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  • NegBox 6:56 pm on June 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FTC, Google   

    FTC Complaint on AdWords Ban – Yes, I’m still banned 

    Google’s final response to the San Jose BBB case was this:

    We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and we are unable to provide any additional information. Google reserves the right to disable any ads when deemed necessary per the AdWords Terms and Conditions: https://adwords.google.com/select/tsandcsfinder. Again, we apologize for any frustration. Your AdWords account will remain suspended unless you have the ability to edit the content of the sites for which you were previously advertising.

    The whole thing is pretty insulting.

    Over the past few days there were some really great comments on the original post – with some really good ideas.

    Since the BBB channel got nowhere, I decided to file a complaint with the FTC – Federal Trade Commission. The FTC doesn’t attempt to resolve individual complaints – at the same time the FTC can do a lot to solve everyone’s complaints about something like AdWords and their practices – especially as Google gets as big as it is now. The only way for that to happen, though, would be for them to get a bunch of complaints, not just two. I’ll put in my grain of sand and wait for the avalanche. Maybe the FTC will get a hundred complaints over three years and act like they got them all last Tuesday – playing the same time-distortion games Google plays with everyone else.

    In case you’re interested, and it helps you file your complaint, here is the full text of the complaint I filed.

    Google AdWords service is using misleading and deceptive language, policies and practices with regards to suspending accounts. Furthermore they offer as a way of resolving AdWords service problems a course of action that is either impossible (modify sites you dont own) or would involve committing a crime. They offer no real recourse. They bar you from their advertising program as an individual, for life, and mark accounts that may be associated to your person. This does make me a less valuable professional in real life. If this was the corner coffee shop, that would not be a problem. The problem arises when Google uses these policies that provide no realistic recourse, and at the same time controls the great majority of search traffic worldwide.

    I filed a case with Google’s local BBB (the San Jose BBB, case #<withheld>) and received Google’s final reply of  “Your AdWords account will remain suspended unless you have the ability to edit the content of the sites for which you were previously advertising.”  These sites they are referring to are sites I dont own and Im not trying to advertise at all – It has been over two years since I advertised those sites. Google is knowingly acting in a devilishly deceptive manner, while ruining my good name and barring me from their system with no recourse.

    Google AdWords is taking permanent and continued action starting June 2011, based on events that took place at least a year ago, which merited a warning in 2010. Google unilaterally escalated the perceived severity of past actions and provides as a possible way of resolution an avenue which Google fully understand is impossible to execute. While Google’s explanations seem rational (‘fix the website’), and it may fully fit within the processes Google has defined, that doesn’t take away nor satisfactorily explain nor resolve the material facts that Google has permanently suspended me personally based solely on activity that took place a year ago, which they reviewed in due time a year ago, and provide no viable course of action to resolve the dispute amicably. “Fixing” a website I don’t own is not a viable course of action and Google insists that is their only acceptable means of resolution, and puts the onus on me. Google is knowingly asking to perform an impossible task, so Google can bar me from their system with the deceptive claim that I am unwilling to fulfill their requirements for compliance.

    Google continually cites they “Reserve the right to disable any ads…” That is not an issue here. The issue is that they are barring me for life with no recourse; that is not the same as reserving the right to disable non-compliant ads.

    Please give me a call if you have further questions.

    To file a complaint with the FTC, just go here and click the big “FTC Complaint Assistant” graphic.

    You’ll need a bit of Google’s business details, which they kindly provided via the BBB, and are these:

    Google, Inc.
    1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy
    Mountain View, CA 94043-1351
    Phone: (650) 330-0100

    Have fun!

    6/22/11 update: Don’t forget to also file your complaint with your state’s Attorney General. You can find your states attorney general webpage (and their online complaint form) right here in the National Association of Attorneys General directory or just Slash it with blekko.

     
    • Luke 12:47 am on June 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I just found your post while searching online. The same thing happened to me, but the ads they banned me for were 7 years old.

      I wrote up the whole ordeal here: http://www.everstatus.com/03/29/google-bans-11-year-old-adwords-account-over-deleted-ads/

      I would suggest possibly filing a complaint with your state Attorney General. They have been instrumental in banding together to lobby the FTC to take action.

      Google has an amazing amount of hubris at the moment and it will probably take regulatory action to bring any sort of change.

      • NegBox 6:11 pm on June 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        @Luke, great post on your blog – Thank you. I’ve just finished filing a complaint with my state’s Attorney General. I think I have a contact into his office too – Yummy! I knew I was forgetting something.

        Google is controlling a monopolistic-level share of something extremely valuable to citizens: The index to the internet. You either self-regulate and keep complaints low, or get doggy-banged by the government. It isn’t rocket science, the same deal has played out dozens of times before, yet it seems it takes more than a thousand PhDs to figure out.

    • Bil Smith 8:21 pm on June 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve lost a handful of Adwords accounts over the years but it never really bothered me to be honest, but what they’re doing now is ridiculous. I lost accounts because I was doing things I shouldn’t have been doing – knowingly, no less – not because of something that I promoted half a decade ago that changed without any input from me. Google is the 600 pound gorilla in the room and they’ve relied on that to pull this kind of crap. Hopefully if enough people complain to the right people, something will finally be done.

      • NegBox 8:47 pm on June 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Bil, that’s exactly the issue. You get banned for being sly… Fine. Move on or try again. You can’t complain. You get banned for nothing, and suddenly you’re on a crusade to avenge the wrong, embodied in the monstrous Googlezilla. Human nature at its best. What makes it most fun to watch is Google’s uncompromising out-of-this-planet idea of customer service and public opinion, which goes along the lines of “What customers?” – Behaving as if the world were static and timeless, or that an impenetrable shell can be created is, in one word: Solipsistic.

    • Matt 12:59 pm on August 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      any update on this post? curious if the gov-types made any mention of receiving your info.

      • NegBox 11:06 pm on August 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        @matt, they did – I got two letters from my state’s Attorney General. I really don’t expect much. If anything the whole experience is quite liberating. Now instead of trying my best to be a good AdWords advertiser, I try my best to be the sneakiest AdWords outlaw as possible – Way less stressful.

    • Hay 3:30 pm on October 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I too just found out that I am permanently suspended from my adwords account because of two failed campaigns I ran for about a month two years ago. I simply took two campaigns from an affiliate network that I am part of and tried some adwords ads. Guess who lost money? So, I stopped the campaigns and never gave it any more thought. Lo and behold, a few weeks ago i visited my adwords account and found myself PERMANENTLY SUSPENDED!! I emailed the great Internet god and found that I may as well talk to a brick. Certainly I could easily find more common sense talking to a brick. Couldn’t reason at all with them.

      Google insisted that the only way to be re-established was to make changes to the websites (which I NEVER DID OWN, NOR DID I EVER HAVE ACCESS TO THEM). Google is completely, totally, unreasonable and uncaring. They own the internet and set all the rules to suit their own profitability.

      Have you ever noticed that google’s attitude toward anyone trying to make money on the Internet is like you are pond scum (while they scoop in billions after obscene billions). Interesting, eh?

      Google is an INTERNET BULLY of the highest magnitude and the sooner someone legislates them the better. How can the governments of the world stand by and let this monster become even more monstrous?

      • NegBox 3:00 pm on October 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Hey Hay – A giant chunk of the responsibility for the way Google is today falls on us. And by ‘us’ I mean people directly related to technology – I can’t take all the credit, otherwise I’d say “me”.
        We used Google instead of Altavista, Dogpile, or Yahoo – MSN was out of the question since they were the Evil Galactic Empire ruled by Darth Gates. We switched everyone’s default engine from Yahoo to Google. We told everyone about Google. We made Google grow into what it is today. Why? First, they gave us the same shitty results as everyone else, except they had a very clean homepage – while everyone else had shit out the wazoo on their search page – Who wants to load a 1 Megabyte page on a 56K modem? Let alone set it as a default page…. Then Google started giving really good results – Took them YEARS to put out more relevant results than the other engines – Nobody gives a shit about the quality o the results if it takes forever to get them, though – so we all used Google then for its speed and un-cluttered-ness and gave them the chance to get better. Then they added ads to their listings and over time literally fucked us all in the ass and will continue to do so for quite some time… So better go get some K-Y.

    • Gyuri 8:36 am on December 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hey,

      How is your case coming with the FTC? Would love to have some updates.

      • Gyuri 7:43 am on December 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Just raised my FTC complaint. I focused on the fact that Google Adwords is a monopoly for online advertisement, and them banning you for life seriously impairs your prospects to enter the online market which is a necessity for survival. 🙂

        If there would be 4-5 players with 20% market share their ban would not matter, but this way it does. For an FTC complaint you need to focus on monopolistic nature of Google, and why they should not be allowed to ban an advertiser for life.

        • NegBox 10:41 pm on December 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply

          Really “my case” is lob the grenade and run. Not gonna chase the FTC. Now does anyone really believe that because Google doesn’t want me to use their systems, I won’t if I need to? If I had a choice, then I would respect that – When I don’t have a choice, well then I just don’t have a choice.

      • Gyuri 11:43 am on December 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        One more thing I wanted to mention that the Adwords team could simply block questionable URLs in campaigns instead of banning people. This treatment is totally rude. In the US Justice system not even murderers get a permanent ban for life.

    • Gyuri 7:34 am on December 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      One more addition: If you are living in the EU the new data protection scheme will allow individuals the “right to be forgotten” , meaning someone can request the deletion of all personal data, such as IP email etc. This way they wont be able to ban you for life. Screw you Google, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/8388033/Online-right-to-be-forgotten-confirmed-by-EU.html.
      I will be one of hte first person to request this for my Adwords account.

  • NegBox 3:24 am on October 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Google, IRC, ,   

    You’re About to Get Screwed, and You Know It 

    In one sentence for my ADD friends:

    We are increasingly playing in someone else sandbox, and the limits are starting to show and suck.

    FaceBook

    Largest site on the web. In the future, forget about having a blog outside FB – who will bother reading it when they’re too busy reading the ones already inside FaceBook? Its funny how the pendulum swings – AOL used to be as neutered as Facebook and it died a lonely death, now many of the the same concepts come back in Facebook.

    Here’s a thought: Let’s create a distributed trust protocol so we can build a Facebook outside Facebook and fuck Facebook in the Face.

    Twitter

    Huge platform seemingly derived from an IRC service. Some very many years ago IRC was all the rage, we had channels starting with hash # tags, and nicknames and pretty much Twitter without the Twitheads at Twitter. Then IRC died a lonely death for mainstream users – all that’s left there is – for the most part – some die-hards and the royal scum that controls the underbelly of the beast nobody wants to see… bot-nets, pedos, creeps, worms, distros… Its the Mad-Max style nuclear wasteland of the internet. … Then along comes Twitter and the pendulum swings again. They call it microblogging – WTF? It chatting, people, chatting – and all your chats belong to Twitter.

    Here’s another thought: Let’s create a federated chat protocol and layer it on a web interface… Isn’t that one done yet?

    Google

    Remember Altavista? Yeah, I didn’t think so. I’m not sure what is worse – having your content belong to Facebook, Twitter and others, or having the index to your content belong to them. Not only do they determine what gets found and read by the results of their searches, they directly determine what gets purchased when and where – they control the flow of money. I don’t think they’ve realized this yet at least not in a way that is noticeable – and frankly, I don’t really expect most folks reading this to understand how really big numbers of really small things work (scientific fact, most folks are too lazy to think like this) – Google has greater potential influence over the economic outcomes of the US and half the planet than any Illuminati conspiracy theory ever even conceived possible.

    Monopolies suck

    I suppose they suck especially bad when you’re not the owner of the monopoly. I also suppose if the monopoly was mine, I’d be telling everyone how I’m going to bring “Peace and order throughout the galaxy“.

    In closing, nothing – I don’t have any super-stellar words of wisdom here other than: This party ain’t over yet, so bring Vaseline.

     
    • CTRtard 7:02 am on October 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      “…so we can build a Facebook outside Facebook and fuck Facebook in the Face.”

      LOL. But I humbly suggest:

      “…so we can build a Facebook outside Facebook and fuck Facebook right in its fuckin Face.”

      I dunno… maybe one fuck was enough?

      Nice post. Google is taking over the world. They even own my phone.

      • Slave Rat 9:24 pm on October 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Good catch. I must have been in a mellow mood yesterday.

  • NegBox 11:30 pm on July 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Google, Warning   

    FUCK YOU GOOGLE – An Illustrated Love Story 

    Jake, your mother called and she said you kissed Melinda five years ago while we were dating - And now she's pregnant. It must have been you, filthy bastard.

    Woha Mary, that's not true... And why do you bring this up when we're getting along so well?

    Mary, let me call my nosy mom and see what she meant. I'm sure I did nothing wrong!

    See? Like I said...

    SEE! I think it was just a kiss. ONE KISS six months before we met!... We were experiementing. Why are you getting so worked up? Why do you take it so seriously?

    You know what Mary, I'm sick and tired of your High Maintenance stinky ass. I'm leaving - FUCK YOU BITCH!

     
  • NegBox 2:15 am on June 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Google, Google Webmaster Tools, Googlebot,   

    How to Get Google to Index Your Site Once and for All 

    Here’s an idea I tried with Google that worked as far as I could tell… After two weeks of submitting my SEO site via their Webmaster Tools and sending them a good Sitemap.xml (plus the site had the sitemap where it belongs – its a WordPress site), the Google dorkheads were not indexing it – They were downloading the sitemap every couple of hours but telling me they had indexed something ridiculous like ten pages… Out of over a thousand.

    Here’s the bright idea: I noticed back in March that when you create and run an ad on AdWords, you get a visit by the Googlebots… They scan you, they score you and they do other unspeakable things. Here’s a screen capture of the Googlebots as they were scanning my site:

    GoogleBots Scanning my Site

    So I took a CSV file with a list of all my URLs and smacked it into the Adwords Editor, created a new campaign with ridiculously low CPCs and set it to run – Mind you I had to chop up the list since it seems I have some serious limits on my AdWords account, so I put about half the list into it… A few MINUTES later Google reported 747 URLs indexed! Coincidence? You try it and tell me.

     
    • Mike Chiasson 11:00 am on June 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Heh now that you mention it this make sense. I had a few landing pages get indexed and I couldn’t figure out why. I have a domain I use a lot for PPV traffic and so I just will be like mikemaindomain.com/ppv1 and not worry about editing robots.txt since there will be no actual web links to the product. However a few of these got indexed and couldn’t figure out how. However I know I was running some adwords tests on them at some point.

      GREAT TIP though. Thanks for sharing!

  • NegBox 1:37 pm on April 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Google,   

    I Hope Google Chokes on an Antitrust Investigation Soon 

    For some reason, I’m slowly becoming more and more bitter towards Google. It all started nice and well – I loved the Prince Valiant air of the early days. These days, though, I’m going deep into Negative Sentiment Override and I’m seeing everything they do as as either self-serving, manipulative or aggressive.

    The real trigger here is that I’m pissed they charge “API Fees” to advertise with them using anything but their crap. If askjeeves.com charges API fees, they screw themselves. If lycos.com charges API fees, they screw themselves…. When the dominant (90%+) market player charges API fees, they screw YOU. Catch the difference?

    Their latest Blah post includes:

    Introducing preferred AdWords API pricing
    The Google AdWords API allows developers to build applications that interact directly with the AdWords platform. Agencies and developers of search engine marketing tools use these applications to manage large AdWords campaigns more efficiently and creatively.

    Today, we’re announcing preferred AdWords API pricing. This gives qualified Google AdWords Certified Partners who manage client AdWords accounts free use of the AdWords API based on managed client spend. To apply, agencies must have an active agency profile page and be compliant with the AdWords API terms and conditions. We’ll evaluate applications for preferred AdWords API pricing based on the criteria listed here.

    We hope preferred AdWords API pricing will encourage agencies and developers to experiment with new strategies, expand the functionality of their tools, and build more comprehensive client campaigns without worrying about increased costs. You can learn more about preferred pricing and how to apply at the preferred AdWords API pricing site.

    What does this mean? The ones with the big bucks get the big breaks – that isn’t news for anyone, is it? It just doesn’t fit the image of the goody-two-shoes Google: Rob the little advertisers to give the big ones a free ride – all under the auspices of lower cost of maintenance of the relationship and larger business scale.

    Oh, so you guys are looking for feedback? Here it is: Stop screwing the small advertisers! I’m starting to regret having given them the power I gave them, even if it was just an ounce of power to a Kiloton machine.

     
    • Chris Zaharias 2:15 pm on April 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      You got it all wrong, my man. Small advertisers' growth in spend over the years has been so anemic that it's the single biggest impediment to Google's continued growth. The 3rd-party SEM tool providers have never been able to apply their tool to SMB campaigns because the API charges have been prohibitive. Properly-built SMB AdWords campaigns have extremely high API cost / ad budget ratios.
      My recent post Is The Pareto Rule An Understatement in SEM?

    • Mike Chiasson 2:57 pm on April 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hmm I took this one as leveraging an intelligent SEM's account to share the CTR pricing on to their other customers.

      For example if you have an ad that has a 8/10 quality score, it will cost more cpc than a 10/10. Part of that determination of quality score is CTR.

      Since SEMs probably nail more 10/10s than a small business owner, chances are their client's ad can be rated a 10/10 with the increased CTR as opposed to being say a 8/10 from their regular account.

      Still bullshit. but thats the way everything works to give incentives for people not to do it themselves. Saves google time from having to respond to emails (not like they do anyways). Health Insurance companies have done the same thing for years, you get it yourself its more expensive than if you signed up with a group of young people.
      My recent post The March Numbers

      • negbox 6:05 pm on April 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Mike, I think we're talking about different stuff – The API fees are what they charge to access your campaign using third-party tools – Like Tracking202 Pro. Unless I misread their guidelines, they already use quality scores to move your cost-per-click up and down. I seem to remember a video from Google explaining that.

        Your conclusion is still right, though: Google wants to scale by not spending that much money supporting small advertisers.

        Step back for a second and think about that model… Its the exact freaking opposite of the successful Web 2.0 businesses, which finance themselves with the top of the food chain and enable the long tail. You can't entice the "Long tail" advertisers by slapping them with fees!

  • NegBox 3:55 pm on April 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Google, Training   

    AdWords Lab – Ad Innovations Awesome Tools 

    Really interesting stuff on the Google Ad Innovations page. Some very interesting tools and ways to target that I knew nothing about – and I can see myself using most of them!

    Kudos to Ran Aroussi for pointing out this resource in his e-mail list.

     
  • NegBox 3:10 am on April 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apocalypse, , Bing, Google,   

    The Four Horsemen of Googlelypse 

    I just saw this on the left side of a search I did on Facebook:

    Wow… I checked to make sure it wasn’t an app I had installed. It isn’t. I don’t spend that much time on FB but to see that it pulls web search results via Bing instead of Google was a shocker.

    Let me get this straight:

    1 – The FTC approved the search engine market merge between Bing and Yahoo

    2- Bing serves the search results for the #1 traffic site on the web, Facebook

    3- Apple wants to boot Google from it’s iPhone and iPad future and get Bing

    There we have it, the four horsemen of the Googlelypse:

    1. Bing
    2. Yahoo
    3. Facebook
    4. Apple

    Wow… I can’t wait to see what the Google SiniStar comes up with next.

     
  • NegBox 4:44 pm on March 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Google, ,   

    Another conversion last night! Yay!… And I think I figured out what the problem is with Google conversion tracking. I’m a little disappointed I have to tell it the dollar amount that a conversion is worth to me – if I sell more than a single product/variant via Clickbank, its all going to track the same value. How does Yahoo do this? I don’t know, but somehow they figure it out.

     
  • NegBox 2:37 am on March 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Flog, Google, QualityScore, SuiteBuilding   

    This brings me to a little unproven theory I have. I started thinking a while back: How can Google or other search engines tell apart a real Blog from a Flog (Fake blog)? … The answer was staring right at me: Social media. Folks that have a blog have a ton of stuff on it pointing to their other online identities – Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, their Diggs, etc… Flogs don’t. Of course the last site I made has all these “Social Media” extensions. Good/bad, no clue – it just made sense.

     
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