Google Ads has emailed me to tell me that one of my ads has been disapproved for ‘shocking content’.
Yep, an ad for seating planning software that has been running continuously since 2011. You can see the full text of the ad above. I am at a loss to know what is shocking about it.
The following are covered under Google’s shocking content policy:
- Promotions containing violent language, gruesome or disgusting imagery, or graphic images or accounts of physical trauma
- Promotions containing gratuitous portrayals of bodily fluids or waste
- Promotions containing obscene or profane language
- Promotions that are likely to shock or scare
Er, no idea how any of those apply to my software. I don’t even see how it can even be falling foul of the Scunthorpe problem. Perhaps they are shocked how cheap it is?
This is far from my first brush with this sort of thing from Google Ads. Back in 2015 I was told that hyperlinking from my domain to any another domain was a breach of Adwords policy. Since 2005 I have paid Google tens of thousands of pounds to run ads on their system. In return they have wasted loads of my time with endless changes to the platform and arbitary and erroneous enforcement of their own policies. They feel less like a partner and more like an enemy.
I’m not too bothered about one ad being dissaproved. Especially during COVID, where almost no face-to-face events are happening anywhere in the world. But experience shows they will probably start disapproving many more over the next few weeks. I have clicked the link to appeal the disapproval. Hopefully, sometime in the next few weeks some under-paid, under-trained contractor, who might not speak great English, will re-approve the ad. But maybe not. Who can say in this opaque, Kafkaeaque, ‘computer says no’, outsourced world that we have collectively built for ourselves.
** Update 04-May-21 **
I appealed the dissaproval and the appeal failed. No reason given for why it is shocking. A second ad has been dissaproved for ‘shocking content’. I suspect many more will follow.