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Product Feed Filer Suggested for design by Google

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# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I'm an experienced user of Google Merchant center overseeing 3 seller accounts, only 2 now being active. Those remaining 2 are constantly being held over the barrel by products in the dietary supplements category. Just when you think you've complied in full, even removed those products from our physical website, something else gets us clipped. This last one, fully caught us by surprise and the conclusion was, we'd need to read over even the images and labels to ensure the "wording" on the box couldn't be construed as "making health claims". The last product we had was a homeopathic remedy used for cold and flu symptoms: Boiron Oscillococcinum

 

Story be told over and over on here with im sure a great many other frustrated sellers of the popular category of dietary supplements. At this point, the FDA has completely wiped out supplements that we're previously, very borderline safe, ie. Prohormones and ephedra containing products. Therefore, the work has already been done and you're not going to enter a health food store (or a website) and walk out with something that is a danger to yourself and your family, unless used irresponsibly. I know this may appear as a matter of 'opinion', but I run a physical store(s) as well, and I'm confident is the safety of what we're doing. Nonetheless, I'm in fact here to make a very good suggestion for those in charge at Google of Merchant Services. Here it is:

 

Create a filter for the UPC's and names of products associated with the "non-exhaustive" list that will remove products from a sellers feed and email them of its removal. This is what amazon currently does if you're a seller and they disapprove of the item. Now, this filter would be very easy to make. It would be very effective. And yes, Google has the time to do it.  What they DO NOT have time to do is "assign an expert" each time any number of the thousands of sellers of dietary supplements on here, get shut down, and want an answer why. I was told today on my long-awaited phone call from a technician over there, that Google does not have the time to update the non-exhaustive list. This is absolutely false. They do have the time and the ability if they're going to initiate the process to find items NOT on the list in the first place. 

 

As it stands currently, sellers of dietary supplements are in a very price-competitive spot where the primary source of traffic for the lower-budget website and company, is going to shopping feed comparison sites. Its by matter of success and ease of use that Google has become the one primary used by shoppers. Can't Google make it more profitable to themselves and less time intensive if they let a filter do the work and not create script long emails back and forth between the adwords support teams? 

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Product Feed Filer Suggested for design by Google

Community Manager
# 2
Community Manager

Hi Michael W,

 

I really appreciate you taking the time to articulate your idea and the situations that you've encountered with these types of products in your feed.

 

I'm more than happy to pass this idea along to our Merchant Center team. Getting feedback from our advertisers is how we make our products and processes better.

 

If you ever have other ideas like this in the future, feel free to submit the feedback here. Thanks again.

Re: Product Feed Filer Suggested for design by Google

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Michael,
I am experiencing the exact problem that you are. The time and resources that the AdWords representatives have to put into dealing with Merchant Center merchants who are suspended without explanation could easily be offset with greater efforts to make the policies more transparent so that law-abiding customers such as ourselves can simply comply with the policies and spend more money with Google. That's all I'm interested in doing and yet they've managed to make it fantastically difficult to do.

Furthermore, the uneven enforcement of the policies is very frustrating. You can easily see that there are dozens of merchants selling boiron oscillococcinum on Google Shopping at this very moment (https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&ie=UTF-8#q=boiron+oscillococcinum&safe=of... I have researched and the vast majority of these merchants are no VIPPS certified online pharmacies. Google typically claims it is simply making it's way through all of the merchants but I have been suspended for products that months or even YEARS later can still be found on Google Shopping.

CocoP, I really encourage (nay, beg) you to raise this issue within the company. Customers who simply want to comply with your policies and spend money with your company should not be treated like this.

Re: Product Feed Filer Suggested for design by Google

Community Manager
# 4
Community Manager
Hi Patrick M,

Thanks for sharing your situation here too. I've collected all of this feedback to share with our teams. If you think of anything else, feel free to update this thread.

Re: Product Feed Filer Suggested for design by Google

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Coco. We've been up and live for approx 10 days. As of yesterday, we're down again and I can't wait to hear the reason this time. This has become such a regular task, I spend hours communicated with google reps and agonizing rather than working on marketing our actual business. Yes, we are small, have only a few employees, and this task and many others cannot just be "escalated" onto one of our staff. I am responsible for just about everything involving our business so having to harp and grind to get re-approved, takes a lot otherwise healthy time and attention away from growth. We have, for years, benefited so much from this venue for traffic. We want to comply dearly so we can continue at the rate we were going. However as Patrick pointed out to you, Coco, (thanks for joining the conversation Patrick), there are still A LOT of sellers selling Boiron oscillococcinum, most of which are large corporate accounts with hefty budgets to put towards their PPC adwords accounts, even when the math doesn't make sense. Can you get an answer for us on this or can the person its going to be 'escalated' to 3 times over, just come on down and joint here on the forum and explain why?

As you can sense in my tone, yes, I'm very frustrated. Wouldn't anyone be when their sales and people that work for are impacted while our competitors are allowed to continue on? Wouldn't Google be best off just suspending the product and not our entire account for 5-7 days? Why are the other sellers like vitaminshoppe and drugstore.com clear and free and their accounts not suspend for 5-7 days? You know Google, I'm not a lawyer, but this is the kind of thing that class action lawyers LOVE to pounce on. There are so many seller accounts within the dietary supplement category that have been at least once suspended and therefore financially impacted during this transition. I bring this up because as Patrick noted, make the rules more transparent and ENFORCE them evenly! We and I'm sure others, have read through again and again and even removed products we could sell from our websites entirely to comply (not just removed them from our feeds). And here we sit, only live and selling for 15 out of 30 days on average per month. I'll have to dig through my inbox to see why we've been disapproved other times. They are interesting if memory serves me correct.

Coco, please help us find an answer and solution. I'm am so very tired of everything being 'escalated' to a 'specialist'. Give me (us all) a break and let us play fairly.

Re: Product Feed Filer Suggested for design by Google

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Michael, your situation is all too familiar. I just want to chime in again because I do not believe we are being unreasonable and common sense would suggest we deserve a meaningful response to our dilemma.

Our experiences demonstrate three main fallacies with the current policy enforcement regime:

1) Accounts are suspended for carrying products that Google does not list among the AdWords/Merchant Center restricted products. Therefore merchants have no meaningful guidance on how to comply with Google policies no matter how badly they may want to. Frequently, even after a suspension is issued, the Merchant Center team refuses to disclose the identity of the offending product. It's not clear what purpose this lack of transparency serves.

2) Entire accounts are suspended and without warning. I would gladly remove any product Google decides to begin restricting if only I was given the chance before having my entire account shutdown for 7 to 10 days. It's important to note that Michael and I are not petitioning for Google to allow a certain product or change its restricted products policies in any way - we simply want a fair opportunity to comply with those policies before suffering suspensions that do material harm to our businesses.

3) Google's enforcement of the restricted products policy is uneven. While certain merchants are suspended without notice for a week of more for carrying a particular product, dozens of other merchants continue to sell the same product on Google Shopping for months thereafter. My account has been suspended on separate occasions for carrying l-arginine, neti wash flu, boiron oscillococcinum, and BSN Nitrix - all products that you can currently find on Google Shopping being sold by merchants that are not VIPPS-accredited online pharmacies.

As the dominant player in the search market, I believe Google owes it to its customers to allow them to compete on a level playing field. That is truly all we're asking.

Re: Product Feed Filer Suggested for design by Google

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
This was given to me today by a vendor in the industry. If you know what this is all about Patrick, it may be helpful. This may be helpful to Google in completing their 'non-exhaustive' list of disapproved supplements.
http://hprc-online.org/dietary-supplements/files/DMAA_List.pdf

Re: Product Feed Filer Suggested for design by Google

Community Manager
# 8
Community Manager
Hi Michael and Patrick,

Thank you both again for sharing all this information with me. Like I say, I've passed along your feedback to our Merchant Center team to let them know the improvements you both suggested. I can't really speak to when and if these changes will be implemented, but our intention is certainly to make your advertising experience easier, so suggestions like these are handled very seriously.

If either of you are currently experiencing an account suspension, please let me know and I'll forward along to one of our specialists to take care of you.

Re: Product Feed Filer Suggested for design by Google

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Michael,

You may want to set some time aside each week to help report other sites who are in violation of google's policies. https://support.google.com/merchants/contact/policy
As of today, there are more sellers than I can count still selling boiron oscillococcinum and another account of mine was hit with something called Ergopump, also being sold by multiple sellers. As an experiment, I've planned to report all listers of these two items to see how their handled. I'd really like to see if they shut down drugstore.com' adwords accounts and others.
My point is Coco, why cant you guys just disable the product in question and not put a kink in our entire business by shutting down our entire account (YES, we rely on Google just that much for traffic)! And please, answer the question; why are all these other sellers still allowed to sell these two popular items and make profit? We've actually deleted these items not only from our feed, but from our site all together.

Re: Product Feed Filer Suggested for design by Google

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 10
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Drugstore.com is a VIPPS online pharmacy (http://www.nabp.net/programs/accreditation/vipps/find-a-vipps-online-pharmacy/) so I believe they are permitted to list boiron oscillococcinum. Of course, that doesn't explain the couple dozen other merchants selling that product on Google Shopping that are not VIPPS pharmacies.