Thursday, July 19, 2012

AdWords infinitum II

AdWords' reply on July 19 to my email of July 18 (see previous post):
Hi John,

I'm sorry about the inconvenience caused to you because disruption to the ad serving. I've escalated your account to expedite the review process and will update you in the next 1-2 business days.

I understand your frustration and I'll pass on your feedback to our specialists and we will keep these suggestions in mind if any future changes happen.

Having said that, I also wanted to point out that account reviews are necessary for various reasons, including account security and billing verification purposes. We conduct reviews as quickly as possible, so that your account can get back up and running. However, due to account volume and the time-sensitive nature of each review, we're unable to proactively notify customers about individual account reviews.

Per our Terms and Conditions ( select/tsandcsfinder), ads can undergo review at any time, and we do not issue credits or refunds for this period of inactivity.

Ad review process

John, I see that you had a concern related to ad approvals and I'm happy to explain that as well. It is possible that certain ads get reviewed quicker than a few others and this may happen because:

-A few ads may have triggers for potential policy violations and they may need specialist review, while others may not have those triggers and will be approved sooner.

In any case we try and complete these ad reviews within 3 business days and if there are any ads that take longer than this, please feel free to write us and we will have them reviewed for you.

Also, please be assured that all ads are reviewed diligently and we ensure that they are in accordance with our advertising policies. I'd assure you that we do not consider any other factors for an ad review other than the policy guidelines. Here's some more information about the ad review process and hope this explains.

Officialspeak. Companyspeak. Sarah reflects the company image. You maintain their goals to live by. Shine your shoes, let's keep a neat haircut now that you're— A coat and tie? Jeans and T-shirt. But anyway. Ms. Sarah, say Ms. Sarah, I have seen you go through a day. You're everything a robot lives for. Walk in at— 9-to-5? Hardly. But anyway, robo-reflecting the company image can come in all shapes and sizes.

I've considered replying again, but I'm just one of, how many?, tens of thousands? of AdWords users, and nothing I say in an email is going to affect corporate policy. I would only annoy a few customer assistance facilitators. The people who actually make policy and design the user experience are safely buffered by customer assistance. If I suggest that, when they take a user's campaign offline, an automated email be sent to the user to inform them, that suggestion would go no further than the customer assistance facilitator who reads it first, and probably not Sarah next time. It's interesting that expediting the review process will still require 1-2 business days for her to get back to me. It's also interesting to read that, if the review of any ads takes more than the expected 3 business days, I should feel free "to write us and we will have them reviewed for you." Did she mean that, if they aren't reviewed in 3 business days, they aren't going to be? Are they left in a pool of unreviewed ads, to be retrieved only for those advertisers who care enough to contact them? That's a great policy. Another suggestion I would offer them, instead of abruptly taking a campaign offline so it can sit in a queue for days, would be rather to wait until a reviewer is available and then take it offline. But would that suggestion reach any influential person? Doubt it.

Sarah assures me that they do not consider any other factors for an ad review other than the policy guidelines. And maybe that's true for her and the group she works with. But given the subject matter of my ads and the history of protectionism and exceptionalism of those associated with the subject matter, I think it's very likely that somewhere in enormous, labyrinthine Google are individuals who've never been taught to think outside the box, never been allowed to think outside the box, who follow an agenda that differs somewhat from that of their employer.

Stay tuned.

Update Friday, July 20, 10:55 pm:

About 10:00 pm tonight, I discovered that my ad campaign was back online. From the number of impressions, I could tell that it hadn't been up for long, maybe an hour. No email from Sarah. No explanation of what they were looking for when they took it offline. No warning that they were going to take it offline or notification when they let it go back online. Google doesn't follow best business practices simply because they don't have to.

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