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Understand Google's advertising policies, including ad approval status and account suspension
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Unfair advantage policy is never enforced

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# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I have a client that wants to do more Pay-Per-Click marketing through Adwords but they have concerns in regards to their competitor abusing adwords to gain an unfair traffic advantage over other participants in the auction by exploiting physical location and running ads with different domains in order to serve multiple paid search ads.

I have proactively submitted the report a violation form and still their competitor is abusing the system making it where our client does not want to continue moving forward running any type of campaigns through the adwords system. If the policies are not enforced to level the playing field, then I'm going to lose a very valued client due to ethics and integrity of the Adwords Network. I do not want to lose this client because I have spent two years gaining their trust through being ethical and honest due to them having bad experiences with other agencies.

What do I need to do to get this in front of the right team to either explain to us how and why this is allowed and if it is not allowed, why has this gone on for over 2 years with no course of action? I have attached a screenshot so you can see in action.

To put this in perspective, I have clients that have six+ physical locations in the same state but we do the right thing by targeting each physical location to their respective geos. Perhaps I should conquer and control the paid search listings by purchasing domains for each location and just running them all in conjunction to gain an unfair competitive advantage? Clearly this is a new acceptable strategy based on our findings because nothing ever gets done about it and no one can ever give a clear and valid explanation as to why this is continue to be allowed due to the policies changing without notice and overtime becoming subjectively broad in terminology and definition. Clearly, we wouldn’t do this as we are an ethical agency but we are seeing these blatant violations occur more often with no course of action from the adwords team and are losing clients due to non-enforcement of policies.

 

I have also not been able to find any strategic literature through Adwords training that states this is an acceptable campaign strategy that should be used as well.double-serving-violation.png

1 Expert replyverified_user

Unfair advantage policy is never enforced

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hello there;

The case is clear. 

When did submit the complaint?

Have you provided evidence showing that all other locations owned by the same business entity (managed from only one location)?

Are the competitor's location franchises?

 

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Unfair advantage policy is never enforced

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
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I have submitted claims multiple times throughout the two years of doing business with my client. I do not have an exact date but I did just email my MCC Account Rep to try and expedite this issue.

 

I have only provided evidence of what I can personally see online. I am not knowledgeable, nor do I have any factual evidence of how this business internally operates. I'm hoping the Adwords violation team has the ability to do type type of investigate work on their end.

 

They do not market and advertise themselves as franchise on the landing pages, so I'm unsure of how they operate their business.

 

Would it be unethical for me to reach out to the agency that handles their adwords and bring this to their attention mentioning how we feel it's unfair or is that going too far?

 

Since there is no longer a dedicated double-service policy, I feel the new policy is open to subjective opinion. I really just don't want to lose this client after spending so much time working with their school and gaining their trust.

Unfair advantage policy is never enforced

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

The "double serving" is here and thriving (under the name of "gain unfair advantage")

I suspect that since this has been a long time and you have  submitted multiple complaints, my guess is  that those ads are by a franchise. A franchise is a different business entity - hence the practice is allowed.

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Unfair advantage policy is never enforced

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
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Thanks for the insights.

 

I just did a bit more research and found that the advertiser actually has 6 physical locations but they are NOT a franchise. All locations are owned and operated by the same individuals. I did site index search for all of their web properties and "franchise" term does not show up on any of their index pages. I also called and inquired about franchise opportunities and was told they have none because they are not a franchise.

Lastly, I searched all of the franchise database directories and this business doesn't show up anywhere. They are also not categorized within Dunn & Bradstreet as a franchise business as well.


Unfair advantage policy is never enforced

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

Well... Then, This is interesting...

When was the last time you submitted the complaint? Was the complaint in a  format easily to understand by the reviewer?

(I have found that presenting the case in a clear format helps the reviewer - who has hundreds of complaints - to facilitate the investigation)

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Unfair advantage policy is never enforced

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
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I've presented everything that I could to our MCC Account Manager and asked them what additional information would be needed to help get this looked at a bit more closely. My account manager stated she felt this was a clear violation as well but we have to wait for the team that handles these complaints. Fingers crossed!

Unfair advantage policy is never enforced

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
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Oh yea, forgot. Another tidbit of information. The businesses are one entity based on how they disclose themselves to the Department of Education for audits and accreditation. So essentially they are not privately owned franchises as each location is simply a branch of their main campus of operations.

Re: Unfair advantage policy is never enforced

Top Contributor
# 9
Top Contributor

derek b wrote:

Oh yea, forgot. Another tidbit of information. The businesses are one entity based on how they disclose themselves to the Department of Education for audits and accreditation. So essentially they are not privately owned franchises as each location is simply a branch of their main campus of operations.


This could be the reason

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Unfair advantage policy is never enforced

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 10
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I really hope that isn't the case though because that would give me the ability to control the auction if this is deemed an acceptable campaign strategy. I have clients with 10+ campuses within the same state, so I could essentially run their ads all in-conjunction with the use of dedicated domains and have the direct ability to manipulate the auction gaining a very unfair advantage.

We'll see what happens. I assume this client will be walking considering the responses from our MCC account manager have been lackluster.