The Adwords Debacle and How Being On Twitter Saved My Butt

adwords

A couple of months ago I wrote about how Google killed my online business, taking a big chunk out of my monthly revenues, but today I have good news. I have very good news! My Adwords account has been reinstated!

For those of you who didn’t read my previous article about my experience being kicked out of Adwords, let me recap for you. Basically Google suspended my Adwords account because it was violating their landing page guidelines policy. After many email exchanges, Google pretty much told me to F off and that they were done with me, banning my account. Forever.

My Life Without Adwords

For someone who makes money online, being banned from Adwords sucks. I was completely desperate for a few weeks. I had a hard time getting over it as I was trying to deal without it.

I tried MicroSoft Adcenter. The interface is awesome, but the results are very poor. While it does bring a bit of traffic, it just doesn’t compete with Adwords at all.

After a few weeks though, I realized that I didn’t really need Adwords per say. Sure, it really sucked that I couldn’t advertise my sites as much as I wanted to, but I still had my affiliates promoting my sites for me, so I was still making money.

My rough estimate is that without Adwords, I would generate about $3,000/month. Cost of traffic: $0 since it’s all affiliate driven.

With Adwords, I would generate up to $8,000/month. The downside is that I would have to pay $2,000+ in advertising cost. So basically, Adwords just brought in $6,000/month NET.

It’s clear that using Adwords generated more sales and more income but one of the “pervert effect” of using Adwords is that I have to monitor it. I have to look at my clicks, impressions, costs, and everything. This is stressful!

It is stressful on some days when you see you spent $100 in advertising and you sold products for only $50. It was stressful when this situation happened several days in a row and when I was actually losing more money than I was making.

After being banned from Adwords for a while, I didn’t stress about these numbers anymore. If the money was coming in, great. If it wasn’t, well at least I hadn’t spent any. And THAT was the good thing about being banned.

How I Got My Account Reinstated

I owe everything to Twitter. Or I guess I owe everything to how I use Twitter and the connections I made on it.

When I first found out my Adwords account was banned, I tried to figure out if I knew someone at Google. I don’t. Then I thought that maybe I knew someone who knew someone at Google. I sent a tweet asking for help and a few peeps were kind enough to tell me they would pass on my info to their “friend at Google”.

Then I remembered that the Editor for one of the top SEO blogs was following me (mind you, I’m one of the few 600 he follows). I will not give his name here because he might not want to have such requests every day.

So anyways, I DM this person and asked him kindly if he would be able to help me out since he probably knew a lot of people at Google. He replied to me saying that he would do his best to pass the information to someone. A few weeks passed and it seemed my savior had forgotten about it. Then 2 days ago, he emails me saying that he finally sent my info to his contact at Google. Great!

Two days later, I get this email from Google Adwords:

Hello Sebastien,

Thank you for your patience. I wanted to let you know that your AdWords
account and website were escalated for review as requested in your
previous emails. Per our investigation, your account was disabled for the
following Landing Page and Site Quality violation:

Customer ID: xxx-xxx-xxxx
Example URL: xxxxxxxxxxxx.com
LPQ Violation: Webmaster Guideline Violation

To learn more about Webmaster Guideline Violations, please visit
http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/static.py?hl=en&page=guidelines.cs&answer=73762&adtype=text.

Upon re-reviewing your account, we discovered that the violation was
removed. Given this, we were able to re-enable your site
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXx and your account, Customer ID xxx-xxx-xxxx.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Sincerely,

I like the “re-reviewing” part!

Really, if I hadn’t made this connection on Twitter in the first place, I would still be banned from Adwords.

What Now?

When I got this email from Adwords this morning, I literally woke my fiancee up to let her know. She was still sleepy but I could tell that she was very happy to see me happy about it. A few minutes later, after really waking up she asked me “what are you gonna do now?”

I told her that maybe I didn’t need Adwords after all and that we’ve been doing pretty well even without it (the blog for example has been generating great money lately).

Then of course I realized that this was stupid of me to pass on an extra $3,000/month. I don’t mind having the stress of spending money in Adwords if that means I can increase my revenues by 100%.

*Sigh*. I wish I didn’t have to be so dependent on Google.

74 thoughts on “The Adwords Debacle and How Being On Twitter Saved My Butt

  1. I have been without Google Adwords for years as a result of being “being” and I am doing way better than most of my competitors.

    Lesson learnt: Google is NOT the alpha and omega of e-commerce despite their huge influence. Being banned from Google Adwords made me master the art of SEO. :-)

  2. It’s nice to read some articles about “Not being a slave of big G”. When the whole world basically has it as religion :)

    Well, anyways congrats Sebastien. I hope the extra 3000 will serve it’s purpose.

    B.

  3. Hey Sebastian, I’m trying to raise exposure and sales on my site, given that I am in personal development, would I be better off starting with google add words and then trying to wean off of them, or use alternative methods such as twitter to gain exposure for my personal development site?

    Appreciate the input, and congrats, you are an inspiration for the little guys

  4. @Personal Development Dude

    Yes I think Adwords would be your best bet to start with. It is without a doubt the best way to drive quality traffic to your site, which in term will convert much better than any link on Twitter, Facebook and others.

    I haven’t looked at your site but I’d suggest you start with a few campaigns in Adwords. In the meanwhile, build a blog and create quality content on it. Content is still king and with good articles published let’s say everyday, in the long run it will drive organic traffic. Organic traffic is not as qualified as pay per click traffic but it’s usually cheaper.

    In all honesty, Twitter is not the best way o drive traffic but it’s a good way to be seen and recognized as an expert in your field.

    So to sum up, I say buy keywords in Adwords, and create amazing an unique content. These 2 techniques are without a doubt the best way to bring people to your site.

    Hope that helps!

    Sebastien

  5. Well it looks like you had an eye-opener. But ofcourse it sucks, being so dependent on google. Twitter is great, as Sebastion said, for being recognized as an expert in your field of work. And it seems that Twitter saved your account!
    Good luck now that you got your extra revenue back. Well a bit of stress extra, but a 100% extra revenue rate.

  6. Adwords is really good in driving traffic to your website. however, they are very strict right now and they would not easily approve websites that they thought have low quality content. *-

  7. Hi Sebastian, interesting article. I recently folded a recruitment business as the recession in the UK hit employment in a big way. I am attempting to replace my income with an affiliate income and would appreciate any help you can offer. How long did it take you to get to a stage where you were earning 6k net a month and what products were you selling then?

  8. Thanks for the response Sebastian, I appreciate you taking the time to respond to me so many thanks. I have mostly been looking at organic traffic on small micro niche sites but feel that PPC may be a route to quicker results. Would you recommend this as a route to building up an income quickly and keep plugging at the organic stuff to see if I can get a good income from that long term? Also i attempted to set up an adwords campaign on terms related to quitting smoking a few days ago but it was rejected as they said keywords were related to smoking despite the site only selling products related to quitting smoking, no tobacco involved. Is there anyway around that or do I need to look at other avenues do you think?

  9. Matt,

    PPC is the best and easiest way to drive qualified traffic to your site. There is nothing better and more cost effective than PPC.

    Google can be a real bitch sometimes. I’m not surprised they are giving you a hard time. Try Bing!

    S

  10. This is an amazing story I can’t believe that you got saved by twitter. If there is ever a time that I need someone at Google or any other company I will tweet my problems. I learned something that will probably save me on your blog.

  11. I am glad you had the clout to do this,

    It’s shameful on Google that you had to, though…

    If Google are not careful the US and EU Courts (for example) might ask Google in for a ‘chat’ and they will not be fobbed off with a request to make a post on a Google forum…

  12. Really interesting story of your life, made me laugh though :razz:
    Especially in this part A few minutes later, after really waking up she asked me “what are you gonna do now?”

    thank you for enlightenment :mrgreen:

  13. that is good news for you, but i think there are many PPC advertising now but why you should confused when the google banned your adword, we can take another one i think

  14. wow. Although I don’t know anybody from Google (at the moment), it is helpful to know that Google does “re-review” one’s account even after being banned. But it is much inspiring to know that it is possible to “survive and be happy” even without Google. Congrats! :)

  15. Hey Sebastian,

    I’m glad u got your account back, but your story only proves without good connections and contacts u can’t do anything in life.
    I also use adwords and adsense, and have solid earnings. I’m afraid if something happens, I won’t be able to recover my account, and all my effort falls to water,especially in Adsense

  16. Adsense and Adwords can make money but you need to know waht you’re doing. Google has strict rules and will penalise you for breaking them.

    H

  17. I understand how adwords works, but what I don’t understand is how you afford to pay for the traffic without income. If starting a blog where one doesn’t sell products, how do you maintain trafficking cost?

  18. @Demetrius It’s an investment. You gotta spend money to make money! If you’re not trying to make money off your blog for the time being, then there is absolutely no reason to use PPC to drive traffic to your site

  19. I got banned and then was allowed to start a new account. I wasn’t given a reason though – so consider yourself lucky!
    I’m trying to wean myself off Google… I’m still pretty angry about the whole incident. Consider checking out my blog where I share my story, and sign my petition for Google to treat it’s Adwords customers better.
    Here’s the start of my story: Don’t put all your eggs in one Google
    http://www.ladybonesonline.com/blog/dont-put-all-your-eggs-in-one-google/entrepreneur/
    There is a follow up post about how I have a new account now (paying twice as much pet click… all that work building relevant ads and a high CTR gone!)
    There is a link to my petition page at the very bottom every page. If you agree, please consider sharing the petition :)
    I’m also making some great strides with Microsoft Adcenter and I’m gonna share my experience building that in a post very soon :)
    I’d love to hear about building an affiliate system though – I am sick of the stress of the Google campaigns too. I’m spening $1,500-2,000 a month in advertising, and although I make 5-8 a month, I am always keeping an eye on it – I’ve had some scares where the reporting on my affiliate site was down and was showing 0 sales for days in a row and I felt powerless! Damn Google… ;)

  20. Pingback: Google AdWords Tips 101: How Does This Money-Sucking Thing Work?

  21. Wow, that’s some pull that you got. I do Search Marketing for a fortune 500 company and one of my websites on the side is in the Google penalty period (sandbox) and just recently got hit with an adwords landing page low QS as well.

    I talk to Google managers and directors on a weekly basis and none of them have offered to help me as of yet! Maybe I need to find a friend like yours!

  22. I actually got my new account shut down a couple weeks ago… I was persistent and eventually, someone from adwords CALLED ME! They reassessed my reason for being shut down (I was ‘associated’ with another account that repeatedly violated TOS) and found that the relationship wasn’t close enouh to warrant my being suspended. I still have no idea what this relationship is, and how I can possibly be related to anyone else – I don’t even know anyone personally who advertises on Google! I don’t even care though, because they reinstated MY OLD ACCOUNT with everything perfectly set up and tweaked for over a year and a nice CTR history. I can’t believe it! I’ve been been working with the adwords rep a couple more times too, they are actually being really helpful in getting everything optimized. Wow, what a turn around! I think the moral is to keep contacting them IF you know you haven’t done anything wrong – don’t give up!

  23. They are pulling the same stupid stunts with Blogger.com. Canning accounts (many that have run for months or years with no trouble) for no valid reason. And should the Blogger customer complain, Blogger invents spurious reasons as to why the account was pulled.

    There seems to be no rhyme or reason behind their attacks on legit users of Adwords or Blogger.com.

  24. Substantially, the post is in reality the freshest on this worthw hile topic. I agree with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your incoming updates. Just saying tnx will not just be sufficient, for the great lucidity in your writing. I will at once grab your rss feeds to stay privy of any updates. Authentic work and much success in your business endeavors! Take care

  25. I agree. I wish that I wasn’t so dependent on Google. I feel that it will become better as more options open up in the future, but for now the vast majority of bloggers live or die on the whims of Google, which is actually pretty scary if you think about it.

  26. @demetrius – hey! how goes it? thanks for checking out my blog – i’ve got about 20 posts drafts half written right now, but I’ve neglected to really complete anything because I’m working on an eBook. are you on twitter? follow me @tanyabones so we don’t need to hijack sebastian’s page to chat ;)

  27. I hear a whisper that Google KNOW there’s something wrong with their algo. But don’t want to address it in public.

    I don’t know how true this is, just something I heard.

  28. The latest thing? Google/Blogger accidentally declared the whole Blogger.com domain as spam. AGAIN!!!!

    So before they realised what they had done, they accidentally deleted a who load of Blogger.com blog sites. I’d like not to believe this, but it is true.

  29. Pingback: I’m A Blogger

  30. great post . Most bloggers are dependent on Adsense and Adwords . Thanks for the Twitter Stuff , i have to start using it now … Its good to have contacts …. it’ll save ur a** someday !!!

  31. Hey Pop Art,

    You’re this close from being banned from commenting on my blog. One more of these comments with 40 links to your site and you’re out!

    S

  32. You’re the first person I’ve heard of who has reversed an account suspension. I’ve had a warning from Google due to my landing pages, but so far I’ve just stopped driving traffic to the pages they don’t like.

  33. Its Pleasure to realize your blog.The more than posts is relatively extraordinary, and I quite enjoyed reading your blog and items which you expressed. I extremely like to glimpse back on a regular basis,post much more inside the topic.Thanks for sharing…keep writing!!!

  34. is very important A little bit in a hurry, did not get to read everything but will definitely come back later to finish everything. Wow is all I can say. Thanks again.. Keep up

  35. Great article. I have not really had much luck with Adwords as I do not earn enough revenue per visitor to justify the outgoings. But I think if it is going to make you money then go for it.

  36. This can be 2nd incident that I am scanning something about modifying websites with all the system. It seems that you’re an super professional blogger. Your submit is definitely an great instance of why I continue coming back to study your great quality content material which is forever updated.

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  38. You are lucky. I too was banned from Adwords and have yet to be reinstated. All I did was follow some advice I purchased…of course. On the other hand I am glad Google cleaned a lot of stuff up. It is in their best interest to do so.

  39. Sebastien,
    I just got banned from Google adwords after about 9 years of advertising. I was banned under their weapons policy saying I cannot sell knives. However, my knives are sold on Amazon.com, Walmart.com and a whole host of other big name sites yet they continue to advertise on Adwords.

    Oddly, about 3 years ago a certified Google AdWords optimization specialist contacted me about optimizing my adwords accounts. They did so, free of charge, and I increased my spend from about $3,000 to about $7,000 a month now that I was getting some decent returns. They even optimized the campaigns that linked to my knives category with no mention of any violation.

    I got no warning, no notice, no recommendations just an immediate “site suspended” letter. I am now being told that unless I remove “all of the knives” from my website I will not be reinstated. Problem is by removing the knives I will be stuck with hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in inventory that I couldn’t easily move and I would lose $500,000 in sales. As it is now, without Google adwords, I am losing about $225,000 a year in sales. Another thing is a lot of the knives I carry are decorative and commemorative yet Google appears to want those removed as well.

    I am looking for any advice you can give me. I can’t understand why I have been allowed to sell them this long, why my competitors are not being removed under the same policy violation (i can only assume it is because companies like Walmart spend so much more than I do,) why Google will only give me generic answers and why Google themselves optimized an adwords campaign pointing to an allegedly policy infringing site.

    I am a legitimate company making legitimate money meaning no malice or harm to anyone. I just can’t understand Google’s actions. Just as your twitter follower helped you…maybe you can help me?

  40. Nice read Sebastien, I am undergoing the endless review process right now and google has effectively made me completely change my website. I was doing fine for about 4 months until I was randomly suspended and given a laundry list of things to change with my site.

    Every email I get back from them is yet another request to change something. Some of them are very bizarre and aren’t included in any of their guidelines. For example, they said I couldn’t be approved until I added a search function to my site.

    I actually found your article by searching for “adwords support sucks”. Pretty accurate, I suppose.

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