In this blog post I’m going to tell you how I got my first Google Adwords account suspension, after making ads in a sensitive vertical and having my domain name banned.
You will learn what exactly led to my AdWords account suspension and how you can avoid it if you only get your domain banned or other warnings.
I was doing Google AdWords for a while and just had my first successful month with my campaigns when this happened.
AdWords Account Suspension. What did I do?
I’ve got my AdWords account suspension email within a month of making my first great campaign.
About a month after making my first profitable Google AdWords campaign, Google caught onto what my fellow advertisers and I were doing, and more than likely Facebook was at the heart of it. When we were all selling these fake Facebook likes and making huge profits on them, at some point either Facebook or a competitor reported the ads to Google.
Not just my ads disappeared, but it seemed that all the ads about Facebook likes disappeared too. Before this event, on a Google search they were 10+ deep ads with all these different websites offering Facebook likes showing up. If you searched for “buy Facebook likes,” you got my website and 10 others, and I was often up towards the top of that by optimizing my keywords and just working relentlessly hard to do better.
One day then, I was about to go to bed with my wife and I saw the email on my phone from Google with the subject: “AdWords account suspension.”
Damn, I was crazy!
I went wild and I just lost it.
I was so upset because I had finally cracked the system, and then got shut down within a month. It was just enough time to get a taste of everything working, and all of the sudden I played the victim: “Google did this to me, Facebook did that, and these competitors did it!”
I was going to make an appeal right away the next day, but I had a hard time going to sleep. I suppose my wife thought I was a real pain because I was all agitated. I was up first thing the next day and it was a total nightmare. I was completely obsessed. I spent hours trying to appeal, trying to edit my website, sending appeals to Google via email, talking with them on the phone, one support chat after another. It was an absolute panic, first trying to get my ads up, and then trying to get my account restored.
How did all this happen?
I got an email first saying that my ads were disapproved. Google disapproved all of my ads at once, they banned my entire domain banwork.com, which was my company website at the time, and I could no longer run any ads. Out of my frustration and quick hurry to fix that, I edited the ads and put a Survey Monkey link straight to the request form instead of my website.
When my domain got disabled, Google still left my account just fine, but after I did that Survey Monkey link, on the exact same terms, then they suspended my entire account because they looked at it as I was consistently violating their advertising policies, of which I had read almost nothing about up until this point.
I just blindly went with these Google AdWords ads, almost completely unaware of anything that could go wrong. I have wasted thousands of dollars and I only had one profitable campaign. Then my whole account got suspended, I learned of it in an email on my phone just before going to bed, and I absolutely went crazy. All of this happened within a week or two and I was so upset and so frustrated.
The determination was there for me to fight. I didn’t think what Google AdWords did was right. I didn’t think for a minute that what I did was wrong, and that I shouldn’t have been doing what I did to start with.
Everyone but me was wrong, Google was wrong, my competitors were wrong, especially a few of them that managed to stick out after this, but then they had disappeared soon enough. Facebook was wrong for probably making an issue of this, and everyone but me, especially Google had done everything wrong.
They just didn’t understand me, they didn’t understand that I wasn’t some scammer, even though my behavior certainly indicated that I was. No matter what I did, Google said:
“No, we are not reinstating your account right now.”
“No, you can’t run any more ads on Google.”
So what did I do?
I said fine. I will just show you, I will make some more new accounts.
I made several more accounts, tried to do the same thing with different websites, tried all kind of workaround, and all of them got suspended.
I wasted a lot of time trying to fight Google, which when you think about it, fighting a corporation on the size and scale of Google is not smart. All of this was incredibly painful. I was trying to get my personal life together and these business pains started unraveling in my personal life. They were so stressful, one of the most stressful things I dealt with, and the worst part was that no one was there to properly understand.
How is my wife supposed to understand the significance of getting an AdWords account suspension? It doesn’t make any sense because it is not something she interacts with. My friends did their best, but I didn’t have anyone I could even talk to about all the things I was feeling and struggling with.
Thankfully, out of more frustration, more opportunities continued to come.
With my AdWords account suspension, I offer to help manage ads for clients!
By this time, I thankfully realized with all the experience and all the time and energy I had poured into Google AdWords, that I had developed a real skill. I finally did know something about Google AdWords.
I knew something about how to optimize ads, how to make ads, how to set up a landing page, and I knew just enough that I figured I ought to start helping other people with their ads because I was so smart that with 6 months of doing my own ads, failing at everything, having one ad campaign work, and then getting my account suspended, that qualified me to help someone else with their ads.
I appreciate how ridiculous this looks now, but this was seriously what I was thinking at the time. So by June and July of 2012 with my first AdWords account suspension, I still hadn’t finished my fight with Google.
I still was making an AdWords account here and there trying to get back on in the Facebook page like game. In the mean time and between making new AdWords accounts, I started actively looking for Google AdWords clients.
I figured that it was an easy game. I knew how to set their ads up for a fraction of the work it took me to set my own ads up, they would just pay me to do it, and then I could keep learning Google AdWords at the same time. I could also keep the fight against Google AdWords going in my mind, and then eventually my goal was to learn from clients enough that I could figure out how to do my own ads again, and how to make my own business.
My website was still suspended and I couldn’t use Google AdWords to advertise anything, but thankfully I found a Facebook messaging system I could use for free to get a hold of potential clients. I managed to get a hold of an attorney who agreed to let me both make websites for him with my experience making 3 websites for myself, and to run his Google AdWords ads based on my experience failing at my own ads.
The only thing I could genuinely offer him was my enthusiasm. He could see how much I loved and enjoyed doing all these things, and he could see how much I wanted him to succeed.
I managed to get him as my first Google AdWords client and my longest consecutive client since my business started. I talked him into letting me do his Google AdWords for new websites I have made him because he had the same problems.
He had ended up getting his website suspended from Google AdWords by someone that worked with him before, so I assumed naturally with my own experience getting my own ads suspended, and his experience that together we could do better. The truth is that we did do better together. It turned out it was a lot easier to make ads for an attorney, then it was to make a lot of the ads I was doing.
I got his ads up there and continued to work with him, and we made a good working relationship out of it. I learned a lot from doing his ads because ads for attorneys are a lot different from doing the ads I was doing before. They are very high priced ads and they come with a lot of competition. I talked with him on the phone enough to figure out what he wanted and what he needed, and how to get his ads set up according to his needs.
His practice started growing from my work with his ads, the only thing that really worked there was my enthusiasm, and my previous failures gave me enough knowledge about what not to do to keep him away from an AdWords account suspension, and to keep everything running smooth for him.
I am grateful that I’m still working with this attorney, and his ads are still working really well today.
The irony and the craziest thing of all this is, who would have thought in November 2011 that just seven or eight months later, I’d be getting paid hundreds of dollars to help someone else out with their own Google ads?
The best thing that happened to me working online is that I learned all these skills and I realized that other people needed help with them too.
My willingness to fail at learning so many of these skills now has given me a lot of knowledge that’s useful. Often, a more reasonable person is afraid to go do all the things required to go get that knowledge, and is not willing to make that many mistakes.
This was the first time that all the mistakes I made really worked out to something good. The first time in the history of my business, I genuinely offered something useful that was good to everyone. It has been and continues to be helpful for the attorney to work with me, and to have me do his ads, and it continues to be helpful to Google and to people looking for an attorney.
Everyone then benefits, now of course you could argue that his competitors don’t benefit from having his ads high. Yes, I realize that there is balance in the universe.
This is the first thing I did that worked out great for everyone involved and that motivated me to keep learning and expanding my horizons.
Out of frustration with Google AdWords, I learn Facebook Ads
Facebook ads were the first thing I was able to successfully make a business off of and teach online, and there is no way I would have gotten here if I hadn’t spent so much time and energy doing Facebook ads. Out of all my frustration with Google AdWords, I then went to do Facebook ads.
With my own AdWords account suspension, my failures with Google AdWords were so comprehensive that I had to surrender my own needs to advertise with Google AdWords and focus completely on learning Facebook ads for several years. This allowed me to do something that would have been a lot harder to do just with Google AdWords because it has been around longer, and there is a lot more companies out there already helping with Google AdWords.
It is a lot harder to start a business from scratch and to go find clients with Google AdWords than it is for Facebook ads. Now a business well done is very well suited to serve AdWords, and it has lasted for me much longer than Facebook ads as a maintainable business. I love AdWords for serving clients, and yet it is not that easy to get started, at least the way I was going about things.
I already had a system to get clients for my Facebook likes business model, so when I started doing Facebook ads, I realized that I needed a real skill I could use and a skill that I could also find clients for easily.
I found hundreds of clients for Facebook ads starting in 2013. I offered to set a campaign up for just $99 on Facebook ads and I found hundreds of people, and soon moved the price up to as much as $400 to set up an ad campaign on Facebook, and then also to do the same on Google AdWords.
My entire business launched and you are reading this blog post right now because of surrendering Google AdWords. I’m really grateful of my Google AdWords account suspension because I was forced to learn something else since being well-rounded tends to bring the biggest rewards. We often think of and are trained to specialize like my brother who is a nuclear engineer, and that’s kind of the epitome of what most of us are taught.
You relentlessly focus on being specialized and then you can get paid really well, have a good job and always be useful. The problem is that if you are specialized where everyone else is specialized, then there is very few people that have good well-rounded knowledge with little gentle area of specialization.
I’m not the very best at AdWords and Facebook ads by any means, and yet I am pretty good at Google AdWords, Facebook ads, marketing, copy-writing and teaching. I am not that good at anything and yet, I have acceptable level skills. I have a minimum viable skill if you will in a whole bunch of areas, and putting all those together tends to be fantastically powerful.
None of this would have happened if I didn’t fail and fell on my face so miserably with AdWords that I finally gave up on it. I said myself that I will just manage this client’s account and I will forget about doing AdWords for myself.
When other people with the same problem come to me I consistently suggest that same thing. I tell them that they are too close to the problem right now, I try to put it a little nicer than this, but my message is that they are too close to the problem.
In my case I had to back off from Google AdWords, stop trying to fight it and make new accounts, stop making new websites and just go do something else for a while, and then come back.
I’m really lucky that Facebook ads was such a great other thing for me to do, and that what I have learned with Google AdWords was directly compatible with Facebook ads. That’s another thing about being well-rounded, the more well-rounded you are the easier it is to start learning in new subjects.
If you are so specialized that you only know Google AdWords and never tried Facebook ads, or never tried some other form of Internet marketing, then it can be really difficult to put everything together into a complete sales funnel in Google AdWords and for a total business outside of it.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and I invite you to learn more about AdWords advertising with me in my book:
Available both in Kindle and Paperback format.