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Issue with feed violation - but competitors doing same without issue

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# 1
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After two weeks of back and forth pertaining to our shopping feed for an online retailer, we just concluded a call with an account rep who told us that if we want to ensure that our top performing products are going to go back online and remain there, we have no alternative but to advertise our standard pricing - and offer our coupons through a promotional setup.  These are those that come through as 'special offer'.  
That's fine -- however to the consumer, this will result in our pricing showing up sometimes 40% (or more) higher than our competitors, for a product that is exactly the same.
Meanwhile, said competitors continue to practice methods of advertising that are clearly in violation of the same advertising policies that have triggered the issues with our ads. That issue is that we advertise with the coupon price applied.  Upon arriving at one of our landing pages, the consumer will see the standard price, with the coupon highlighted right next to it.  However, you must apply a code for the lower price point to be applied upon checkout.  This is no different and is - in fact, easier than what competitors are doing.  And we have already submitted a complaint to Google through the proper channels against those competitors.
This scenario is really no different than being at Foodtown - and seeing two like products side by side, one allowed to show their sale price (our competitor(s) ), and for the other (us) you have to go to the register to discover the sale price - as that is our only recourse at this time.  To get the top performing products back online, we had to revise the feed so that the product price is shown, without the coupon applied.  It is completely unfair.  Further, we are being told that we have to live with the fact that our competitors can continue to advertise in ways we are told we cannot - until such time that Google 'gets to' the competitor(s) and flags them as well. Which could be tomorrow, or never.
Can someone help us out here?  This is not how a fair market competition happens and I am shocked that Google is not able to handle it more swiftly and efficiently.
1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Issue with feed violation - but competitors doing same without iss

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

both the description of the current (pricing) policies and the assessment
of the reported policy violations, seem well articulated and sound correct.

generally, the price submitted and displayed on the site must match exactly --
for best results, only one item with one, single, price should exist on the link
landing-page; the merchant-promotions-program may be used to augment
the ad's price and the price during the item's checkout-flow.

websites and submitted data may be randomly reviewed for policy issues --
google may disapprove an item or feed or suspended a website or account
at any time; any single serious violation, a violation that is not addressed with
a long-term fix in a timely manner so that the issue does not reoccur, or multi

violations over time, can result in  a permanent suspension from the program.

potential policy violations by others may be reported directly to google --
there is no set time for how long a policy investigation may take and the
progress, status, or final resolution, of any investigation typically will not
be shared with anyone but the merchant who is under investigation.

this is mainly a peer-to-peer community but google does read forum posts.


that being said, there are other campaign-types and ad-formats that are
available and might be a better fit for advertising certain sites and items.

Re: Issue with feed violation - but competitors doing same without iss

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# 3
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Thanks Celebird. Yes, that makes sense overall. This client has been very profitable. We began managing the account in January - and it is quite large and -- it was quite disorganized. We were really hitting our stride - notching a 13% YoY increase during the month of August - until this occurred. The problem is not so much in the fact that we need to make the adjustment, but that others we are competing directly against - who are advertising a lower price through their shopping ads - are not being flagged as this client is. The result of that being the client's price typically showing up as 15-25% higher than said competitors. If the consumer now hovers the ad, they will see the note on a 15% discount. That said, initial perception is everything. With that in mind, it does not surprise that since this happened, our conversions have dropped by a whopping 35% on shopping campaigns. And there is no end in sight - as we are being told that there is NO TIMELINE on when the complaint of competitor activity as described will be addressed, and -- hopefully, the playing field being leveled off. Bad position for our client to be in. We will keep ringing the bell and looking for the right person inside Google to whom we can bring this to their attention.

Re: Issue with feed violation - but competitors doing same without iss

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

first, you're welcome and thank you for the added details.

typically, google does not compare merchants against other merchants who
seem to be violating the same similar policies and have not been caught yet,
are currently under investigation, who have been flagged but their items are
not fully removed from the auctions yet, or any other similar circumstances --
merchants are usually assessed in isolation, compared to the published policies.

importantly perhaps, be certain any adjustments, that are designed to fix

a disapproval, are all encompassing and demonstrate that a long-term fix

has been implemented; such that, the same similar issue will never reoccur.

any single serious violation, any single violation that is
not fixed in a timely manner, or any repeated violations --
especially for the same similar issue -- can result in a
permanent suspension from the program, at any time.

Re: Issue with feed violation - but competitors doing same without iss

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# 5
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Thank you Celebird for following up and for providing this insight. We'll be checking out your site BTW.