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Understand Google's advertising policies, including ad approval status and account suspension
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Violated policies sexually explicit content

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I noticed over the weekend a drop in traffic from Google, when I checked my diagnostics there is nothing out of the normal and only a handful of listings are not currently published however when I go to individual items about 90% of my products now state "Violated policies: sexually explicit content", these are products which I have had listed for up to a 4 years with no issue, products that other people have listed with identical titles and descriptions and most importantly products which do not contain any sexually explicit content. When I tried explaining this to the person on live chat they told me that I had to go through and change all my product titles and descriptions and resubmit them. I spent over an hour trying to explain to her that none of my products had breached the policy and that the issue was clearly with Google. She also refused to let me speak to her superior or a specialist. I have close to 4000 products listed so understandably I am not going to change the titles and descriptions for each one and even if I did go through them all individually what would I even change them to considering there is nothing in them to begin with that is sexually explicit and whats to stop them being flagged again seeing as clearly the system is broken? So I am forced to post this here in the hope that someone takes note. 

2 Expert replyverified_user

Violated policies sexually explicit content

Explorer ✭ ☆ ☆
# 2
Explorer ✭ ☆ ☆

There may have been some miscommunication via your live chat with Google. I would call them at 1-866-246-6453. You should be able to get clarification as to what is exactly causing your products to be flagged for "Violated policies: sexually explicit content" and/or fix the issue.

Violated policies sexually explicit content

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I'm not sure how there could have been as I said I spent over an hour explaining to her what the issue was in detail and she told me the only way for it to be fixed was to change the titles and descriptions and resubmit them. I forget the wording that she used but she basically admitted there was a problem with the system and this is how you go around it.


Also to clarify there is absolutely nothing that is flagging my products within the titles or descriptions that is in breach of Google's policies. It is 100% a glitch in the system. 

Re: Violated policies sexually explicit content

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

this sounds like issues related to shopping-ads or remarketing or both.

if so, google seems well aware of such automated and sometimes
indiscriminate flagging of items based on titles, descriptions, or images

and the need to improve their automated systems -- generally, google
does not comment publicly about such internal details despite being
asked many many times before.


google is constantly updating their policy detection systems and

rechecking submitted data, items, websites, and businesses --

nothing needs to change to trigger a policy flag and the length

of time an item has been listed is not a factor.

the policy detection systems are simply automatic, algorithmic, and imprecise.

as was indicated, currently, about the only choices are to either remove
such flagged items altogether or change the titles or descriptions or both,
to force a re-review by the automated systems -- even with a change and
re-review, there is no guarantee such items will be reinstated.

posting the specific item details here in the public-forum may allow others to
offer more specific suggestions as to what might be changed; otherwise, about
the only way to address the issue is to remove the items or trial-and-error --

information that can trigger such automatic disapprovals typically relate to:
(a) any text that does not explain only the physical item;
(b) any promotions or stray marks such as non-standard capitalization or html;
(c) any double entendre remotely related to mature topics or offensive language;
(d) any content that violates google policies;
(e) any text that may relate to trademarked or copyrighted words or phrases.
(f) text or an image that typically indicates a violation of the policies; such as,
knock-offs, trademarks, certain adult oriented or health related items, etc.

or, some combination of any or all of these areas.

specifically for a policy flag related to sexually-explicit content topics or items:
consider any image that may be perceived as mature merchandise or showing
exposed skin, any suggestive or double entendre words or phrases, especially
related to mature-oriented activities, non-consensual, sexual, or erotic acts or
any mature, sexual, or violent themes, acts, imagery, or content -- actual or
implied -- or any mature or potentially offensive items, content, or images,
related to gaming or wearables alluding to exploitation, violence, or sex --
e.g. combat, first-shooter, lingerie, etc.

also, some target-counties have are more restrictive than others.

one strategy is to change only one item that has been flagged, in an attempt to
find a pattern or a root-cause; then change other items based on this analysis.


note that any one serious policy issue, or too many or too frequent policy

flags, can trigger a (permanent) suspension from the program, at any time.

as to other merchants, the automated detection systems are inexact; however,
others may be checking the adult setting within the merchant-center-account,
or submitting the items with the adult attribute set to yes, or both -- which may
be yet another alternative, depending on the details.

otherwise, potential policy violations by others may be reported to google.

Violated policies sexually explicit content

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I appreciate you taking the time to write a lengthy reply. To give you more information on the products I sell they are video games across numerous genres and are for various age groups so the only correlation between them would be that they are games, these are the same mainstream video games that are sold in any retail outlet and that numerous other sellers are advertising on Google. They are also the same titles and descriptions as other sellers are using because they come directly from the publishers. I would estimate that about 3000 of them have overnight been flagged by this policy with the rest still being advertised. There is no rhyme or reason for this flagging, there is no breach of policy it is simply a glitch. What concerns me the most though is how dismissive their support staff are of such an apparent flaw in their system. The amount of money that I pay them every month should warrant at the very least a full investigation into why this has happened, an apology and a swift resolution in getting my products advertised again. But instead what I was told to do is go through each of the 3000 products and alter the titles and descriptions to pass their algorithm which had zero basis on flagging the products to begin with. Does that make any logical sense to you? Because after speaking to their support staff for over an hour I was starting to think I was the stupid one and that I was being ridiculously unreasonable to ask to speak to a specialist. 

Violated policies sexually explicit content

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

first, you're welcome.

video-games and their product-images, titles, and descriptions can certainly
trigger such automated policy flags -- unfortunately, as was indicated, about
the only current remedy is by trial-and-error, by changing the titles or
descriptions with respect to the adult related policies, or add the adult
attribute with a value of true for those specific items, or remove such
items to avoid a more serious future suspension.

google typically does not flag items based on comparisons to other merchants.

other merchants having the exact same titles and descriptions,
with the exact same items, may simply have not been flagged yet --
or the items are flagged but have not been removed yet, or those
merchants are using the adult attribute or adult-settings or simply

changing the order or details of specific words or phrases.

flagged items may still be listed for awhile, to give merchants
time to change the website or item details -- typically 7-days.

generally, for such automated policy flags the policy-teams tend not to directly
intervene in resolving such an issue or override the policy flag -- other than to
analyze the issue to make future improvements, or to pass on the suggestion
of changing the item's details.

posting the entire feed-entry, for one or two of the specific flagged items,
here within the public-forum, may allow others to suggest specific changes.

changing all flagged items is likely best done only after some analysis and
changing only one or two flagged items until the items are no longer flagged --
after a pattern or detail is uncovered, the same similar change can usually
be applied to the remaining items; otherwise, the adult attribute or removal
may be needed.


sometimes, calling google again and indicating that the issues

relate to shopping-ads and specifically to the merchant-center,

and asking for a merchant-center-support-specialist, may help.

the apparent flaw and dismissive staff may be reported directly to google:
the same form should likely be submitted twice; once for the technical-flaw as a
product-complaint and for the dismissive staff as a customer-service complaint.


Violated policies sexually explicit content

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

same story here, furthermore they are not helpful AT ALL when you call them and they give wrong info and can not help. they just screw up a whole business for no reason

Violated policies sexually explicit content

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

even worse when this happen you lose your item history with google and takes forever for the traffic to pick back up like it was for that item and in many cases you would never get the same traffic like the item used to get

Re: Violated policies sexually explicit content

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Your Community has been suspended because it contains content that is pornographic or sexually explicit

Violated policies sexually explicit content

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 10
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Not really it was an error on their end that was fixed since. Thanks for your participation