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Google is Evil

Oscar Foulkes January 29, 2014 Digital No comments
I’m struggling to come to terms with Google’s “Don’t be evil” motto, following a recent experience at the hands of AdWords.

I received an mail from Google offering me a R600 AdWords voucher, so I updated my card details and started a campaign. After a few days I paused it, with the thought that I needed to change the wording of the campaign.

Out of the blue I received an email advising me that the account had been suspended, without any explanation. I then contacted AdWords help. Unlike the rest of Google, there is the facility to do an online chat with a representative (amazing what companies will do when there is money involved!). Usually, Google’s sole method of getting support is for people to fight their way through voluminous FAQs.

The person I chatted to was unable to assist, but offered to escalate the matter. Before long, I received a mail with the following content:

Our specialists have re-reviewed the account and confirmed that it is in violation of our AdWords policies. Since this decision is final, the account will not be reinstated. Please avoid creating additional AdWords accounts, as they will be subjected to the same suspension.

Our support team will not be able to able to give you any more specifics on the suspension.

No mention of which policies I was allegedly violating, or how I was doing it, nothing. All I did was give them my credit card details, and set up a campaign in good faith.

Surely transparency is the first step to not being evil?

I happen to believe that Google’s cloud-based services are an amazing resource. As a business, Google is at the cutting edge of the internet. Yes, they have failures, but from a cloud perspective they are way ahead of the likes of Microsoft (in my opinion, of course).

But now I’m gun shy. Imagine if I move my entire business onto the Google suite (Drive, Apps etc), and they unilaterally decide that I have violated an unknown policy in an unknown manner. If they closed my account that would be disastrous. Knowing them they way I do now, they would probably prevent any further access to stored data.

I know it’s a stretch to imagine them doing that, but they have undermined my trust.

Google, there are many things I admire about you, but you are evil.

UPDATE: In the original email there is a link I’m invited to follow if I want to understand AdWord suspension policies:
(, but the page does not exist.
This content
( suggests that I would/should be given the reasons for the suspension, as well as the opportunity of fixing the ‘violations’.


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