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Question on Masking Domains

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# 1
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So this is an interesting scenario. State Farm has a script on their website that keeps any domain from being able to mask to their site and thus having the domain get indexed and overwriting or causing the page on statefarm.com to get unindexed or filtered for duplicate content (smart move on their part).  The script they have is this one here: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/webmasters/N10E_DKOK8s

 

So I have a campaign set up using this domain http://myquickinsurancequote.com/ which is set up to permanently forward/mask to https://www.statefarm.com/agent/US/NY/Flushing/Brian-Downes-KSWRJ1YS000. Now generally a masked domain is set up so the landing URL is the same as the one you type in your browser, but because State Farm has that script on their site, it changes the landing URL.  

 

I was assuming I wouldn't be able to use that domain in AdWords because of this (due to https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/175906?hl=en) but I've set up several in the past and currently and they all get approved.  Are the ads likely to get disapproved in the future?


Joy Hawkins, Google My Business Top Contributor
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Re: Question on Masking Domains

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# 2
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This is interesting...  But since I am not quite sure I fully understand the technicalities of the masking in this case; let me ping colleagues.

 

@Cobnut ;?

@Dave_Davis?

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: Question on Masking Domains

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# 3
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Hi Joy, I'm not sure I entirely understand the situation with State Farm.  Can I clarify?

 

So you have a domain, let's call it joy1.com (to keep things short and easy!) and this is parked (a masked forward) on a URL on joy2.com...

 

In this case, someone entering joy1.com in their browser is going to see the content at the URL joy2.com, but the address bar will display joy1.com, correct?

 

I don't think there's any issue with the Display URL as such - the URL is joy1.com and the user's address bar shows joy1.com, all good.  However, this is essentially the same as mirroring or framing, as described here:

 

https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/190437?hl=en

 

Although masked forwarding is not mentioned explicitly, when you read the policy it's a pretty good description of what happens with a masked forward.  I think we need to call for a Policy specialist on this one.

 

Jon

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Re: Question on Masking Domains

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# 4
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Jon,

I use domains that are masked all the time in AdWords with no issues (ads never get disapproved). If a domain had a 301 redirect to another site, it would get disapproved right away.

Masking is defined here: http://support.name.com/entries/21221581-How-do-I-set-up-URL-forwarding-

In the case I mentioned, technically the address bar SHOULD stay as http://myquickinsurancequote.com/ based on the masking preference that is set up, but the script that I referenced causes it to be overwritten and thus displays https://www.statefarm.com/agent/US/NY/Flushing/Brian-Downes-KSWRJ1YS000 in the browser instead.


Joy Hawkins, Google My Business Top Contributor
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Accepted by MosheTLV (Top Contributor)
September 2015

Re: Question on Masking Domains

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# 5
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Hi Joy.
I know what you're talking about. It can be done with either URL aliasing or even just framing. The former being a dirty secret.

Actually, this IS against the framing and mirroring policy and just because you got away with it in future, doesn't mean it will stay that way.

I'm not a policy specialist, but to answer your original question, it is in my opinion very likely that you'll get disapproved (and possibly suspended) in the future. Statefarm are doing this for a reason and it's actually the same reason why Google doesn't allow it too.

I'd use this as a great opportunity to build out your own site and content rather than pay for forwarding traffic like this. Google cannot police domain aliasing in AdWords but it can certainly police a redirect based on an iframe: http://www.internetofficer.com/seo-tool/redirect-check/

Right now, unless you're advertising the statefarm.com domain in your display URL, you wont be able to advertise the myquickinsurancequote.com domain.

Essentially, all you were doing was inserting yourself into the buying process and actually costing statefarm.com more money to advertise their own site. Essentially competing with itself (if I understand this right).

Hope that sheds some light on the subject.
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Accepted by MosheTLV (Top Contributor)
September 2015

Re: Question on Masking Domains

[ Edited ]
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# 6
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Just reading the policy document again Joy and it has confirmed my understanding.

Google AdWords doesn't allow advertising for sites that do the following:

Offer no additional value or content beyond what's provided by the page they're copying.


Your domain name definitely falls into this category and this is against AdWords policies.
Because of the "advanced" nature of masking/aliasing as opposed to using a frameset, it's a little more difficult to detect. It's still a policy violation and you shouldn't do it. Even if competitors are.

Hope that clears things up.

Re: Question on Masking Domains

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# 7
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Dave,

What about this one? It's the same site but it's set up way differently and has a canonical tag on it. The tool you referenced doesn't return it as framing.

www.briandownesagency.com


Joy Hawkins, Google My Business Top Contributor
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