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Question regarding Merchant Center and Prohibited products

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi All, 

 

I have not set up anything with regards to the Merchant Center, but I read the TOS regarding prohibited products, and this has a huge question mark for me. My company sells a number of Emergency Preparedness Items, As well as First Responder Tools. In both of these there are pocket knives, now, the question I have is does Google consider them to be "weapons" which would be a violation of the best practices and prohibited items. The reason I have to ask about this is because the knives I carry have no legal restrictions in the US and I only sell in the US. I have verified all the laws in all 50 states, and the knives are all under designated size that would put them into a restricted category. Under the law the ones I carry may be bought, carries, used by anyone, of any age, provided they do not have the intention of using the pocket knife as a weapon to cause bodily harm. That is the only time the laws govern these knives. So, Does google ban the sales of these items in their merchant center? This majorly confuses me because there are a ton of people selling pocket knives and other knives using the Google Marketplace which Im not sure if that is anything similar to the merchant center. Usually Merchant anything refers to the credit card processor, but Google seems to offer inventory ads, product listings, product reviews etc via the merchant center, so I am really not sure where to go with this issue. I am hoping someone can help me out here. Thanks! (my site is not live yet but if you want to see the types of knives to help answer this questions, www.eutopiantrader.com THIS IS NOT AN ADVERTISEMENT AS THE SITE CAN NOT PROCESS PAYMENTS OR ORDERS! Once I get all this stuff worked out, then I can go live Smiley Happy  Thanks all 

2 Expert replyverified_user
1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions
Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by MosheTLV (Top Contributor)
August

Re: Question regarding Merchant Center and Prohibited products

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

(a) inventory items listed under google's google-shopping
domain are all paid shopping-ads -- payment is per click.

 

google-shopping is not a marketplace per se --

purchases happen through the merchant's site,

not directly on google-shopping.

(b) merchant's who wish to use paid shopping-ads,
must submit their on-hand physical inventory, as
a data-feed, using the google-merchant-center.

(c) google-merchant-center is simply an umbrella tool,
that helps merchants upload their physical inventory,
and other data, to help promote products.

there is a similar-named google-service that allows for, and is related to,

payment, payment-flow, credit-card-processing, google-payments-center,

and google-play -- however, that service has nothing whatever to do with

the google-merchant-center for submitting data, for paid-advertising, or

this forum; the two services simply have very similar names.

(d) knives that are designed as -- or promoted as -- products,
that can be used to injure an opponent in sport, self-defense,
or combat, violate the policies and are grounds for disapproval
or (permanent) suspension from the ad-program at any time.

 

typically, if the preponderance of inventory on a site

tends toward knives, or similar physical items, or any

content on a site tends toward a dangerous context,

either will likely trigger a ban of the site, or merchant,

or both, at any time, depending on the details.


(e) seeing similar items within google-shopping
does not necessarily mean that anyone at google
has inspected the items or website for a policy
violation -- google may disapprove an item or
suspended an account, site, business-entity,
or advertiser/merchant, at any time.

potential policy violations by others may be reported directly to google.

(f) google-merchant-center is used for many other product promotions features --
in addition to shopping-ads; e.g. dynamic-remarketing-ads, local-inventory-ads,
adwords-express-local-inventory-ads, the google-merchant-promotions-program,
google-customer-reviews-program, product-ratings, etc.

suspensions for shopping (ads) only affect participation in paid shopping-ads;
the merchant-center-account and participation in other programs, such as
google-customer-reviews, will not be suspended as a direct result of any
shopping-ad suspension -- and vice versa.

that said, the promotion of weapons is generally forbidden
across all google paid ads, campaign-types, and ad-formats --
being suspended for such issues, for shopping-ads, is an
indicator that the suspension will likely be quite broad.

View solution in original post

Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by MosheTLV (Top Contributor)
August

Re: Question regarding Merchant Center and Prohibited products

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

(a) inventory items listed under google's google-shopping
domain are all paid shopping-ads -- payment is per click.

 

google-shopping is not a marketplace per se --

purchases happen through the merchant's site,

not directly on google-shopping.

(b) merchant's who wish to use paid shopping-ads,
must submit their on-hand physical inventory, as
a data-feed, using the google-merchant-center.

(c) google-merchant-center is simply an umbrella tool,
that helps merchants upload their physical inventory,
and other data, to help promote products.

there is a similar-named google-service that allows for, and is related to,

payment, payment-flow, credit-card-processing, google-payments-center,

and google-play -- however, that service has nothing whatever to do with

the google-merchant-center for submitting data, for paid-advertising, or

this forum; the two services simply have very similar names.

(d) knives that are designed as -- or promoted as -- products,
that can be used to injure an opponent in sport, self-defense,
or combat, violate the policies and are grounds for disapproval
or (permanent) suspension from the ad-program at any time.

 

typically, if the preponderance of inventory on a site

tends toward knives, or similar physical items, or any

content on a site tends toward a dangerous context,

either will likely trigger a ban of the site, or merchant,

or both, at any time, depending on the details.


(e) seeing similar items within google-shopping
does not necessarily mean that anyone at google
has inspected the items or website for a policy
violation -- google may disapprove an item or
suspended an account, site, business-entity,
or advertiser/merchant, at any time.

potential policy violations by others may be reported directly to google.

(f) google-merchant-center is used for many other product promotions features --
in addition to shopping-ads; e.g. dynamic-remarketing-ads, local-inventory-ads,
adwords-express-local-inventory-ads, the google-merchant-promotions-program,
google-customer-reviews-program, product-ratings, etc.

suspensions for shopping (ads) only affect participation in paid shopping-ads;
the merchant-center-account and participation in other programs, such as
google-customer-reviews, will not be suspended as a direct result of any
shopping-ad suspension -- and vice versa.

that said, the promotion of weapons is generally forbidden
across all google paid ads, campaign-types, and ad-formats --
being suspended for such issues, for shopping-ads, is an
indicator that the suspension will likely be quite broad.

Question regarding Merchant Center and Prohibited products

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

See that is where the confusion comes in quite often here. I have my own ECommerce site, I have a Merchant Account (Credit Card Processor) and have no issues there, as my company went through a Risk Assessment Review with Stripe, and they found nothing offensive on the site. When it comes to pocket knives, this is generally a subject in which each company has different rules for. Some do not consider them weapons, for the same reason that they don't consider kitchen cutlery weapons, and there in-lies my problem. Most of what I sell are either used for survival situations (Not self-defense) while the majority are "Rescue Pocket Knives" and they are considered rescue tools by first responders because they have a built in window breaker and seat belt cutter. If the rule is based on the fact of the item being used to harm another, then technically they should not allow kitchen knives, forks, screwdrivers, etc. As each one of those can be used in that manner. As for the knives I carry, they are not even regulated legally or by age. A 9 year old can legally purchase a pocket knife from any outdoors store because they can be used for fishing (just an example) and there is no law against that. The only time the law plays in is when the overall length is greater than 9 inches or the Blade is greater the 4 inches, then that 9 year old must transport that knife in a locked enclosure but he can still purchase one. So I guess that is why I understand your reply, but I whole heartily disagree with the premise. You can call anything a weapon, and I will guarantee that those that set the rules and ban accounts that sell them, would be great-full that the first responder that arrived on the scene of his car accident had a rescue knife to get him from the vehicle entrapment. So, I guess for now, I will stay away from creating my account, but I will definitely look to Google for greater understanding. Do they have a tool where you can provide your product list and it can tell you if it is valid  / prohibited or whatever? That would be really useful in this case. 

 

 

Thank you for your reply!! Smiley Happy

Question regarding Merchant Center and Prohibited products

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

first, you're welcome.

google-merchant-accounts, related to payment-flow or card-processing,
are unrelated to the google-merchant-center for paid-advertising, and
have separate rules and policies for partipation in their programs --

what may be allowed in one may not be allowed in the other.

google's policies for paid-advertising exist on their own --
there is some overlap with google's overall corporate rules.

for paid ads, the typical criteria related to such products, center around
how items are described, such as on the website, or within the inventory
listings submitted for ads, and the physical inventory, promoted on the site,
taken as a whole -- for example, a website with mostly knives would likely
be suspended, eventually.

however, this is mainly a peer-to-peer community;
forum-members can mainly offer suggestions --
google is the final arbiter of all policies.

currently, there is no such tool related to pre-screening a site or ad --
a best-practice is to review all the rules and policies, for the business,
business-model, business-practices, supply-chains, physical inventory,
shipping and delivery, the website, e-commerce, and all submitted-data,
before creating any ad-campaign, creating a merchant-center-account, or
submitting inventory data, using the merchant-center, for shopping-ads.

see also
https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/6149970
https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/6363310

https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/6008942

 

Question regarding Merchant Center and Prohibited products

Top Contributor
# 5
Top Contributor

John,

 

The short answer is you won't know until you try. Google uses automated tools which can look at the language used on your site to determine eligibility and it isn't perfect, as well as humans who have to interpret policies that could be depend on the person's viewpoint. What is legal to sell and what Google accepts are very different things. Google is more cautious than the law. 

 

If other sites that have the same products are on Google Shopping, you should be OK.