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Understand Google's advertising policies, including ad approval status and account suspension
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The Adwords policy reporting system is useless. Let me explain why.

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# 1
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Hi! I am quite new to adwords, and in my effort to learn how to use it I have made some discoveries. I have been particuallary interested in how Google can handle the amount of requests they are getting every day and how they manage to get people to follow their adwords network guidelines.
 
A while ago I noticed this ad. The ad URL says www.estaunitinfo.com.
I clicked the link and was redirected to this site: www.estausavisa.com.
 
According to the adwords guidelines the landing page should be the same as the ad URL as stated in this policy: https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/6021546
 
As the url changes from estaunitinfo.com to estausavisas.com this is a violation so I reported this as a breach in the policies. (Also I noticed that if I clicked "open link in a new tab" the url changed to estausvisas.com. No A in usa). In addition I am not sure if they are violating the policy about misrepresentation as well according to this policy:
 
This is how I understand Google is "policing" their network. With the help of the public.

A few weeks later I decided to see if the ad was still active after I had reported it. To see the effect of my report. I did the same search, but I could not find an ad for estaunitinfo, but this ad showed up.
 
The ad is the same, but now the URL (now: estavisasinfo.com) had changed. It also still redirects to estausavisa.com. Again I reported them as I suspected them to use some sort of cloacking as well as the same reasons as the first report.
 
Now out of personal interest I tested the URL in the first ad: estaunitinfo.com in the browser because I wanted to see if it still redirects to estausavisa.com. Now this page showed up:
 
It seems to me that the people behind this site got it accepted as a site than provides information about ESTA, not actually selling it. I guess they are using some sort of cloacking script to trick Google.

But, I was shocked, when I once again later wanted to see if Google had done something towards themn after my report, to my surprise I found this ad.
 
They have changed the ad URL for the third time. This time to estacbpinfo.com! What is happening??

Today I looked again and this ad showed again.
 
If you are behind a UK IP you can see it for yourself, just search "esta visa"
 
So they are back with the first add....
 
Now this is my point. I report these guys, Google does (maybe) some effort, but fail to target the real bad guys here, or they don't do anything. These guys have found a solution to trick Google, and therefore just continue without consequence.
 
Google will accept the ad as they are only providing information about ESTA, ref the landing page provided earlier. This guys clearly has some .htaccess or cloaking script built on it so it redirects. From how I understand it Google can only see this if they check it manually.

I mean, these guys are tricking the adwords system big time. In my opinion this is a problem with the adwords system that must be resolved. If it is that easy to trick the system, what is keeping people with really bad intention to do the same? So far I have no idea if my reporting has led to any actions from Google as I have no method of communicating with them. My hope is that someone on this community sees this and takes some action or at least provide a respons why this is happening!
 
Who can give me any reasonable answer to why these guys can continue advertising on the network? The system is not optimal, I understand, with millions of ads being made everyday, but why bother reporting??
 
John

 

2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: The Adwords policy reporting system is useless. Let me explain why.

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi @John Steven S;

Well..  This is a very specific case on a sensitive issue: ESTA, which requires some investigation which is beyond our scope;

Generlay, I would suggest though to continue submitting the complaint and present it in a format that will be clear to the reviewer.  From your written text it's a bit difficult to understand why you find a particular landing page in violation.

 

 

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: The Adwords policy reporting system is useless. Let me explain why.

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
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Thanks for the reply.

 

Is it not enough to say that the URL in the ad and the URL in the landing page are two different addresses? I mean, that would be in violation of this policy:

 

" The promotion doesn't accurately reflect where the user is being directed

  • Examples: Using the Display URL "www.google.com" but leading to a landing page with the URL "www.youtube.com", using the keyword insertion feature in the top-level or second-level domain of your display URL like "www.{keyword}.com""

And refering to this site: https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/6021546?rd=1#024

the example given is that a display URL can not be Google.com and landing page be example.com.

 

Is this not a "serious" enough offence for Google to bother about?

 

If I have misundertood the adwords guidelines I am sorry, but what is the point of continuing reporting if nothing happens? How many people actually care to report something more than once? If that is the case, as you say, keep reporting, then the system is not working.

 

Another point to mention, If I say in the report that this is an ad for ESTA, I have no policy to back up my report as this is not specifically mentioned. Also if this is an serious offence, shouldn't it be possible to talk to someone inside of Google about it?

 

Thanks

Re: The Adwords policy reporting system is useless. Let me explain why.

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

@John Steven S;

Correct.  The display domain must match the landing page domain, (there are some exceptions that I do not you think apply is this case).  It is a violation. 

That said, once reported we have no control on the timeline it could take Google to remove the violation.

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: The Adwords policy reporting system is useless. Let me explain why.

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
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Ok, Thank you.

 

First report sent early in February...

 

I still think the system is not working very well. I think this company has outsmarted Google on this one. It is too easy. If someone have an intention to trick the system, just see what these guys are doing and copy it.

Re: The Adwords policy reporting system is useless. Let me explain why.

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

@MosheTLV you seem fairly knowledgebale about the Google policy system and as you mentioned advertising for Esta is a very sensitive issue. Why is then so easy for me, as a public person, to find these ads for Esta, and not Google? It seems like the system is highly automated, also based on the feedback people get when their ads are suspended, somethings that seems like an automated email.

 

I report based on what I see and how I interpret the policy guidelines. If someone in the Google team just made a search on their own search engine for Esta Usa they will find ads leading to Esta application sites. I have more examples, but I guess it is hopeless to expect any feedback anywhere about the issue.

 

I am sorry for putting so much effort into this, but it seems like I am the only one who cares that the system is a safe place to advertise and use for the public. I mean, there are no Google Police force. Maybe it is a question about their business model..

Re: The Adwords policy reporting system is useless. Let me explain why.

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 7
Top Contributor

@John Steven S;

Read this and you'll get a sense of the load on Google when working to make the ad network safe on a global scale;

https://googleblog.blogspot.co.il/2016/01/better-ads-report.html

That said, I agree that Google should improve the time it takes to complete investigations on violations reported by advertisers. There have been  reports from users about a too long turnaround after reporting a violation...

 

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: The Adwords policy reporting system is useless. Let me explain why.

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
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@MosheTLV no doubt they have a lot of work to do. But I mean, it seems that my reports are not even being looked at. And to what extent should I bother to contiune reporting them?

 

For me this looks like a clear violation, but as long as I report it and nothing happens, I guess it is an ad that is accepted. If someone on the google reporting team or anyone would just explain why this ad is not violating the adwords guidelines, I would love to understand why.

Re: The Adwords policy reporting system is useless. Let me explain why.

Top Contributor
# 9
Top Contributor
Sometimes you need to submit the compliant several times until being investigated.
I re-iterate my recommendation: submit the complaint in a clear format easily understood to a reviewer. Think that you have 1-23 mins to explain the case to a reviewer. Make it short and to the point.
Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: The Adwords policy reporting system is useless. Let me explain why.

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# 10
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Ok, thanks again.

 

I am reporting everyday. I am curious to see if something happens. I mean, since february nothing has, so what to expect?

 

Say you are robbed at your house, you go to the police once and report the case. You expect the police to follow up. If there is no suspect or no one to bring to justice the case will be dismissed after an investigation. The police will notify you about this. But the case is still in the archive in case new evidence show up. The police will once again notify you.

 

What you are basically saying is that, if we compare the two cases, the person being robbed should continue reporting this case until someone helps you. That is not how the real world of policy making works.

 

This is how it works at Google: You see someone breaking the rules, you explain briefly what they are doing and report them. Keep doing this until the rulebreakers are gone. If they are not gone, just contiune reporting. It is like yelling into the desert for days and months.

 

My conclusion is therefore this: Google either has a financial incentive about this. Making the system to rigid would lower their income drastically. The advertisers have people on the inside of Google. There is no issue with this ad.

 

I guess Google is not making enough money to make a premium service where people can actually get feedback when they are helping them keep their system a safe and reliable network for the users. I stand by my case, this system is useless.