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Google Bans 800,000 Adwords Accounts


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#1 EGOL

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 04:29 PM

This isn't really "news" but I just watched a Youtube video about the adwords team's quality control. It reported that they banned 800,000 advertisers in calendar year 2011.

I thought that was an amazing number. They are using human reviews in some of these.



#2 Dr.Marie

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 07:27 PM

Very interesting!

I was reading a discussion recently where many webmasters told stories of being sut down by Adsense. Each of these webmasters swore that they had done nothing knowingly wrong. This frightens me.

My Adsense earnings reached an important milestone for me today and I'm starting to see that they could eventually be a very important source of income for me. I'm terrified though at the thought that I could be shut down. I'm not doing anything illegal or immoral, but what if someone started click bombing my site? Or what if someone left a comment on my site that said, "Please click the ads". I've heard rumors that you can have your Adsense shut down for such infractions.

Now, my gut tells me that likely these people who are claiming innocence really did have some negligence on their part. Perhaps they were occasionally clicking on their own ads, or perhaps they were enticing others to click. We'll never know.

#3 EGOL

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 09:11 PM

When you are dealing with automated monitoring there will always be instances of Type I and Type II errors where guilty escape and innocent are killed. Adsense does have some human interaction before banning some accounts. This probably saves a lot of innocent people. However, the problem that you can encounter is that the human involved in your case doesn't understand some something technical or is unfamiliar with something being used on the website that is within their policies.

#4 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 01:07 AM

There are other advertising networks out there. If AdSense dumped me for some stupid reason I would just move on and find something else to monetize my sites.

#5 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 09:30 AM

Oh definitely, you can and will be banned if someone decides to clickbomb your site. It won't be your fault, but in Google's mind, it's a problem for their advertisers (and it is), so bam! Out you go. Bye-bye, don't ever return.

Human interaction? Saves a lot of innocents? Sorry, Egol, but I have to disagree. For Premium Adsense users, sure, but for everyone else? No way. Just one day you wake up and you're banned. Boom. No warning. No recourse. Just out the door and the door remains closed and locked forever and ever.

So yes, it's always good to have alternatives to turn to. The alternatives usually either require a lot more work to achieve the same or better success, or require you to accept that putting forth the same amount of effort required to use adsense means accepting a lot less revenue from elsewhere. Reality. Bites. :)

#6 EGOL

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 11:35 AM

Human interaction? Saves a lot of innocents? Sorry, Egol, but I have to disagree.


So, you think that they spend that little effort on review?

I still have an adsense account that works great.... but I have tried a lot of alternatives just to see if they would pay better. They have all been a waste of time. Actually, the return has been negative because I spent more on webmaster labor than the revenue produced and gave up space that could have gone to adsense.

#7 jonbey

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 03:13 PM

I am always (some of the time) the optimist, so tend to think that for most people Google will not close down an Adsense account without good reason. But it does not surprise me to hear that some people do get banned with no chance of appeal.

I always assume that most people who are banned are up to "no good", as in spamming to some extent. Same with Adwords.

Last year I did see some job adverts for Adwords quality people in Dublin (multiple languages) so they do certainly review - but that has nothing to do with Adsense account closures.

I am tempted to test a day without Adsense to see how I will fair. Some days Adsense provides most my income, other days more comes from other sources. I try to balance them well enough to ensure that a fall in conversions / CTR on either group will not hurt earnings too much, but some days are certainly far worse than others!

As for click bombing, I may have a solution. I say *may* because I really have no idea. But I use a firewall on my wordpress site and that sometimes shows clicks that I think could be automated / clickbomb. One day I had about 50 clicks all from same IP (maybe range) that were blocked by the firewall. I like to think I was protected from something bad, rather than simply losing out on money I earned! No idea really. If anyone could confirm is the Wordpress firewall plugin protects against clickbombs that would be lovely.

#8 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 05:06 PM

So, you think that they spend that little effort on review?


No. Review does not equal interaction. Unless I misunderstood what you were saying. I assumed "interaction" meant between Google personnel and site owners. As in a Google rep communicating with a site owner before banning. If you meant something else by "human interaction" then never mind. :)

#9 jonbey

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 01:25 AM

I remember when I was banned for using Adwords. The only interaction I had was with a Google rep telling me my site was in violation and that I had to fix it before hanging up on me. Turned out the site was not in violation and had not been for about 6 months. My biggest concern with Google is that sometimes too much trust is placed on whatever flag is currently against a site. I really got the impression that once a site is marked as in breach of Google policy some Google employees will stop looking at the site at all. I guess with any business, there are good people and less so.

#10 rjohnson

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 10:17 PM

I remember when I was banned for using Adwords. The only interaction I had was with a Google rep telling me my site was in violation and that I had to fix it before hanging up on me. Turned out the site was not in violation and had not been for about 6 months. My biggest concern with Google is that sometimes too much trust is placed on whatever flag is currently against a site. I really got the impression that once a site is marked as in breach of Google policy some Google employees will stop looking at the site at all. I guess with any business, there are good people and less so.


How did you get to speak with a google rep? I had one of my adwords accounts banned this year (i have 3 adwords accounts under 3 different business names).
But when i tried calling adwords, the computer doesn't allow you to continue once they find out that your account # is banned.
So i researched online, and I paid someone certified in Adwords (that i found on the google adwords forum). This person wasn't able to get anything out of google either.
The bad part is that my main competitor is (and has been) advertising under the exact same business model for years now. They don't seem to get in trouble!
Does anyone have experience contacting someone at google adwords?

Thank you

#11 jonbey

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 04:45 AM

Well, I only tried using Adwords because they sent me an email inviting me to try it again and gave a telephone number to call if I had any problems. So naturally I called it when I had a problem. I guess the sort of problems they are wanting to help are questions like "how do I increase my max bid?" and "how do I get the ads to the top?" and not "why is it telling me my site is blocked and why are you threatening to shut down my account?"

#12 rjohnson

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 05:05 PM

Well, I only tried using Adwords because they sent me an email inviting me to try it again and gave a telephone number to call if I had any problems. So naturally I called it when I had a problem. I guess the sort of problems they are wanting to help are questions like "how do I increase my max bid?" and "how do I get the ads to the top?" and not "why is it telling me my site is blocked and why are you threatening to shut down my account?"


That gave me a great idea. I ended up calling that number and was able to speak to someone. They didn't give me a concrete reason for the suspension, but they said someone is looking into it and will reply soon. That works

#13 jonbey

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 05:31 PM

there you go!

In my case I spoke to a very rude person who told me I must be breaking rules, spamming etc. and hung up on me.

Luckily I persisted and got through to a nice person who actually looked at the account and managed to clear whatever black mark was against it. The was a problem about 6 months earlier that was fixed but for some reason never removed from my account.

#14 rjohnson

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 05:36 PM

Thanks again! Glad it worked out for you. The lady that I spoke with was very helpful.

#15 jonbey

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 06:24 PM

Excellent

#16 glyn

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 02:58 AM

there you go!

In my case I spoke to a very rude person who told me I must be breaking rules, spamming etc. and hung up on me.

Luckily I persisted and got through to a nice person who actually looked at the account and managed to clear whatever black mark was against it. The was a problem about 6 months earlier that was fixed but for some reason never removed from my account.


Took a call from an Italian adwords operator the other day asking whether I was using adwords, when I said no, she started giving me the marketing spiel. I asked her if she had seen the website she was calling about because if she had done some dilligence she would have found the site sitting on top for most of the keywords.

#17 jonbey

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 03:19 AM

And this is one of the reasons why Google is still the most popular for search and advertising - they do actually work pretty hard at that. They call a lot of small businesses (they called my brother after I made him the van site). They also run workshops to encourage small businesses to get online. I don't see this happening at all from any of their competitors.

#18 earlpearl

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 09:10 PM

First of all I think that is "feel good" media crap. The investigation into Google running illegal pharmaceutical ads for US citizens w/ regard to illegal pharmaceuticals from foreign nations resulted in a penalty for all of $500 million: http://blogs.reuters...-over-drug-ads/

That was hefty big fine and I recall reading about it last year wherein the impression was that google knew exactly what was going on...but they kept it up b/c the adwords revenues were so great.

Maybe they did ban 800,000 advertisers. OTOH they are out there to make $$$$ off of adwords plain and simple and damn the rest.

I can't speak on the adsense side. On the adwords side I had ads taken down, got back to google on it. They never explained anything but the ads went back up pretty quickly. In that case the timing of the adwords going down coincided with a competitive business going after our business and making claims (that were false). My guess is that smb contacted Google and they took our ads down. When we addressed google we addressed that issue,(whether it was the reason the ads went down or not). The ads went back up. they never explained anything. They are a big black hole of communications.

Google has a terrific PR team. They do a great job of continuing to promote the "DO NO EVIL" theme. At the same time they are a large public business and they work like the dickens to increase revenues and profits. They are in fierce competitive worlds with a number of other businesses and none of them are saints. Business is business and last I checked there weren't any Saints who had been professional business people.

Consider the following:

On the local side/ the Google Places/Maps side Google's "customer service" consists of a forum with commentators. Since either late 2010 or in 2011 they finally have a SINGLE dedicated voice to respond to problems. The single voice is supported by an unknown number of staff and engineers that work to fix the many issues that have plagued G Places since it came out in 2006. The single "voice" is supported by unpaid volunteers (TC's (top contributors)).

That is the customer service.

In late 2011 Mike Blumenthal wrote a piece about the improvement in "customer service" in 2011. It was a result of systemitizing responses to consistent problems and generating "timely responses". It was an improvement. Bless them. And I had one experience wherein a business had a Google Places/Maps fiasco. It underwent a systemic "fix" and the major problems were cured within 2 weeks with the minor problems being resolved in about 4 weeks. That systemic fix was clearly better than similar issues from the past. I actually reviewed the process (albeit longwindedly) here: http://www.ngsmarket...k-end-problems/


But at the end of 2012, Blumenthal reviewed the status of "customer service" with Google Places and called it a "trainwreck" http://blumenthals.c...t-the-junction/

And it is. Who knows why. But it is simply not functioning well these days. Possibly overloaded with issues and simultaneously understaffed.

Now the problem with the poor service on the Places side is that Google Makes UBER beaucoup money from Local!!!! Hard to say how much. But consider the following:

A) There's a great infographic I'm sure some of you saw showing how google makes over $100 million/day from adwords:

Ooops :D It looks like google's sharp eyeballs removed the infographic: http://searchenginew...ily-Infographic

If you did see the infographic it identified major industries that contribute to that $100 million/day and major companies that comprise those industries. If you checked those ads its clear that many of them do advertise into the local arena.

So the disconnect is that there are billions of $ on the local advertising side and a single solitary "voice" on the customer service side of the G Places world. These are the same businesses that have problems on the Google Places side...but some of them are spending away on the adwords side.

Google has a "firewall" between the two. But the revenue side connected to local businesses and their ads has to climb into the billions of $$$.

Moreover on the smb side; Google is working with speed and power to support Adwords Partners: The list of Adwords Partners is long and growing: https://adwords.goog...lang=en;ssti=50

I scanned the first couple of them and their reported revenues per year were in excess of $400, $125, and $88 million. Google has a lot of companies on the street with significant sales forces that are marketing and reselling into smbs and aggressively reselling adwords.

The same businesses that can't get customer service on the local side are being aggressively pursued with active sales teams, blessed by google to generate Adwords. And the reseller income is considerable.

I can't speak about all the resellers, but I have experience with two. Their services were miserable for the two businesses. One of them has never again run an adwords campaign. The resellers seemed to be reselling the adwords at about 2-3 times the cost of the ads.

Put it all together and google is generating a tremendous amount of adwords revenues from the local business community and simultaneously providing them with a "train wreck" of customer service sort of staffed by 1 visible commentator and a group of unpaid outside volunteers.

OTOH, my experience with adwords customer service is frankly pretty good, excepting that one experience when one of our businesses was mysteriously banned and the communications fell into the "black hole" variety.


Soooooooooooooo......

I think that little video is just a nice little piece showing off positive PR...while underneath there are many other stories with different flavors.

I basically think Google is a damn good SE. IMHO its the evolution of the best we have. Bing seems pretty close but I think Google is a bit better in terms of quality of output. And of course Google monopolizes search...so the issue is moot. Its the big game in town.

I know its a big business. I don't fault them on that basis. IMHO it has many dark sides...and I think videos like the one above are efforts to keep up the rosy appearance for as long as they can.

And maybe they did ban 800,000 crappy advertisers. Well good for them on that basis.

My $0.02 :D

Gotta add a few points. At the end of today I spoke briefly and quickly with Mike Blumenthal, the Google Places Guru. We covered a lot of topics but one was about a piece he just wrote, that acknowledged something else that got a lot of current publicity: Apple added the Google Maps App back into its IOS6.

We discussed it a bit in perspective. He and I have been following Google Places and Maps since about 2006. He is an authority. I'm an amateur. We have been in contact since about late 2006. Anyways Google Maps stunk for a number of years. I couldn't recall the time when they finally turned the corner with far more accuracy and far less problems but he estimated it to be around 2010. So it took them at least 4 years to really get it good.

Its a big task. So much data and from so many places. For those that go back and either used early versions of gps or google maps some years back it was very problematic. Bad data, bad directions, maps would direct you to go down the wrong way on a one way street, etc. etc.

Now its darn good. Meanwhile Apple rushed its version of Maps into the new IOS6 and it stinks. It will take Apple considerable time and resources to correct its problems. So after unveiling its crummy version and having banned G Maps, it just relented and brought G Maps back onto Apple 6 as an app. G Maps is reliable today.

Anyways when Google wants to...it solves problems and does a good job. Even huge ones. Maps is a highly visible product and used all the time. Meanwhile the problems with something that is under the radar screen like G Places customer service is at current "train wreck" status.

Ah well. Such is business. Meanwhile Google pumps out a lot of hunky dory...aren't we great PR. :D

Edited by earlpearl, 14 December 2012 - 09:47 PM.


#19 earlpearl

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 05:08 PM

edit to the above: I referenced above that Mike Blumenthal wrote about "customer service" He said "I reviewed the status of their business listing management technology. Those are two distinct things"

I see them as one and the same.



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