4.9K members online now
4.9K members online now
Understand Google's advertising policies, including ad approval status and account suspension
Guide Me

"Unsupported content free desktop software" - site suspended

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I have a site,


Google has suspended the ad-words because of "Unsupported content free desktop software". is a 100% web application that lets users annotate and review content, such as images, page designs, etc., The user can make freehand drawn annotations on their content, voice recordings and even collaborate in real time. It's a productivity tool. And the landing page states that clearly "All you need is a browser". Powerful features, but a web-application. In the entire site, there is not a single use of the word "desktop", nor is anything to be downloaded.


We have a free trial so people can test out the features before they subscribe. The EULA is simple. There is no possibility to spam or do anything like that. There is email, but only for registered users, and it's not possible to send email to a non-registered user. We have been very careful to protect user's content and rights. This is a legitimate tool used by professionals.


Google suspended the site because of "unsupported content free desktop software". I didn't receive any email about this suspension (seriously), even though I do receive reports each month from Google. This site has been online for over a year.


I would happily fix any violation, but I have no idea what policy I am violating. It is not desktop software, and nowhere is this implied. It doesn't have any marketing or spam, features, etc. The EULA is clearly stated (which is very simple). 


The only guesses I have is:

  - The features are so powerful, like voice recordings, that Google mistook it for a desktop application Smiley Happy (even though it's clearly stated that it is not).

  - The words "review tool" somehow indicate desktop software? (Google's forum uses 'tool' in menu's everywhere).

  - The word 'review' was parsed out of context, so Google thinks this site is used to review apps or something?

  - It has an email feature, but this is only for registered users, and emails are not shared.

  - It has a free trial? Nothing wrong with that?

  - it's used by website designers. Maybe they confused that also with reviewing websites, or something.. 





1 Expert replyverified_user
Marked as Best Answer.
Accepted by topic author Thomas O
February 2017

Re: "Unsupported content free desktop software" - site suspended

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

google is constantly reviewing and re-reviewing ads, landing-pages, sites,
businesses, business-practices, business-models, software, apps, products,
or services, for compliance with all existing, new, or updated policies --
the length of time an ad or site has been running is not a factor.

the same policy-violation flag may be triggered for any software --
regardless of desktop, web-application, or any app related feature;
google sometimes does not have fine-grained violation-flags.

the same policy-violation-flag may be triggered for any business that
advertises software including -- extensions, plug-ins, add-ons, etc.,
or any free-trial related to any software.

this is primarily a peer-to-peer forum and forum-members can
mainly offer suggestions based on what is posted here in public.

the email from google is usually critical to understanding the issues
and what must be fixed -- otherwise, the best likely course would be
to contact google directly.

generally, google requires a clear and transparent business-model.

for issues related to software or trials consider the following checklist:

(1) verify the eula/tos are clearly visible -- either directly or as a link.

(2) verify any trial, install, or uninstall instructions are clearly visible --
either directly or as a link; regardless of any (browser) integration or any
integration with any operating-system's package-handling, or how simple,
intuitive, easy, obvious, well-known, those tasks may be.

(4) verify the eula/tos, trial, or any un/install, instructions are easy to locate and
are available, both before and after, any software is ever tried, purchased, or
installed -- on the ad's landing-page and any applicable places on the website.

(5) verify that the authorization-to-distribute form has been
submitted for any free software or free-trials -- even if the
software's authoritative-source and advertiser are identical.

(6) verify all download-flows or any browser-integration, match the expected
behavior of the software's intended-use, any unexpected behavior is prevented,
and all functionality is fully transparent and clearly explained.

(7) verify there is no malware or similar -- within the software being
downloaded, anyplace on the website, or linked from the site, or linked
from inside any downloaded-software.

(8) verify that the software, website, business, and
business-model, do not violate other google policies.

see also


"Unsupported content free desktop software" - site suspended

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I just got a response from Google. The site has been re-enabled and the ad re-enabled. I guess there was nothing wrong with it after all. I got a smiley, but no explanation. 

"Unsupported content free desktop software" - site suspended

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I didn't receive an email from Google. They really never sent me one. But now they re-enabled my site and my ad, but there was no explanation of why it was suspended (other than the status popup), nor why I didn't get an email - they just said that it was ok (I changed absolutely nothing). I did get a smiley though.

"Unsupported content free desktop software" - site suspended

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 5
Top Contributor

first, thank you for the update and that sounds like good news.

suspensions are usually indicated by an account policy-flag/message and email.

check for any email filters, security software, or similar, that
may be blocking any (future) messages, sent from google.

however, if there is no email, then simply contact google directly so that
the support-specialists can investigate the flag and any potential issues.

"Unsupported content free desktop software" - site suspended

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I did follow up with Google and they said they do not send an email in this case.



They said that "free desktop software" is not a violation for which they send out a express email warning, because it is an egregious violation and causes an immediate suspension. So, it's true that I never received an email. The site was just immediately suspended. And it took me 2 days to get the violation flag removed. 


Like I mentioned, our application, is an SPA web application and does behave very much like a desktop application, but it's also stated very clearly that it's 100% a web application. Anyways, verything is now corrected and fine. So.. in conclusion:


- Google can suspend your site without warning even without an email, and without explanation.

- Google sometimes is wrong about the suspension.

- Seems to be just "tough luck" in this case - we have lost potential customers because of it.