{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

John Gall July 10, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Just got my adwords account suspended myself. They didn’t like the landing page quality and sent me a warning. I removed the campaigns they had stopped showing ads for. But then when I started a new campaign they toasted the account. Funny they still tried to point me to their guidelines while in the same email stating not to contact support as they cannot help me. Whatever I use adcenter now.

Dean July 10, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Yes, same thing happened to me. I was not promoting any google money tree products but was somehow associated with someone who was and they tied us together as one person. Anyway, no appeal and google will not listen to a word I have to say. This is an interesting business model. It’s called “F*ck the Customer…we made 28 billion dollars last year!”

Anyway, I have sent a long letter to google

Steven July 10, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Sucks about the Adwords acct. But I’m pretty sure you’re out of luck. They will not let you talk to a supervisor; they will either stop replying or just keep sending you template responses. For G, who deals with thousands (millions?) of advertisers, you’re insignificant. So you got caught wrongly in the net? Too bad, but they won’t stray from their book rules for a little “collateral damage”.

On the upside, looks like you’re not depending on Adwords traffic anyway and don’t seem to use Adsense either. So chalk it off to bad luck and move on.

Wanted to point out though that the dating site Plenty Of Fish at http://www.pof.com now serves ads for exactly the same Google money-making scams. See here:
http://s6r6.com/Google-bizopp-on-POF.jpg
PlentyOfFish owner Markus Frind prides himself for making $10 million a year from advertising on his site (just search) and actively recruits affiliate marketers. See this ad in a popular affiliate marketing forum:
http://s6r6.com/POF-ad-on-aff-forum.gif
The ad links to http://www.plentyoffish.com/advertising.aspx where marketers can manually submit their ads. That also means someone from POF looks at them before they go live. But apparently POF is just too happy to take on the scammers after they got banned from Google. FTC investigation ( http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/07/shortchange.shtm ) be damned, since POF is located in Canada. Go figure …

Steven July 10, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Dean, you say you were “somehow associated with someone who was promoting any google money tree products”. Whatever that “association” is, sorry dude, but I say you had it coming.

I’m surprised Google allowed their name and trademark being raped and abused as long as they did. They had to come down with the ban hammer at some point, it was just a question of time. Doesn’t matter if you spent thousands or even millions advertising that crap. In the grand scheme of things ($28 billion as you said), that’s still small change and if keeping that “customer” (or his “associates”) means having their 28-billion-dollar reputation shat on, yeah, guess what, I would’ve banned you too.

El Plumber (admin) July 10, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Yeah Steven, while I do feel bad for myself for getting caught up in all this with guilt by association, I can certainly see their point. Google’s focus is on customer experience. A blanket ban of hundreds of advertisers likely worth less in business than 0.01% their annual profit will clear out a large portion of these scammers, but not all as I still see Google ads for these same scams. I created an ad with the keyword Los Angeles Tribune News on a brand new Adwords account, which I’m sure met their criteria for likely Google Money scammer.

The guilt by association goes deep though, as many of these advertisers are black hats where they show one set of content to the Google Robots and anyone from a Google registered IP range where everything looks on the up and up, then shows consumers something totally different. Far easier for them just to make a list of keywords and ban anyone using them, like me.

However, I wish they would institute an appeal process here for legitimate advertisers to get their cases heard. I mean, I’d be happy to pay say $50 to “buy” an appeal from Google and have someone review my site and ads manually. Don’t think it’s going to happen though.

Antony July 10, 2009 at 8:51 pm

El Admin,

Unless you have a personal rep at Google and even then you’re likely to just hear the “party line”, emailing support has been useless in recent years.

Do you really think a human looked at your site and made that decision? Get real ;) AdsBot came around, flagged a few words that triggered their “decision”. I get the impression there are only about 14 humans working at the plex and its satellites , save for the “do no evil” developers.
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If you want to have even a longshot at getting back into their good graces, I would go back and find a post I read here by Netmeg and follow that advice.

Now since you don’t feature much in the way of advertising here, it does beg the question of why you would advertise on Adwords. I know your intent is pure and I admit to not reading the entire saga, but on the face of it, it could appear as though you were engaged in MFA or arbitrage. Not that AdsBot has the sense to make that determination, but we all know it doesn’t take much to trigger problems with Google. Especially when you take an honest approach, don’t cloak or use any of the other tricks that so easily outwit AdsBot.

It’s been reasonably “proven” that using Adwords neither hurts nore helps your exposure in the SERPs, so why tangle with Adwords on a topic they go through the motions of “taking a stand on”?

If someone like Netmeg is aware of your site, you are already getting exposure, trust me! You rank on page 1 naturally on searches like “google money tree scam”

I see now ads showing on Adwords with headlines like “GO Ogle Money Tree”. It appears a little creative writing is enough to fool the AdsBot.

Other paid ads that are triggered by “Google Money Tree” may claim it’s a scam, then go on to shill yet another similar scam instead.
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As far as the Adsense ads you’ve lost, I’ve faced the same moral issues as you with even featuring adsense. I have sites that rail against “bad things” and if I put Adsense up, it simply gives a new venue for bad people to advertise on. And the average reader of a site doesn’t make the distinction between contextual ads and content that you personally write. So when they click on those ads, they think you are somehow behind them.

You try to do the right thing and the Adsense sends the very predators you rail against to your site.

While Adsense still “likes me”, how much money does it bring in? I don’t work hard at building Adsense income but I’ve come to realize that it’s wasted page real estate for my purposes. I’m also sending people away from my site when they click an Adsense ad and someone else makes the real $$$.

What I’ve done is build little “units” and ad blocks that look like contextual ads but really are my own hand picked and hand built ads for good converters. I’ll tell you some good ones to try. Oh, sorry, trade secrets ;)

Yeah, Adsense lets you have some control over the ads that you allow in, but it’s limited. The low quality ones just change domains all the time when you try to block them.

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Do pursue this injustice, but not through Google support. You no doubt have other online income streams that you may want to promote using some Google product someday.

Good luck,

Antony

El Plumber (admin) July 10, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Wow, thanks for the great comments Antony! I appreciate the analysis and suggestions. I honestly haven’t spent much time monetizing this site yet (as you can see), mostly started it since my sister fell for one of those hidden charge Google Money sites late last year. Obviously have put minimal effort on design or ads. The Electron Plumber ranks really well for a whole lot of completely crappy scam related keywords, but while all traffic isn’t created equal, it’s better than no one reading your stuff I guess. ;)

Why advertise this site on Adwords at all? Mostly boredom and an unused set of free Adwords credits from some domain names I bought. Certainly wished I hadn’t done it now.

I do fear that someday I’ll want to promote something on Adwords and won’t be able to. That’s my main concern here. And while there are certainly ways around anything, I’d far prefer to stay on the up an up. I haven’t checked yet is if my personal name and address that’s banned, this site that’s banned, or both. I’m guessing both, but if the site is safe, I can always hire an Adwords Pro to put up ads for this site for a premium I guess.

Great suggestion on the homemade contextual ad blocks. I’m going to try that…

Rob December 5, 2009 at 2:24 am

I just got banned also. My sites have nothing to do with scams. They are about time management and also a job search site. I don’t understand how or why they would ban the site. Makes no sense at all.

El Plumber (admin) December 5, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Rob, there is always a reason, even if it’s a mistake. Did they give you a reason at all? Your blog linked from that same site has a title about “automated income strategies”. Did you have links to some get rich quick schemes on there at some point?

Some other possibilities:
- Did you let someone else manage your Adwords account at any point?
- Was the site you linked here the only site you advertised?
- Did you “clean it up” and remove stuff that might have offended google after the fact? Not a good idea since they have cache records of how your site looked in the past.
- Did you ever do any funny redirects off your ads that went somewhere else?

If you truly think it’s a mistake, fight it. If you know you did something wrong and are trying to hide it now, don’t waste your time, you have no chance. Move on to Yahoo, Bing, Adbrite and all the others. Contrary to popular opinion, Google is NOT the only game in town, just the biggest.

Your other option is to pay $150 to start an LLC in Colorado (cheapest site and state I found to incorporate a business entity), get a bank account for that business, an address at your local UPS store (might cost $50 a year depending on your location), an EIN from the government (free) get a new Adwords account under the business name.

Note, this obviously should not be construed as legal advice, but our layman interpretation of the Adwords terms of service seems to be that individual entities can have one Adwords account. You had your personal one banned, but by starting a LLC business, you are in effect creating a new entity, new name, new billing info, etc. They may still keep your website in their database and give it an automatic 1 out of 10 quality score. You may need to move your site to a new domain name.

They also may ban your new business account if you do not fix the underlying problem of why you were banned in the first place.

siteman11 August 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm

We have since requested permission from the Adwords support team to post our full correspondence here. Note that so far they have been extremely civil in saying that there is nothing we can do to appeal the suspension. We had placed some ads for our article on the Easy Google Profit scam using a couple of keywords that had no warning posts appear in the Google search at the time. I removed the campaigns they had stopped showing ads for. But then when I started a new campaign they toasted the account. Funny they still tried to point me to their guidelines while in the same email stating not to contact support as they cannot help me. I was not promoting any google money tree products but was somehow associated with someone who was and they tied us together as one person. This is an interesting business model. So chalk it off to bad luck and move on where marketers can manually submit their ads. That also means someone from POF looks at them before they go live. But apparently POF is just too happy to take on the scammers after they got banned from Google. It appears a little creative writing is enough to fool the AdsBot. The low quality ones just change domains all the time when you try to block them. You no doubt have other online income streams that you may want to promote using some Google product someday. Obviously have put minimal effort on design or ads. My sites have nothing to do with scams. They are about time management and also a job search site. You may need to move your site to a new domain name.This is a great post.

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