Last night I received an email from Google Adwords about one of my accounts. The message stated that some of my URL’s were in violation of their “Landing Page and Site Policies”.
If you’ve received one of these messages then you know the sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you see that subject line:
“Your Adwords account: Warning of possible suspension”
But upon opening the message I was relieved to see that the two sites they mentioned were VERY old sites that were not even active. In fact, after a brief investigation I found that I didn’t even own the domains anymore. I had let them expire and they’d been picked up by someone else who had built their own sites on them.
Plus the campaigns that were “In Violation” had not been active for 2 years!
I didn’t even know they were there because of the way Adwords is set up by default.
So I slept well last night confident that this morning I would simply hop on the phone with Adwords, explain that the campaigns had not been active for 2 years and that I should have deleted them but forgot to and that I didn’t even own the sites anymore.
Any rational company would look at the situation and say “No problem… just delete the campaigns and all is well!”
And I should note, this is an account I have managed for quite a few years spending about $25-$30k per month (I know… chump change for Google).
So this morning I hopped on the phone and was immediately connected to an Adwords Support Specialist and here is a summary of the conversation…
CONVERSATION WITH ADWORDS:
Adwords: Hi… How can I help… blah blah blah.
Me: [INSERT PLEASANTRIES HERE]… I received an email about a possible account suspension on one of my accounts but it’s a misunderstanding and I want to clear it up. You see, the two campaigns that are in violation of your landing page policy have not been active for about two years. In fact, I didn’t even realize they were still in the account because they were buried in the inactive ad groups. I don’t even own these domains… I let the them expire and someone else registered them and built new sites on them. So I would like to just delete these campaigns from my account since they should not be there anyway.
Adwords: I understand. Our policy states that if a site is found in violation of our landing page policies you must make the site compliant.
Me: But I just want to delete the ad groups. I don’t want to advertise these sites. I don’t own them anymore.
Adwords: I understand, but our policy states that if a site is found in violation of our landing page policies you must make the site compliant.
Me: Okay but I no longer own the sites so making them compliant is not an option. What will happen if I do just delete the ad groups?
Adwords: I understand but our policy states that if a site is found in violation of our landing page policies you must make the site compliant and if you delete the campaign or ad group before making the changes your account can be suspended.
[Blood Pressure Is Now Spiking]
Me: So how would you recommend I make these sites compliant if I no longer own them?
Adwords: You should contact whomever owns these sites and ask them to make them compliant.
Me: So you really think if I contact someone out of the blue and ask them to make their site compliant to appease Adwords (which they obviously do not use) and save my Adwords account they are going to listen?
Adwords: [pause]… Probably not.
Me: So you can see my predicament right?
Adwords: Yes… But our policy states that if a site is found in violation of our landing page policies you must make the site compliant.
Me: So what would you recommend as the “Adw0rds Expert” here?
Adwords: Well I guess you should just delete the campaigns and then if your account gets suspended you could try explaining your situation and maybe they will lift the suspension.
Me: Will that work?
Adwords: Well our policy states that if a site is found in violation of our landing page policies you must make the site compliant so I am not sure. Is there anything else I can help you with today?
Adwords: After the call ends you will be asked to take a short customer satisfaction survey!
Me: Your kidding right?
I am not going to lie… I really did want to sling some verbal abuse her way purely for self gratification but I am pretty sure if I did she had access to “The Button” that would instantly wipe any record of me off the Internet so it took every ounce of self control but I kept my mouth shut.
The Lesson I Want Everyone To Learn…
I did learn a hard lesson here and wanted to make sure you don’t get caught in the same situation…
If you have an Adwords account and have paused a campaign or ad group and you do not intend to turn it back on, make sure all traces of it are deleted because if you let the domain expire and someone else picks it up and builds a site on it YOU could be penalized for something you have NO control over.
And as you can see from my pleasant experience, Google has a set of rules that they follow… even when they make no sense whatsoever.
Had a similar experience? Know how to solve my predicament? ;-)… I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.