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The recent policy automation update to weapons/firearms policy needs to be rolled back

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 1
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆

This is getting ridiculous. I've always had issues with certain clients getting lots of firearms and other weapons disapprovals for things like air conditioners, kitchen tables and spoons, and in the past I would just submit them slowly but surely (thanks to the broken since forever MC interface that only shows 50 products) for manual review and they would get reapproved.


Starting about 2 weeks ago though, the manual reviews started coming back with "Manual review completed: item remains disapproved [other weapons]" for things like spoons, dishwasher plastic inserts and air conditioners. This is ridiculous of course, not only because these products obviously aren't weapons (in most cases the only possible trigger word in their title or description is "steel" a vital attribute for the products) but also because it vividly illustrates that the manual reviews are not, in fact, a manual review but rather just policy automation looking at a product again.


This was confirmed when I called support about this for multiple accounts, and in every case they said that it was the policy automation at fault, that it could not be reversed or overridden, and that the only solution was to change the title, item ID and description, and even then it would likely not work. In some cases neither myself or the support staff could find anything in the title or description that could even vaguely be triggering the weapon policy, meaning that to get the products live will take endless trial and error and wasted time.


I'm seeing this affect more and more of my clients products and just like with pharma policy I am being told that the automation is broken and that there is nothing that can be done about it. Pharma policy has been broken for more than 3 years with no improvements whatsoever, so I have serious doubts that this will resolve itself. And since trigger words seem to be things like "steel" this is going to affect huge swathes of many of my clients' inventories.


Does anyone know if something is being done to address this? It seems like that with such a disastrous update (I was told that I was the nicest person to call support about an automatic policy disapproval, and I was frustrated as hell so you know it's bad that I was the "nice guy") that it should be rolled back until some fixes or a manual override is put in place.

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: The recent policy automation update to weapons/firearms policy needs to be rolled back

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

google reads the forums and more direct feedback avenues are available.

such automated disapprovals have been true for quite some time and seem
to have increased rather than decreased -- likely as various automated policy
detection systems are updated or become more the norm.

the best likely course is to more strictly follow the published policies,
recommendations, and guidelines; or rather, be well aware that trigger
words and phrases related to those rules may result in a disapproval --
then, either change the site and submitted data before a disapproval
or simply remove such items.

for example, google has rules related to weapons and
recreational-drugs -- if a title or description contains:
blue steel sneakers with armor-like soles.
carolina blue sneakers with rugged soles.

or, blue plastic outer coating, rather than, blue steel shell.

sometimes, merely reordering words will prevent a trigger.

if possible, consider such changes to the website as new
inventory is added -- well before the items are submitted.

this does require a careful reading of the policies and recognizing
potential misinterpretations, double entendre, innuendo, ambiguity,
and common words and phases that may be used in the context
of what google restricts and types of restricted products.

e.g. blue steel often relates to guns -- which are restricted.

currently, this is one of few defenses against such disapprovals.

otherwise, other campaign-types and ad-formats may simply
be a better fit for advertising certain items or types of items.

Re: The recent policy automation update to weapons/firearms policy needs to be rolled back

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 3
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
You're spot on with your recommendations of course. We do our best to avoid policy and pre-emp it whenever possible, but some things are impossible to get away from. When the main selling point of a product is its higher quality steel, it's hard to take that word out. And in some cases, I can't find any kind of trigger word at all, it's maddening. So we change the products that we can, but for a lot of them we have no idea where to start or we've done it a few times and it's gotten no where.

For what it's worth, I have given feedback about this through other channels. Just as I've given plenty of feedback on the broken pharma automation and how bad an idea continuing to use is for their supplement policy automation checks. Hopefully there will be some movement on this unlike the case of the pharma policy for the past few years.

Re: The recent policy automation update to weapons/firearms policy needs to be rolled back

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor
the more likely culprit is the context,
word order, or other similar triggers
rather than the word in isolation.

perhaps related in this particular case,
any comparisons violate the policies --
higher quality anything is generally not allowed.

submitted data is mainly restricted to the item's physical
characteristics or how that physical item might be used.

Re: The recent policy automation update to weapons/firearms policy needs to be rolled back

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 5
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
In this case that is exactly what each item description and title is, just straight specifications. Here's a sample

Title: Oneida Iced Teaspoon, 18/8 Stainless Steel, Needlepoint (open-stock It
Description: Oneida Iced Teaspoon, 18/8 Stainless Steel, Needlepoint (open-stock It
On Page Description: Iced Teaspoon, 7-5/8", 18/10 stainless steel, NEEDLEPOINT (Open-stock item, minimum = case quantity)
Material 18/10 Stainless Steel
Length 7" - 8"

So as you can see, the feed for this client is pretty bare bones, every product is strictly product specifications. The type of stainless steel is a key feature and selling point for the product, so to remove it would be the same as essentially removing it from the feed. And on top of that, it is highly likely Google would still see whatever is triggering the policy automation in the on-page copy.

As i had previously stated, getting the disapprovals in the first place is something that has long been going on, but the inability to have them fixed with a manual review is new. And if tea spoons are getting disapproved under this policy with no way to fix it, that tells me that the automation has gone to far and whatever recent update needs to go back to dev and testing.