut back on much we use them and/or how much information we give away.

    For instance, how many folks use Google Analytics? I’m starting to be more than a little concerned about how the data from analytics is being used…who knows, it might be used against my sites or me in the future without warning? Sounds crazy, but so did getting banned from Adwords for no reason.

    Don’t forget that Google gets its power from information and data…without it it is nothing

    Anyone using any good Analytics packages that they can recommend that are not a part of the Big G’s tentacles?

  14. Nick

    I’ve read in a couple of forums that more than 150,000 AdWords accounts were disabled.

    150,000!

    Thanks for the hundreds of millions of dollars guys. Now f*ck off.

    Sincerely,

    Google

  15. I don’t think people should take this kind of behavior from google. Yes, find other avenues to promote your website. But arbitrarily banning advertisers is abuse-the word Google is synonymous with searching on the internet! They almost have a monopoly although bing shows some potential and Yahoo is still around. However Google DOES control the lions share of the market and if you can’t advertise on Google you’ve got serious problems. Don’t take this lying down if they do it to you-especially if they’re preventing you from selling your own product. Don’t let them get away with their canned emails to deal with customers. Demand to speak to a supervisor, not some 20 year old hack on the “Google Adwords Team”. Complain to the FTC about this abusive behavior. File a law suit. Do something otherwise they will put a huge dent in internet marketing for the little guy just as the economy is recovering.

  16. Ari

    Does this mean PPC campaign for affiliate marketers will die soon, since I also experience funny things with Adwords, nasty things, so we move to yahoo, msn…or we are dong something else..great topc though another challengge for PPC marketers…

  17. there are always ways around Google.
    Why worry so much about PPC with Google!
    I have also been banned by Google.
    Now I get organic traffic from the same demon!
    Choose a domain name that goes with the business, metakeywords and do on page SEO.
    Start working on off page SEO!
    Get the monster to be your friend! haha!

    Now, with Yahoo and MSN (Bing), they will soon start feeling the heat and it is not long before they (google) realize their folly!

    It is like the 70s and 80s when some companies said “we are XXX, we are always right, you just do what we tell you to do and buy what we tell you to buy”. They are now struggling for survival, some don’t even exist.

    Srinath

  18. Google.. YECCCCH !! I have an Adwords account with them, im using Placement with my own hand crafted banners.. LOADS of work.. but I get the satisfaction ya know.. anyway.. I find from my site Tracking that the impressions or clicks im getting from impressions DO NOT come from my graphics ( creatives ).. ohhhh no.. these clicks are coming from related products..ie OTHER PEOPLES banners and graphic ads.. and in some cases totally UNRELATED ads.. a jeans button manufacturer, an Indian fight poverty ad, and several other weird places.. Im promoting Forex…
    Do you think Google even UNDERSTAND the nature of my complaint.. NOPE.. they keep telling me to get the answers on their Forum..

    WHAT A JOKE…
    as soon as my paid ahead credit (long story) gets used up.. im out of Google 4eva..

    Looking at PPV… ohh and Screenswarm..
    Check it out http://eCa.sh/Screenswarm

  19. Lawrence

    I’m just starting out on the IM road and it already looks as if I need a 4×4 as it is so rocky!

    A lot of people are raving about PPV but isn’t that simply Adware? A merchant site I am signed up with specifically bans affiliates from using Adware. LG.

  20. First Google tells us to stop direct linking and create landing pages, then they ban us for using landing pages.
    MSN has always been a better source of converting traffic and a lot cheaper for me anyway.
    As far as I can tell, it’s the source (ie the company who ultimately supply the product) who are causing customers to complain.
    Some customers are having their credit cards rebilled when they shouldn’t be but this is not our fault. The slap should apply to the source if found guilty, not the affiliates. Google will pay the price ultimately in the end.

  21. Apparantly, Google has decided that they can generate enough revenue without the banned accounts. Personally, I am not banned–yet.
    However, I do feel that Google is being over protective with the new FTC rulings that went into effect on Dec 1, 2009.
    There are alternatives to advertising using Google: Yahoo, Bing, Amazon, FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, Media, PPV and even Alta Vista.
    WHAT WOULD GOOGLE DO IF ALL AFFILIATES DECIDED TO NOT USE ADWORDS/ADSENCE?

  22. My Google account was banned last week. They did respond to my e-mails. On their second e-mail they stated I was doing advertising “arbitrage”. They also said “we are unable to disclose all of our policies for an account to be banned, but among the reasons are…” (I translated all this, BTW), and then they would make a list that practically KILLS AFFILIATE MARKETING.

    My desicion has been:

    To improve the quality of my sites (I have been working on it this year)
    To increase “free traffic” strategies.
    To use more traffic networks and offline traffic.

    Gauher has made a series of “free traffic” strategies webminars that have been very useful to me. I look forward to join PPVFormula.

    Alfonso

  23. Dee

    I haven’t been slapped – yet by Adwords.
    But I did have an adsense account banned a couple years back. It may be because I stupidly or mistakenly put a site with adsense on it in a traffic exchange. (don’t do it).

    Haven’t spent on adwords for 4-5 months. MSN is much cheaper – partly because there is so much less traffic to it. I’m exploring a new strategy and so far it works well. It’ll take lots of sites to make any money just because there isn’t much volumne, but I’m paying MSN and collecting from Google!

    I pay 5c a click for a site to MSN with adsense on it, which almost always leads to about 60c worth of adsense clicks avg.

    Yahoo is priced in the middle of G. & MSN.
    I find them harder to control still, but they certainly have more volumne than Bing. Bing is rising a bit in usage. Be ready.
    Marketers may be leaving big G., but unfortunately, SEARCHERS are not. They haven’t been pissed off yet.
    I’ll still try to use G., but only after finding winning campaigns on cheaper places like MSN.

  24. Joe

    I heard from a friend of ours who used to be an investment banker and worked on their IPO that the founders are two of the meanest, rudest jerkoff assholes he’s ever met. That he 100% can’t stand either one of them. — he said that IPO auction they did was one of the stupidest things he’s ever seen. true story

  25. Frederick Bland

    There is A LOT more traffic in direct banner and media buys anyway and a lot less headaches .

  26. tomartomartini

    i agree with ggl !

    culling crap from there market place is right!

    ggl is a “product and a brand name”,ggl have

    to protect their brand name,well done to them!

    in europe if ggl where seen to abuse users thet could be fined 100s million dollars; they have a huge skilled work force, they spend millions on data centers,pension funds invest in there stock,they pay millions in tax,they spend vast amounts on research,copying content eg outdated books..there wonderful!

    -“[they don’t tell anyone why they have been banned_-]

    do you honestly think they ggl are going to waste time on a few” measly PPC advertisers”
    when ggl have a bigger social respnsibility.

    they right ….get over it .

  27. The reason Google has so much power and sends so much traffic is that so many people automatically use their search engine. If you want to level the playing field for affiliates, advertisers and small businesses USE ANOTHER SEARCH ENGINE!

    I use and recommend DuckDuckGo and Zuula. Both are easy to find and use and can be added to the drop-down choices in the FireFox search toolbar.

    While your traffic may only be 15% Google the average ecommerce store gets 60-70% of their traffic and sales from Google ppc and organic search.

    Read the post I’ve linked to this comment that clearly illustrate how Google can dramatically drop anyone’s traffic. It includes links to three ProBlogger posts about how his traffic dropped – all during the holiday shopping season.

    Then seriously consider changing what you do to reduce the power Google has.

  28. Dave

    Its simply,Give the user a good UX and everything will be ok. No smoke without fire.
    Y bitch about it? just get on with it. Do you really need Google?… NO

  29. I have an appraisal website that I have promoted using Adwords for several years and there is nothing except a very vanilla site. They sent me that letter too.

    Can’t figure out what to do about this.

    Marten Davis

  30. Well I’ve not yet tried Google Adwords yet because of all these kind of stories I hear all the time. Though I plan to use them really soon, by then I’ll be well prepared for their affiliate hater moves.

  31. JJ

    I personally feel google needs a good old fashioned wake up call. It’s one thing to police their search engine and get rid of the spammers and another to tell people how they should market their businesses. It’s really quite ridiculous what they’ve been doing, and I think us marketers and business owners shouldn’t have to put up with it anymore. Their lack of customer service skills will be the death of them. It’s insane that people and companies that spend thousands to millions of dollars marketing through them still can’t get through to them to find out what is going on, or why they have been penalized or banned. Business owners shouldn’t have to deal with it, and should go on a google strike! The only way to get the problem solved is to make sure that our voices are heard.

  32. Daren

    I had four of my Google acocunts banned last week, two of which had been dormant for months.

    I saw the phrase “class action” in an earlier post and I think it is only a matter of time. Google is on the brink of becoming an essential service and banning someone without warning is a threat to that person’s livelihood.

    Yes, they do want to provide a good user experience- which is why they’re winning the search engine wars at present, but that good user exp should extend to those of use who spend buckets of money for their services.

    Yeah, life’s hard when you’re the cop/god of the web, but injustice is not going to work over the long haul.

    Smarten up, Google!

  33. Well put, Gauher. My introduction to CPA has been loaded with nothing but AdWords horror stories and outrageous bid costs.

    I can definitely understand Google wanting to provide a good user experience, but this “we don’t need you” attitude they shove in advertiser’s faces is completely unacceptable.

    My only concern is that other sponsored search engines will adjust their business models to mimic Google’s.

    Investing in other traffic methods seems to be good preparation for the things to come.

    Thanks for the quality post.

  34. This is incredibly annoying, but an important reminder to all PPC marketers that we need to diversify our efforts. If you put all your eggs in one basket (google or facebook are two prime examples) your livlihood can be gone in a flash.

    Thanks, as always, for the great information!

  35. [I have not read ALL the comments, but]

    Maybe Google just made a mistake? Is it possible they tightened their filters just a touch too much and will ease up in a couple of days?

    As much as I agree that diversifying is good, so are patience and a long term vision. Google is really good and really useful and eventually, they come around and do better, even if they go about it somewhat one-sidedly.

    May I suggest a deep breath?

    And Lindsay Lohan had a couple of good points 😉

  36. Google is an independent company and they may be acting in their shareholder’s interest. Since they have the bulk of the search traffic, they can do what they want. Now if there was a concerted effort by advertisers to move away, of course things would change.

  37. Mr. C

    Gauher,

    As always you go the extra step to provide us with insight and new developments within the industry. Having the latest news gives your members the ability to learn, adjust, save, and in some cases not loss, money!

    Thanks,

    Mr. C

    – Finding other traffic methods is necessary to the development of future business CPA models. Agree or disagree?

  38. Thanks for the great information and post! I can’t agree more to the fact that we have to diversify our traffic sources. Never let one source take over 20% of your business share if you are a newbie, and even lower (may be 10%) – if you are a seasoned player!

  39. I just Banned Google Adwords!

    I desided that i´m not gonna use them any more.
    As gauher said there is alot of other traffic sources out threre.

    They suck at support. In other words they dont have any good support at all.

    I´m not sure about you guys but i am leaving the Google Adwords Train!

    /Google Adwords – Go To HELL!!
    P.S But the search engine can stay 😛

  40. Hey,

    my guess is that they are trying to protect themselves from reputational damage and believe that what the public thinks is more important for their longevity long term (just look at the banks for how the mighty can fall). The are probably right on some of it, but should have implemented a softer policing a year or two ago.

    … yet everyone seems to be is reactionary to new forces, and it seems the spot of the big G (made up of people like us) is no exception. People like this might get a little egotistical if they made a few billion each year right?

    They must be right as their share price is nearly $600 again.

    -Steven

  41. Tim

    I’m a newbie to IM & AM and started out on Kern’s Screw Google program so I work more with Yahoo. I do a small amount of Adwords advetising for my bricks and mortar businesses. So, I’m not heavily involved with the big G.

    Here are my naive observations.

    First, Google is a publicly traded company and has by law must act in the best intest of their shareholders (read money, money, money).This is true of any corporation.

    Second, affiliate marketers make up a small percentage of their revenues. In 2006, advertising made up 99% of googles revenues. However,PPC AM make up a smaller percentage of this (does anyone know how much?).Apparently, Google is willing to risk alienating a portion of its advertising clents in order to dictate how marketing will be done on their network.In other words, we’re small potatoes to them.

    Third, many affiliate marketers are basically a pain in their royal rear because they believe that AM ads/products do not improve the company’s user experience,and in fact make the user’s experience worse.If we were to simply go away go away, so much hte better.

    Fourth, factored into the equation is that for Google to stay on top, they are saddled with the responsibility of delivering the most relevant results (organic and paid) to it’s users. If they can’t do this, they will eventually lose some of their user base to more able search engines. They have Yahoo and MSN breathing down their metaphorical neck. Google is still trying to figure out how to filter out much of the AM noise (no pun intended).Because the goal of an AM is to get their site ranked on the first page of Google and their keywords at a decent cost, they have become very good at it. Search for any commercially viable term and the AM ads and site are usually on top. This I believe is much to the Goog’s chagrine. So we have an interesting cat and mouse game in play.

    Now, consider nature and the evolution of two dependent populations (read Google and the affiliate marketer). One of three things happen: 1) they evolve until they are no longer dependent upon none another – for instance if deer learn how to escape wolves consistently, the wolves will find other things to eat (or AM’s will find other avenues for productivity). 2) They evolve into a symbiotic relationship – here the wolve eats the sick and weak deer thus improving the robustness of the deer population (or AM’s give Google the advertising resources it need while making it evolve to accomodate AM practices). 3) One species becomes a parasite, feeding off or killing the host whenever the chance occurs (this is probably how Google views AM’s).

    So my advice is to evolve.But,how?

    1. “Screw Google” and do business elsewhere.
    2. Bow to Google’s wishes, jump through their hoops, but get the job done.You both win.
    3. Be a parasite. There are always loophole and opportunities. Google’s not that perfect.

    Do not go gentle into that good night. -Dylan Thomas

    http://www.mthink.com/blog/chris-trayhorn/lifetime-ban-google-adwords

  42. jeremy

    I`ve decided to ban the google cookie that follows most people everywhere we go.

    I used to think that this would not allow me to use google search engine but, it turns out that`s not the case.

    So hey, spread the word and ban this cookie from your browser… And if you have a strong need to use gmail, simply re-allow it for the session and then dis-allow it after.

    In re: to the comment providing this link
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZxnv_vA1v4

    I think that “it is a given” that anyone who has the power to compile so much data on an individual, will in fact use this data for whatever sinister purposes they can.

    ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS, ABSOLUTELY.

  43. Tim

    Gauher, I’ve been watching the Google slap turn into SLAMS for numerous marketers since about February/March 2009. Their policies appear to becoming as inconsistent and capricious as the behavior of an old testament or Greek god. Fortunately, I paused everything on Google long ago, but I won’t run any PPC ads with them until they come up with a consistent definition for “good user experience”. I agree with you that PPV and good organic marketing is probably the way to go. However, I also think this maybe a move to cut out the CPA networks and start eliminating the marketing affiliates; hence, Google secures the last portion of the pie via AdSense. I am almost afraid to comment anymore here because I don’t know how far reaching they will or have yet to extend their media powers.

  44. Big Mike

    Unfortunately the “Big G” is in a position to do what it wants because it controls such a big portion of the marketplace. The good news is they don’t control the entire marketplace. I saw the writing on the wall when Google launched it’s first slap way back in ’05, their ability to dramatically alter campaigns is staggering. I have shaved my my ad spend down to the point where I’m virtually running nothing with Google. This is about them becoming “THE” ultimate affiliate, their concern are the corporate advertisers that spend millions, and not the small fish(affiliates), that account for a miniscule percentage of their ad revenue. Paid search has now totally been changed, and we all have to play in another sandbox, I started a long time ago. Google’s arrogance is nauseating.

  45. Yup. What a bad way of doing business. Anyway, I’m an seo guy, and I have 0% of my traffic with Google… I used them in 2006 and stopped before I got slapped… I slapped them. LOL.

    I just started media buying. In fact, Google is only a small player in Internet traffic.

    Franck
    the Body Guard marketer.

  46. @Marten Davis,
    I checked your site and it has a secondary link out to “Make Money With Google” which is considered a “bad neighborhood” site by Google, even if it is not one. The site is the Survey site. When you try to close the browser window it tries to redirect you to the “Make Money With Google” site.

    I have not used my AdWords account for over 9 months so I did not receive an email. But one of my blog sites lost 497 hits a week in organic traffic from Google. I checked the site and found 3 links, in comments, out to Fake Blog sites, the fake newspaper kind, and from them to Google Home Income, which is a Pacific WebWorks site that Google is suing now. So, I was hit by having bad links in comments.
    I have since disabled the links and within 24 hours I was getting a few hits from Google again.
    This all happened on about the 2nd of December, as far as I can tell.
    Be careful who you link to. The site may be okay, but they may have links out to sites that have what Google considers “bad neighborhood’ sites.
    Has anyone tried Wow’d? The newest search engine.

  47. blake

    from now on I am using bing…

    and im switching my email over to gmx.com

  48. blake

    One thing everyone should think about to really teach google a lesson:

    get everyone you know to use bing instead of google!

    promote bing as much as possible

  49. Really hard to understand what they are doing, but probably they just don’t want affiliate marketers anymore.

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