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Today I launched a new website for a client, www.AussieGoatsMilkSoap.com.au – they make natural goats milk soap, apparently really good for sensitive skin – it’s not a plug, just stating the facts :). Whilst deploying the site I started setting up a Google AdWords campaign to promote the site.

I prepared an ad and started writing some ad copy, and put in the website URL and info as typically required. I saved it, but the campaign was not yet active as the billing information wasn’t yet entered. A few minutes later I receive an email from Google with the subject “Your AdWords account: Site(s) violation. I was a little surprised to see this as I’ve set up AdWords campaigns before and never had a problem with violating their guidelines.

The email stated that “one or more of your sites is in violation of our Landing Page and Site Policies.”. As I was in the midst of deploying the site, I figured the site would’ve appeared broken (as it hadn’t finished uploading) when Google’s AdWords bot visited the site to check the landing page URL. As a result of this, the ad campaign was disabled and marked as “disapproved”. I was quite annoyed at this considering the Ad was not yet live. There was no information in the email about the cause of the problem, nor did any useful messages appear in the AdWords console.

I wrote to Google expressing that I wasn’t impressed with how it pre-emptively blocked my campaign before it was live, and sent an email to my client saying the ad campaign was in violation of their terms. I hope they review their landing page checking bot and their policy on blocking sites, as I can imagine many other people could get snagged by this inconvenience, which could be avoided by a simple alteration in the way the Google AdWords bot processes new ads.

“You should’ve deployed the site before creating the ad campaign!”, some of you may say, but even a mis-typed URL could cause the same problem. I believe they should wait until the ad is marked live or ready to publish before initiating any sort of background checking.

If Google reply to my letter, or if I find I goofed something up I’ll let you know!

In the meantime, if you’ve also had a similar experience, share your comments below.

Update 17-Dec-2010

I waited patiently without making any changes to the site or the ads, and on 14-Dec-2010 I received the following email from Google:

Hello Joe, Thank you for your patience. Our specialists have re-reviewed your site and found that it is in compliance with our Landing Page and Site Policies. You should see improvements to your Quality Score soon, reflected by higher Quality Scores for your keywords. We recommend that you continue checking our guidelines and making continuous improvement over time.

Excellent, though why did the bot not approve it in the first place? I tried re-submitting the ads after receiving the email, though it took another 2 days before I got an email with the subject “Your AdWords account: Site(s) approved”.

We have re-reviewed one or more of your sites and found that the sites are no longer violating our Landing Page and Site policies.

The ads are now running without any issues. Thanks Google.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, December 11th, 2010 at 12:04 am and is filed under Search Engine Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Beware of Google’s pre-emptive AdWords landing page checker”

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