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AdWords Bug Caused Huge Losses/Google Won't Refund

[ Edited ]
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I've been a loyal Google AdWords client for many years now with over $950,000 spent on Adwords..

I am a constant user of the AdWords Copy/Paste feature for my campaigns.. Recently I was doing my usual copy/paste of a campaign.. Like my previous campaigns, I expected a full copy/paste of the settings.. I was perfectly content with my settings in the campaign being copied, so I simply let the pasted campaign run, while making small changes in my bids over the next few hours..

As I do daily, every few hours, I check my email for website form submissions.. I was shocked to see a huge amount of 'useless non-order' submissions from countries and locations I never targeted or previously had set to perhaps a 90% less bid amount (as to pay as little as possible for these undesirable countries) from my web site.. I couldn't figure out why these countries were submitting on my site, as I can't even accept payment from most of them..

I went into my pasted campaign and noticed all of my country settings were wiped out and 'All Countries' were set at my bids reserved for USA clients.  From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, I was paying $5+ a click for thousands of keywords.

After much research, I discovered that there is an AdWords Bug that deletes all country settings from pasted campaigns when one has more than 1,000,000 countries already entered in enabled or paused campaigns.  I discovered this by trying to add a country manually to the pasted list.. it would not let me and said I already had 1,000,000 records and needed to delete some before adding additional countries.  Great.. unfortunately, no such notification appears when one copy/pastes the campaigns and it simply wipes out all countries and sets to 'All Countries' at maximum bids.

Here's the kicker.. there is absolutely NO notification of this.  The Bulk Edit shows a 100% copy/paste, there is absolutely no 'red notification or warning'.  I trusted the bulk edits notification of 'no failures' and let the campaign run live..

There is absolutely zero notification that my country settings would be wiped out and that the AdWords Pasted campaign would delete all my country settings and set my max bids to max bidding amount at ALL Countries and locations worldwide..

I called AdWords support and they acknowledged the bug and said they were working on a fix.. but refused to refund me the hundreds and hundreds of dollars in losses and only a partial amount, because they claim, this was 'legitimate traffic' and that I am responsible for checking all of my setting for campaigns before making them live.  Literally my campaigns have hundreds of unique and distinct settings and they are claiming, every time I paste a campaign, I am responsible for checking every single one of them before making it live?

I thought a copy/paste was a 100% copy/paste.  According to them, this is not the case and I am responsible if the copy/paste malfunctions.. even if it reports a 100% success on the bulk edits screen.. 


They essentially said that I should have spent hours checking each and every setting on my copied campaign before making them live, each and every time I did this, to prevent this from happening in the future.  Essentially, they admitted there is a fault in the copy/paste feature causing malfunctioning pastes to allowed to be copied when they shouldn't, and indicate that since it is 'actual legitimate traffic from google users', that I have to pay for it.


Okay for the future.. but this never happened to me before.  What about the losses from this bug already incurred?  I thought a copy/paste.. was a 100% copy/paste.  Apparently now I know it is not all the time and I am responsible for the malfunction of AdWords..

I find this answer to be unacceptable.  This is a clear Adwords bug.. they even acknowledged this to exist and are working on a fix.. but they claim I should have to pay because I am responsible for checking the settings before making a campaign live.. and there is nothing further they can do.  The technical team made the final decision.  I asked to escalate it to a manager and they said, there is nothing further they can do.  They are working on a fix and to make sure I check all settings of my pasted campaigns before making them live to prevent this in the future.

What do you guys think about this?

2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: AdWords Bug Caused Huge Losses/Google Won't Refund

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Well... This is a peer to peer community, so we cannot comment on the specifics of the case since we don't have access to the account.

However, two points; (IMHO)

  • I don't see the benefit of targeting that many countries in a single campaign.
  • And, I do agree with Google: double  checking the correct settings of a campaign before launching (especially with a high spend) is the practice  to follow, and  it is the user's responsibility.
Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: AdWords Bug Caused Huge Losses/Google Won't Refund

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
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I'm sorry, but I don't understand this response? It does not relate at all
to my concerns of what happened.

Of course I did not target all those countries. The Google malfunction
out my country settings and percentage amounts and simply placed All
at maximum bids in the settings screen without telling me.

I copy and paste dozens of campaigns daily for testing. Are you saying I
check the hundreds of unique features for every single campaign each and
time for each copy/paste campaign?

Shouldn't the copy/paste work as as copy/paste should?

AdWords Bug Caused Huge Losses/Google Won't Refund

Rising Star
# 4
Rising Star

@Robert s


I certainly understand your frustration. However, I am surprised to hear them admit it is a "bug" when it is clearly an established account maximum.  Please see the targeting limits section here:


Copy and paste should work, but it shouldn't violate any of these maximums.

Even if it were a bug, the terms and conditions you agreed to when you opened the account stated you're not going to hold them liable for anything that goes wrong.


I'd accept the partial refund and move on.  Delete campaigns you aren't using, or even open a second account.

Re: AdWords Bug Caused Huge Losses/Google Won't Refund

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Yes, that is the issue at hand. I have copied over 600 campaigns this year
and all of them
100% did a copy/paste of correctly.

Then without any notification, any warning, any error, only the bulk edits
screen showing
a 100% successful copy/paste, my country settings were wiped out and it set
the campaign
to 'All Countries' at Maximum Bids.

There are hundreds of settings to check in a campaign. With 600
copy/pasted previously
without issue, why would I think even for one second to check the Country
settings in a

I understand this now.. but my concern are the losses that incurred
originally when this
happened. Should I really be responsible for these losses when AdWords
wiped out my
country settings without any notification to me of any kind that this

I was told the copy/paste completed 100% correctly and it did not. It did
not import my
country settings and instead chose 'All Countries' at maximum bids..
something I never
had on my original campaign that was being copied from.

If the bulk edit screen says a 100% copy/paste with no fails and there is
no warning or
notification, should I not have assumed that the campaign copied correctly?