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Understand Google's advertising policies, including ad approval status and account suspension
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Annoying Policy Violation - Policy Team Please Help

[ Edited ]
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# 1
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Hi All,

 

I wondered if @MosheTLV would mind giving an opinion on this as I'd really appreciate impartial feedback from someone I respect - and then if needed, possibly we could pass this on to the policy team for a formal answer?

 

The issue:

 

I believe that a website is violating adwords UK payday loan consumer advisory policy. This policy stops websites that promote 1 - 60 day loan duration from using certain key-phrases when advertising. You can read about this policy here:

 

https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/1314225?hl=en

https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/2464998?hl=en-GB

 

One of the key-phrases advertisers promoting a 1 - 60 day loan term cannot use is the phrase "short term loans". This has been confirmed many many times by Google.

 

The violating website:

 

The website http://goo.gl/LNn0W8 is currently violating the policy (in my opinion) by advertising using the phrase short term loans. They have already been stopped a few times due to this policy but now they have changed their website slightly to get around the policy.

 

Their website claims to offer 6 month loans only now which allows them to advertise using any phrase they want but when you look at their website they are still actively advertising a 1 month loan term. They even give the customer exact details of how much they have to repay if they repay after one 1 month with just 1 monthly repayment.

 

Please look at this screen-grab taken from their mobile site to see this promotion for yourself:

 

IMG_2500.PNG

 

To me it is clear that they are advertising a 1 month loan option here. Even though they claim the term is 6 months they are still advertising the option to repay the loan in 1 month.

 

I believe it is a violation as one of our 1 year loan sites had its adverts set to approved limit status as we had mentioned in small print on our site that the customer could choose repay early - after 1 month if they wished.

 

If our adverts were set as approved limited for simply mentioning a 1 month loan term then this site is definitely violating policy as their landing page is actually designed around promoting a 1 month loan repayment - it even gives exact repayment examples.

 

I'd really welcome an impartial point of view on this - to me its obvious that their is an issue - I wondered if anyone else see's it the same way?

 

Many thanks @MosheTLV and anyone else for any help on this, all the best

 

Lily-B

 

Ps - here is the advert link:

 

http://www.google.co.uk/aclk?sa=l&ai=C8JFPF94PVfDaNcLh7gbt64KADvWTzZQHrd3PweUBo9_RDAgAEAEoA2C79pqD0A...

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Annoying Policy Violation - Policy Team Please Help

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# 2
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@Lily; 

You are saying that :"One of the key-phrases advertisers promoting a 1 - 60 day loan term cannot use is the phrase "short term loans". This has been confirmed many many times by Google.

Can you link the reference?

 

Now, saying that a loan can be paid in full earlier than it is  due - I don't see this as a violation. Any loan can be paid in full  earlier than due. Any lender would happily get the money back earlier.

 

You are saying your site was suspended because of mentioning the option for an early  repay, after 30days. My initial "gut feeling", is that there were other reasons for the suspension. 

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: Annoying Policy Violation - Policy Team Please Help

[ Edited ]
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# 3
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Hi @MosheTLV,

Thank you for taking a look - I really value your opinion. Its easy to only see one side when you are close to the issue so your feedback is really helpful.

Re: the phrase short term loans.

There is no online link to reference unfortunately. We have spoken to the policy team about this policy and this key-phrase many times though and they have verbally confirmed that loans under 60 days cannot be advertised using this phrase. We also know from experience as different sites we manage in MCC are effected by the policy so we can see first hand what keywords 1 - 60 day advertisers can and can't use.

Re: saying a loan can be paid back earlier than it is due.

UK loans have to allow early repayment by law so I have no issue with early repayment at all. I have an issue with the way this site is using this in its advertising as a way to bypass Adwords policy.

Basically they are promoting a 1 month loan option - even if they have dressed it up as early repayment. The fact that they prominently advertise exact figures on how much their 1 month loan will cost as part of their sales process in my opinion means that they are promoting a 1 month loan.

Their landing page is encouraging customers to take out a very expensive loan based on single 1 month loan repayment which is exactly what this adwords consumer advisory policy is designed to protect consumers against!!

I should point out that this company only started calling their loans a "6 month loan" when the adwords policy team stopped them from using certain keywords last month. Up until that point the "Would you like to repay early" slider on their landing page said "How long do you need to repay" (see image below) and they were offering standard 1 month loans. You can draw your own conclusion from that but it is very possible that this change is purely a cosmetic one so that they can bypass adwords policy.

 

sunny-old-sliders.jpg

 

Re: Our site being suspended

 

Our site was blocked as it mentioned repaying the loan early, between 1 - 6 months if the customer wished with no charge for early repayment

 

Again, we spoke in detail to the policy team to try to get the approved limited status of our adverts lifted. They said that even though our product was a 12 month loan that could be repaid early we could not use fact that the customer could repay after 1 month as part of our promotion if we wanted to have the approved limited status of our adverts lifted.

 

To sum up my opinion on the policy:

 

It is fine to offer early repayment, it is even fine to advertise this fact - but if you physically mention repaying between 1 - 60 days as part of your promotion then you are still violating the policy as you are then actually advertising a shorter repayment option than 6 months you claim to be offering.

 

I hope that makes sense @MosheTLV - do you see my point at all here?

 

Thanks once again for taking the time to look at this

 

Lily-B

 

 

 

Re: Annoying Policy Violation - Policy Team Please Help

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# 4
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@Lily; 

OK; I asked Google to  address these two arguments / complaints of yours:

  1. The usage of the term: short term loan;
  2. Stating  that a loan can be repaid after 30 days - actually  means a 30 day loan. Hence, prohibited.
Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: Annoying Policy Violation - Policy Team Please Help

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# 5
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@MosheTLV - thank you for putting those questions forward - they are perfect!

You're a diamond for taking the time to help. Thank you

Lily-B

Re: Annoying Policy Violation - Policy Team Please Help

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# 6
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I will update the thread once Google replies
Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: Annoying Policy Violation - Policy Team Please Help

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# 7
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Lily;
There is some misunderstanding here:

Payday loans website could be served (only) against specific keywords (assuming complying with all other requirements for short term loans), to ensure that only users specifically searching for payday loans get to see the ads.

Now, as for the specific case you put a complaint - Google does reply for a specific a case. If Google finds a violation - action  will be taken.

Now, as I see it, you are assuming that the site is not categorized as a payday loan. You might be wrong, and it does, hence  it can promote pay day loans (as said, using only  specific keywords.)

 

Note:  the  best way to submit complaints against   a competitor  is through the process Google has set - Submitting a complaint form.

 

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: Annoying Policy Violation - Policy Team Please Help

[ Edited ]
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# 8
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Hi @MosheTLV 

 

I understand what you are saying - but if this website had already been categorized by adwords as a payday loan website then it definitely would not be able to use the key-phrase "short term loan" hence my complaint.

 

Any payday loan advertiser (advertising a loan of 30 days) that tries to use this phrase vanishes within days of first appearing for the term. Currently there are no other payday loan advertisers (other than the one I believe to be violating) using the term short term loan and if payday loan advertisers could use it they would definitely be bidding on it.

 

A Google customer searching the term short term loan is not definitely looking for a 30 day loan, they may actually want a 6 month loan and as Google cannot be totally sure of the intent they don't show payday loan sites in the results. That is why I'm so certain Google has not already categorized this site as a payday loan advertiser.

 

Re the form - I do use the form all the time but this is real a grey area and really does needs a second opinion if we can get one.

 

Re: Annoying Policy Violation - Policy Team Please Help

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# 9
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Lily;

These are the misunderstandings that I was referring to:

  • Let's, first, set the terminology. When you are saying: "using the term short term loan and if payday loan advertisers could use it they would definitely be bidding on it." - do you mean using "short term loan  as a keyword OR on the landing page?
  •  
  • Now, in the Policy there is no reference to 30 day loans. Short term loans are defined as loans for  less than 60 days. The Policy governs 1-60 day loan  applies also to 30 days.
  •  
  • Google does not suspend short term loans websites. It just limits their ads, to be shown against specific  search queries. Thus, if  a site  used the  keyword "short term loans", "vanished",  there should be other reasons for the suspension, and not the use of this search term. 

-Moshe

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: Annoying Policy Violation - Policy Team Please Help

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# 10
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Hi @MosheTLV 

 

Thanks againSmiley Happy - Hopefully i can address your queries below:

 

  • "Let's, first, set the terminology. When you are saying: "using the term short term loan and if payday loan advertisers could use it they would definitely be bidding on it." - do you mean using "short term loan  as a keyword OR on the landing page?"

    I mean that payday loan (under 60 day loan) advertisers generally always try to include the keyword short term loan in their campaigns but their adverts will not show for the keyword for more than a few days as the ads quickly get set to approved limited status.

  • "Now, in the Policy there is no reference to 30 day loans. Short term loans are defined as loans for  less than 60 days. The Policy governs 1-60 day loan applies also to 30 days."

    I understand the policy defines a short term loan as any loan under 60 days in duration. I'm only using 30 days (1month) as a typical example as this loan length does violate the policy and is the typical duration of a payday loan in the UK.

  • "Google does not suspend short term loans websites. It just limits their ads, to be shown against specific  search queries. Thus, if  a site  used the  keyword "short term loans", "vanished",  there should be other reasons for the suspension, and not the use of this search term. "

    You are totally correct - I do understand the process but I incorrectly used the term "suspended" to explain what is happening when a website's advert is set to approved limited status - I'm really sorry for the confusion - suspended was the wrong term to use.

    To clarify - I was using the term "suspended" to describe what happens when a website stops appearing for certain keywords that they are bidding on because their advert has been set to approved limited status by the policy team.

 

So to clarify - my issue with the website that we are discussing is that:

 

Although they state that their minimum loan duration is 6 months, their landing page is actually stating that the loan can be repaid after 1 month. They are therefore advertising a loan duration under 60 days hence their adverts should be set to to approved limited status.

 

If their advert were currently set to approved limited status we know that their adverts could show for the keywords:

 

Payday loans

Payday loan online

fast payday loan

etc...

 

We also know, for reasons discussed earlier in the thread, that their adverts should not be showing for the following keywords:

 

short term loan

loans

loan online

etc...

 

Their advert does currently appear for the keyword short term loan hence my complaint. If they have been classified as offering loans of under 60 days their advert should not show for this keyword.