Sunday, 4 March 2012

A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma - part 3

Mention Google's 'User Deception' policy to a friend of mine and you'll see steam coming out of his ears.  He is one of those who was caught out by the subtleties (or obscurities) of meaning in this policy.  Now, I have to say that this friend - let's call him Peter - is as honest as the day is long and will go out of his way to to do things ethically and fairly.  So, when Google told him that he had been suspended - and when he discovered why - he was appalled.

Peter had only recently gone into internet marketing.  He's a professional man, now retired, and had thought that he might share his knowledge and experience in his own field via a website.  He set one up and ran a successful short adwords campaign (based on Armand Morin's Secret PPC method) to drive people to the site.

Some time later, he signed up for Simon Coulson's Internet Cashflow course and found it both interesting and useful.  It was certainly something he'd recommend to other people, so he decided to promote the course as an affiliate.  And it seemed the obvious thing to promote it via Google adwords, using the same method as before.

Now, Armand's method requires the use of banner ads and, when you submit a banner ad to Google, you have to wait for it to be approved, unlike the ordinary line ads which go live as soon as they're submitted.  And so Peter discovered that he'd been banned not for running an ad that was contrary to policy but simply for submitting one for approval!  Believing that it must have been the wording of his ad that was at fault, he replied to the email from Google, explaining that this was a genuine mistake and asking them to reconsider.

The reply Peter received from Google was uncompromising.  He read in growing disbelief that his account had been suspended "due to submissions of ads that promote an Unacceptable Business Practice - get rich quick.  In response to the many complaints that we have received from users and publishers, we've decided not to allow ads which promote "get rich quick" sites."

How, he wondered, could a website which offered a year-long course, involving a considerable amount of study and work, be considered a 'get rich quick' site?  True, Simon Coulson promotes the course as being the system that he used to make £2 million and that his students have used to make considerable incomes, but does that make it a 'get rich quick' system?  Simon has made over £2 million and a number of his students have done extremely well using this system, so he's only stating what is true.

Once again Peter contacted Google, explaining that he had assumed (wrongly, it appeared) that a 'get rich quick site' was one that was underhand or was trying to pull the wool over people's eyes by promising them something that was unnattainable - for example, £20,000 in the first week with only half an hour of work a day.  He pointed out why, while Simon Coulson's site truthfully said that large incomes could be achieved with this system, there was no suggestion that this would be achieved quickly.  Google was unmoved.  However, he was told that if he 'changed the wording on the website' his case might be reconsidered.  When he replied that it was not his website, he was told there was nothing that could be done.

So there he was, banned for life for innocently trying to promote a perfectly genuine website selling a course which he had found very helpful.  And from what he has heard since, many internet marketing sites have met the same fate.  If you Google 'make money online', the ads that come up are all concerned with gambling or modelling for 'sexy cam' sites.  Personally, I'd rather see ads about internet marketing courses.

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