The strangest thing happened this morning.
I received an email from Google saying that my Adwords account had been suspended due to a violation of their advertising policy.
First of all, if you don’t know, Google Adwords is a pay-per-click advertising service of Google. When you do a Google search, and you get search results in a yellow box at the top of the results list, or running down the right side of the page, those are paid Adwords ads. When you click on one of them, the owner of the ad is charged for the click based on a large number of arcane and complex parameters that only Google fully understands, and which constantly change, to ensure that only Google fully understands them.
Anyway, I had an internet marketing business a few years ago, and paid thousands of dollars to Google for Adwords clicks. I am no longer operating that business (ran out of money paying for Adwords), so my Adwords account has been inactive for four years. The websites in question have been gone from the ‘net for at least four years, and the domain names have expired and are no longer owned by me, or anyone else that I know of.
So you can imagine my curiosity when I received an email from Google saying that my Adwords account had been suspended because one or more of my websites violated their advertising policy.
I went to Google to find out what this was all about, thinking this must be a mistake, and I could easily straighten all this out because, as I said earlier, the websites in question no longer exist, and have not for at least four years. I opened a chat box with a real, actual Google support rep (who shall remain nameless) and had one of the most bizarre conversations I have ever had with anyone in my life. I can’t remember the exact words we used, but paraphrasing, it went something like this:
I first explained the issue and wondered, since the subject websites had not been in existence for over four years, and my Adwords account had been inactive for the same period of time, what possible violation of advertising policy could have happened? A logical question, or so I thought.
The response was that two of my websites (the rep then told me the domain names) were found to be in violation, and for my Adwords account to be re-instated I had to correct the errors and allow Google to re-evaluate the sites to determine whether or not they would re-instate my Adwords account.
I explained again that the websites and the domains themselves had not existed for over four years. End of problem, right? Not so fast.
Google rep response: “I understand the sites don’t work now, but our policy states that you have to correct the errors and allow us to re-evaluate the sites to determine whether or not we can re-instate your Adwords account.”
Words in ALL CAPS are starting to creep into my typing. I say, “The sites don’t work because they DON’T EXIST anymore! How can I fix errors in websites that don’t exist any more? And if they don’t exist any more than why is this even an issue?”
Google rep response: “I understand that the sites don’t work any more, but our policy states that you have to correct the errors and allow us to re-evaluate the sites. . .”
I fight the very strong temptation to hit the CAPS LOCK key and respond, thinking that the ridiculousness of what I am about to say would cause the Google rep to finally see the insanity of what she was saying, “So you’re telling me I have to re-purchase these domains, purchase hosting for them, and build websites on them so you can evaluate them to determine if they are now in compliance with your policies, and you will then decide whether or not you can re-instate my Adwords account.”
Google rep response: “Yes.”
At that point, I didn’t know whether to laugh hysterically or beat my head against the table.
I responded: “This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of. I want to cancel my Adwords account.”
Google rep: “OK. Can I walk you through how to do that?”
“Please do,” I replied. I think that’s what they wanted all along.
Have a blessed day.