Now, I love the power of Google AdWords just as much as any serious digital marketer but AdWords has a MAJOR flaw, and its something they could easily remedy.
Now before I start my rant, let me start by saying in all my years of using AdWords, I have had almost no issues at all, but when problems did come up…man were they doozies! I’ve had more than one bump on my forhead from banging it on the wall..you’ll soon understand why.
At the end of the post, I’ll give you some advice for how you can possibly avoid going through the same nightmare that I went through. The language gets a bit rough (because I still get emotional about it) so this might not be the best bedtime story for your kids and if you’re offended easily, just close your eyes when you get to the profanity.
It all started March 28, 2016, around 10 pm; I was sitting happily at my computer catching up on the news, a glass of The Glenlivette (12) in one hand and mouse in the other, when I decided to check my email (I’m a habitual email checker). I first saw a message from Google AdWords saying my last payment had gone through, then above that email, I saw another email from them and the title of it made my heart start to beat a bit faster…
“Urgent Warning – Your AdWords Account May Get Suspended”
I know AdWords policies by heart and I knew for a fact I hadn’t violated any, so my first thought was “Its a phishing or a scam email that is just trying to get my info”. I almost deleted it without opening it, but then decided to check it out anyway. I saw it was infact from Google and the first paragraph made my heart skip a beat…
” Your AdWords accounts are at serious risk of suspension if your ads or sites continue violating our advertising policies. Once your account is suspended, your ads will no longer run, your related AdWords accounts will be suspended, and you will not be able to open any new accounts.”
The reason this email terrified me is because not only do I use AdWords for my businesses, I have lots of other adWords accounts that I use for different clients. If all my AdWords accounts were suspended and I was unable to open new accounts….I would be in serious caca (pardon my French)
You ready for the reason why my accounts were at risk of being suspended? Here it is directly from the email:
Date of violation: 2016-02-29
Policy violation: Low value content
Details & instructions: https://support.google.com/adw
LOW VALUE CONTENT!?!?!?!?
My glass of The Glen Livette somehow exploded against the far wall and then I passed out from rage.
When I came to, I thought, There is no way Google would say my blog violates the low value content rule, and anyway I’m not even running ads to im-rebels.com, so its impossible its violating AdWords policies…it must have been a bad dream….my wife must have ruffied me again which is why I’m laying on the floor.
I got off the floor and saw my email was still open, and to my horror…it was REAL! And I passed out again.
If you’re not familiar with AdWords Low Value Content Policy it basically says you can’t run ads to sites where the content is all copied from other sites, you can’t run ads to sites with no original content, or sites that are mostly all ads (like this example google gives), or landing pages designed solely to lead people elsewhere.
You can click on the policy link above and see for yourself that my blog doesn’t even come close to violating ANY of the rules.
Every single blog post is original and gives value …just check out this blog post where I GIVE away my video training (that I was selling for $19) or check out this epic blog post I gave away my step by step strategy for higher conversions with paid traffic. I would go on all day about all the valuable content I create specifically for my blog.
After I read the whole email from AdWords, and I saw at the bottom, “If you believe there has been an error, we want to help. Find out how to contact us by visiting: https://support.google.com/adw
So, I contacted support and I politely told them that there must have been some kind of error because #1 I haven’t run any ads to im-rebels.com in a long time so why was it affecting ALL of my adwords accounts? and #2 Even if I had have been running ads, there is no way IM Rebels blog violates any of Adwords Low Value Content Policy.
You’ll never believe the email reply I got from them. It really dumbfounded me. I’ll just copy and paste it for you and you’ll see why.
When I saw t what they wrote, I thought I was being pranked. The English is semi-understandable (when my business is on the line, I NEED clear and understandable English) but then when I saw the screenshot they sent, I was sure I was being pranked.
You can see in the screenshot they sent that their proof of duplicate and copied blog content is that the blog posts have different authors. Seriously… what nincompoop would think that because the blog posts are not all written by the same author that it means the content is copied from another site? Google defiantly wouldn’t hire someone for Adwords support who doesn’t know what a sentence is and who didn’t know what a blog post author is…it HAS to be a prank? I thought.
So, AdWords support’s first bit of evidence that the site is of low value content is I have 3 different bloauthors and their second claim was that the blog was a Bridge Page.
By Adwords own definition, bridge pages are: Landing pages that are solely designed to send users elsewhere
A blog with all original articles and topics is NOT a bridge page in any way shape or form. Anyone can see that the purpose of our blog is to get people to read the blog posts. Anyone with the ability to read English can see that the IM Rebels blog isn’t a landing page that is designed solely to send users elsewhere. Sure we have some ads for some of our products on our blog…but having ads for your own products on your blog doesn’t make the site a bridge page. Almost every blog out there has some sort of ad for some sort of product on the page, so it would mean that every site with an ad for a product would be in violation of the policy (which is nonsense). AND AGAIN, I WASN’T EVEN RUNNING ADS TO THE BLOG!
As you can imagine, I was pretty shocked by Adwords reply, and confused that they would put such a bizarre screenshot in the email.
Have you figured out what the major problem with Adwords? Their Support!!!
I replied to Adwords and sent them Google’s Adword’s policy and pointed out that having different blog authors doesn’t mean its duplicated content (I’m still baffled at how they came up with that one). I also asked how my blog could be considered a bridge page since the purpose of the blog IS NOT to direct someone to another page. I also brought up again that I don’t even run ads to the site, so its impossible for it to affect my adwords accounts.
They replied with an exact copy and paste of the first email they sent. None of my questions were answered at all. By this point all my ads had been shut off by Adwords for a week and my business was suffering.
I replied with an email that showed my frustration that nothing had been answered.
I got another email with the same copy and paste reply, but with an added note that said ,
“The reason why we categorized this as bridge page as both is a different domain, unless if your would like to do the redirect it’s supposed to be within the same domain page, and that is the one of the reason the site being disable ”
HUH? The English was so bad I had no idea what they even meant by that. “both is a different domain” ? That does that even mean?
I wrote yet again asking for some clarification and they replied and said that since I had an ad in my sidebar about my Udemy course sales page it made my page a bridge page.
After 3 more back and forth emails with them, they finally told me that I can’t have any links in my sidebar that direct to my other website. Having links that direct to other people’s website and ads are fine, but not my own website
I had NEVER heard of this before and it didn’t fit or match ANY of the AdWord policies. The links they were sending me from AdWords had nothing to do with anything of what the were saying about “can’t have links to your other website”.
I knew it wasn’t a violation of adwords policy to have a link in my sidebar to my other website, but I realized I wasn’t going to get anything but the same copy and paste reply (that they had already sent about 4 times), so I removed the link in my sidebar that went to my Udemy course page and I submitted the website for review.
You’ll never believe what happened next. IT WAS REJECTED AGAIN! Adwords said the IM Rebels blog was still considered a bridge page BECAUSE WE HAD LINKS IN OUR BLOG POSTS THAT WENT TO OUR UDEMY SALES PAGE!
So now Adwords was trying to tell me that I can have as many links and ads to other people’s websites and products, but I can’t put any links or ads anywhere on my blog for my own products. Is that not one of the most ridiculous things you have ever heard?
I asked them to show me where in their policy it says this and sent me the same link they sent me in all the other copy and paste emails with the link to the Low Value Content policy page (which never says anywhere that you can’t have any links to another website)
I had already tried many times to get a new customer support person, but it wasn’t possible, so I went to Google Adword’s FB page and I sent them a long message there and included a video explaining the issues and requesting a different adwords support person (one that could communicate in English that I would be able to understand and not just copy and paste the same, unhelpful and unrelated AdWords help article).
The person who assisted me from their FB page had much better English than the previous support staff, but they still never answered my questions or gave me any link to any policy that said I can’t have links on my blog that go to my other website. (THEY COULDN’T GIVE ME ANY LINKS BECAUSE THERE IS NO POLICY THAT SAYS THAT!!!) Also no one could answer my question about “Why a website that doesn’t have any adwords ads running to it is even effecting my adwords accounts in the first place? Adwords policy clearly states the rules only apply to sites that you are running ads to, and no ads had run for im-rebels.com in a LONG time!
When I realized that no one at Adwords was going to answer my questions or give any kind of logical answer, I finally bit the bullet and went through our massive number of blog posts and pages and removed every single link to our other websites (which is http://imrebels.co if you’re wondering) OHH NOOO!!! I JUST PUT A LINK TO OUR OTHER SITE IN A BLOG POST!!! Please Don’t Suspend My Account again Adwords!!!! (actually I’m a bit scared they will, so I’m going to make it an unclickable url so it doesn’t count)
It took many hours going through all the blog posts (we’ve got A LOT on here), checking to see if any of them had any links to imrebels.co and when I finished I resubmitted the site AGAIN.
Finally on May 23, 2016, Adwords sent a notification saying my ad accounts had been turned on again. Remember, they shut off all my add accounts on Feb 28….ALMOST 3 MONTHS MY AD ACCOUNTS AND WEBSITES WERE SUSPENDED!!! 3 LONG MONTHS of frustrating cut and paste emails from AdWords support! You can’t image how much it hurt my business and how much time I wasted trying to get some sort of intelligent answer or evidence that I was in violation of any policies.
They never answered any of my questions about why a website with no adwords ads is even affecting my adwords account in the first place (because according to their policy only sites with AdWords ads running to them have to comply with the adwords policies, AND lets suppose I were running ads to im-rebels.com….why would I not be allowed to have any links to our other website (even in blog posts)?
I can’t count how many times I asked (I even made videos showing the online Adwords Policies and how my site didn’t violate any of the rules) and every single time my questions were ignored.
Thankfully is all over now and all my ads on all my accounts are running again.
It was honestly the WORST customer support I had ever received in my life (and I lived in China for 3 years) and the biggest setback in IM Rebels history. I never got any answers, I never got an apology for their mistake or for wasting so much of my time and causing our business to suffer, and no compensation (the least they could have done is give me $100 ad credit as a “sorry we screwed you” gift).
I’m not jut going to rant though, I’m going to give you some advice that should help should you run into problems with illogical (or non-English speaking) AdWords support staff. As SOON as any kind of issue comes up with AdWords, contact them FIRST by sending them a message on their Facebook page. After I contact them on the Facebook page, I noticed an improvement in response time, and I was able to get messages from Adwords where the English wasn’t horrible and I could understand what they were saying (even though they didn’t answer my questions, at least I understood them clearly. There were still some long delays getting replies from their social media support staff but the process started moving along at a better pace once I got them involved. Props to the Adwords FB page support team for expediting things for me.
If you run into serious AdWords issues, go to the Adwords Facebook page and write them a message there. Be sure to include your customer ID and the names of any ads or campaigns that you are having problems with.
This wasn’t the only horribly frustrating situation I had with AdWords support; I’ve got another case which is equally ridiculous, but I’ll save that rant for another time.
(Video Rant is on its way…the wounds are still too fresh to talk about these things on camera…I start getting too riled up)
I feel much better now that I got all that off my chest. Even if no one ever reads it, it was therapeutic writing it. Hopefully, now I’ll stop waking up in the middle of the night screaming “NOO AdWords…Pleeeasee NOOOOooooo!!!”
I hope my language didn’t offend anyone; if it did, you can blame Adwords Support team for causing me such stress and anxiety.
Oh, Facebook Ads Support, in the very slight chance that any of you are reading don’t think you’re off the hook….you’re the topic of my next rant!