Wednesday, July 18, 2012

AdWords infinitum

I contacted Google AdWords Help on July 17 to find out why the number of impressions for my ad campaign had dropped to zero after generally having been between 1k and 5k impressions per day. I received the following reply July 18.
Dear Advertiser,

We're sorry to hear that you're experiencing difficulties with your AdWords account. It appears that you have some questions about why your ads aren't showing. We checked your account and found that it's currently under review by our specialists. In an effort to provide the best experience for our users and advertisers, some accounts are submitted for review to ensure that they comply with our policies. Your ads won't show during this time, but they'll automatically be eligible to show again as soon as our review is complete.

Sincerely,
The Google AdWords Team
My email reply:
If an advertising account is taken offline to be reviewed, the advertiser should ALWAYS be notified. That is just basic business practice. I interpret from your email that I received this notification only because I contacted AdWords support. I should have been notified of the review before my account was taken offline.

From my experience with individual ad approvals, I've learned that ads of a certain type will languish indefinitely "under review," actually for a week or so, while the rest of the submitted ads are approved within minutes. I interpret this discrepancy as the individual(s) responsible for approval and rejection of ads being unable to reject an ad because it complies with company policies, but because they find this type of ad personally distasteful, they will leave it "under review" until the advertiser gives up and deletes it, effectively rejecting an ad for which a rejection would not otherwise be permitted. I anticipate that my account will undergo the same quasi-rejection as some of my ads have received.

I believe that the activites described above are a serious breach of company policies and that they would be grounds for dismissal of an employee should the activities become known by management. Unless, of course, management is directing the activities.

Thanks very much.
John
What I had been promoting with my AdWords campaign was, primarily, my novel The Talpiot Find, which takes a reasonable approach to examining the controversial topics of the divine inspiration of Scripture and Israel’s traditional claim to the land. The "certain type" of ads that languish indefinitely "under review" are those that promote a T-shirt design I'm selling through Zazzle.com. The design includes an image of a superhero named Captain Uncut who has the title "Defender of Foreskins." At the top of the design is text that reads "No foreskin left behind!" I had developed the design while working on the graphics for Sherwin Carlquist's photography book Uncut, which playfully discusses the medical and social aspects of circumcision and advocates that the custom be abandoned. I thought that a T-shirt displaying the graphic I created for the book's cover would help promote the book. I got my AdWords campaign for my novel up and running in March of this year, and in June I included ads for a few of my items on Zazzle, including a page of assorted Captain Uncut items. Every other ad I created in my AdWords campaign was approved within minutes. Captain Uncut, however, remained under review for about a week, when I contacted customer assistance. The facilitator moved the ad through the system within a few hours. A few days later, I decided that the ad should point to only one item, the T-shirt pictured in the ad, and I changed the URL and resubmitted, thinking that whatever holdup there had been before had been removed by the facilitator. More than a week later, I decided just to delete the edited Captain Uncut ad, which had gotten stuck again "under review."

I could be making a wrong connection between my ad, which could be called anti-circumcision, being blocked and then my entire ad campaign, which primarily promotes my end-the-Israeli-occupation novel, being blocked. But there at least appears to be a unifying theme.

Tune in tomorrow for more AdWords fun.

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