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Understand Google's advertising policies, including ad approval status and account suspension
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Double Serving Policy Confusion

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hello, 

 

There used to be a policy specifically about double serving but it seems to be replaced with this:

https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/6020954?hl=en-AU 

 

Which states "Using the Google Network to gain an unfair traffic advantage over other participants in the auction" is a no-no. 

 

The policy is now a lot more vague and unclear.

 

The issue is that we have encountered this where a competitor has 3 websites & 3 ad accounts effectively blocking out the competition. These websites are all owned by the same person (verified by a whois search) & they do not have a physical location with staff present - just a stand at a home display centre where multiple businesses showcase their products. So even if someone visited them, they would not get any service. 

 

This has been reported to Google but nothing seems to have been done. 

 

The websites are:

http://www.melbourne-kitchens.com.au

http://www.melbournekitchendesigns.com.au

http://www.kitchendesignvictoria.com.au 

 

They lock out the to 3 positions in ads consistently during peak times. 

 

What more can be done about this?  Is there anywhere else where more information can be provided about gaining an unfair advantage.

2 Expert replyverified_user
Marked as Best Answer.
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Accepted by topic author carpool
June

Double Serving Policy Confusion

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

yes, the double-serving policy was a bit narrow and was
replaced by the more expansive unfair-advantage policy,
under the abusing-the-ad-network policies.

yes, attempting to show more than one ad at a time for the same
business is typically an example of the unfair-advantage policy.

generally, when reporting the issue to google, be certain to submit the
exact ad-click url's that contain an aclk and points to the landing-pages
for the same business -- the exact link-locations of the ads; otherwise,
google will likely not be able to pursue the issue properly.

a physical location with staff present is not required for advertising --
these are requirements more for google-my-business map entries.

that said, multiple websites owned by the same person via whois does not
necessarily indicate a common business ownership; different businesses can
have a common registrant or technical contact for site-related administration.

also, those three websites seem to be showing three different physical contact
locations and three different contact phone-numbers -- that, combined with the
business-model of having only a stand at a home-display-center where multiple
businesses showcase their products, would likely make connecting the three

sites, and corresponding ads, as the same business entity, more difficult.

reporting others is mainly considered private/confidential information --
only the specific advertiser who is under investigation will be contacted.

there is no set time for how long an investigation may take.

google is the final arbiter of all policies.

Double Serving Policy Confusion

Rising Star
# 3
Rising Star

Hi there,

 

I'm in Victoria and can verify they have the top 3 spots for "kitchen design".

 

They do have the same WHOIS details, however there's nothing on the sites to indicate they are the same business - different phone numbers, addresses, info, photos, logos.

 

I'm guessing they are using different billing details for each account.

 

So while you or I can tell they aren't playing fairly, it is harder for Google. If they don't look at WHOIS - which is quite likely given how easy it is to keep that private, then how can a Googler know for sure?

 

Also, if you own multiple businesses, there's nothing in AdWords policy to stop you having different ad accounts. The old policy used to say you need a product or service that is different, or has different pricing or is targeting different customers. 

 

Double Serving Policy Confusion

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

 Thanks Rob,

 

It would be tough for Google to know sure but it seems very unfair when all leads go to the same person even though the offers look different.  If someone contacted all 3 business for a quote, then they wouldn't really be getting a fair quote since they know the pricing and are only competing against themselves instead of an open market.

 

Perhaps the opportunity is to explore at different paid channels. 

 

 

Double Serving Policy Confusion

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thanks so much for your detailed post. It seems it is so difficult to prove - meanwhile lots of businesses are being affected. 

 

It is hard to discern as the offers on all websites are different and they have different phone numbers - although 2 of the websites have the same physical address.  

 

Double Serving Policy Confusion

Rising Star
# 6
Rising Star

If enquiries at all 3 sites end up with the same quote from the same people, that is a bad user experience for the searcher - something Google puts a lot of effort into preventing.

 

I see double-serving like this all the time, and I presume Google is doing everything they can. I guess they need to be careful not to wrongly suspend sites...

 

Double Serving Policy Confusion

Badged Google Partner
# 7
Badged Google Partner

You could try to explore other channels, but you won't have access to the Google audience. The better way to go would be to out-smart the competition by being a better advertiser than they are. They are not guaranteed anything... Maybe they've gotten complacent and need a little kick in the teeth. Smiley Happy

Tom

Double Serving Policy Confusion

[ Edited ]
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

 We are dealing with the exact same problem in an different industry. After a lot of digging, I finally got an explanation directly from the Google Policy team.

Unfortunately there's no prohibition of 1 company having many brands and advertising with us.
 
Our policy only prohibits 1 exact brand from having multiple websites and those websites have the same logo and brand name, or same phone numbers/emails/address. There is also no attempt on their side to interfere with Google's advertising systems and processes as the policy team will find it reasonable for a company to have many different brands, each with its own website -- it will not be considered under insufficient original content.
 
As such we cannot suspend these websites as they have not violated any of our policies. 

 

So unfortunately Google doesn't care about companies doing this. When you think about it, it's actually in Google's interests to allow this practice as it increases the CPC for all advertisers. I doubt it will change any time soon!

Double Serving Policy Confusion

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi so what about if I have a Australian based company, advertise on Adwords targeting AU but also advertise the USA brand targeting AU it's a registered USA LLC a different company. Brand is the same.

Double Serving Policy Confusion

Rising Star
# 10
Rising Star

Hi Adam,

 

This discussion is about one business promoting their multiple different websites.

 

You can bid on any brand names you like, including those of your competitors. The main restriction is that many trademarked brands can't be used in your ad copy.