Google seems to have decided it doesn’t want the money from many people using AdWords to drive traffic to thin affiliate sites, which it’s already been penalising out of its organic results for several years. The move became clear on Friday 25 September 2009, as noted here, when AdWords advertisers were sent the following abrupt message:
Your Google AdWords account has been suspended due to multiple submissions of poor quality landing pages. We are unable to revoke your account suspension, and we will not accept advertisements from you in the future.
Please note that our support team is unable to help you with this issue, and we ask that you do not contact them about this matter.
As I understand it, the result is that the account owners can still log into their accounts, but everything’s been stopped and there’s nothing which can be added.
Fortunately, I’ve never really tried this sort of stuff anything other than playfully, so it won’t affect me, but this must hurt a lot of people who aren’t exactly Google’s worst enemies. As a publisher, Google is quite within its rights to accept advertising from whoever it wishes, and in general, I’d applaud any publisher which is selective about who it’s prepared to do business with. However, I suspect that as is usual with Google, this latest move has probably been applied by some clumsy algorithm, also rejecting many advertisers whose material didn’t particularly detract from the user experience. Google has a track record of not being concerned about collateral damage from friendly fire.
In fact, on a number of occasions in the past, I’ve found that the AdWords > Affiliate Site > Vendor path has got me to the product I want to buy in two clicks, where the organic results were showing nothing and the vendor was nowhere to be seen in the AdWords column. Perhaps Google hopes the move will inspire the vendors to invest more in AdWords to make up for the loss of affiliate traffic, but I can’t believe many vendors have the resources in-house to put in the time and care identifying the opportunities which the affiliates do.