Google Adwords and Desktop Software

I must have missed the memo but Google has changed their Adwords policies regarding desktop software and free trial versions. I’ve been doing a dance with them for nearly two weeks now trying to comply with their new policies and my Adwords account is currently suspended for reasons unknown. Anyway, a heads up and here’s the policies in question:

Policy violation: Unwanted software
Details & instructions:

Policy violation: Unsupported content - Free desktop software
Details & instructions:

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It is a bit of a mess. You can read about my experiences with it here:

Thanks Andy, I read your blog post a while back, didn’t realise it was the same policy. The whole thing is a mess.

Not desktop software but kind of related - I got my Adwords ad suspended because it was linking to a “Coming soon, sign-up for early access” type website even though this was mentioned in the ad itself. According to the rep I was talking to the website needs to provide a finished product that a user can download or buy. I generally didn’t find Google/Facebook/Twitter ads very effective in getting people to join a pre-launch mailing list.


I resolved my issues after a few days. Turns out having a free version is more of a problem with Google than I realised. It requires registration with Google as the author of the software and requires the product name to be included in all Adwords ads. Probably the most distressing part of the whole experience is the whole bureaucracy that Google seems to have built up around these processes, how unwieldy it seems, and how little power the people you actually speak to on the phone have. In comparison it made calling the Australian Tax Office seem like an exercise in business process efficiency.

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More on this here:

Google continues to bite the hand that feeds it…

This is so frustrating. If you have paid software, but have a free trial, you get lumped in with the questionable software Google is trying to weed out. You then have to use your very precious and short ad space to show your product name, which for most new customers is meaningless since they don’t know you yet. So now our ads cost the same but have less selling power. I’m a bit miffed… Oh how I wish a decent AdWords competitor would show up!

I am now getting nearly as many clicks from Bing Ads as AdWords.

Bing Ads is a shameless rip-off of AdWords, so if you know AdWords there isn’t really anything new to learn.

Its actually really easy to import your Adwords campaign into Bing Adcenter. I did it a few days ago for a campaign. Took a few minutes. Although you have to give Microsoft temporary control over your Adwords account to do it!

When you submitted the application to advertise free desktop software, what specific documentation did you have to submit to prove that you are indeed the owner of the software?

From what I recall I had to fill in a Google form AND modify all of my adword ads to include the product name in the copy. Oh, and I rang them. And rang them. So. Many. Phone. Calls.

Hi, plz see my problem and help for adwords
My website
has been suspend and Ad got disapproved. I am using ads on same website
from 2.3 year. When I see the reason it is mentioned "Unsupported
content:Free desktop software. But I am not using any desktop software.
What mean Unsupported content. plz help me what i should do? I am not
understanding plz solve my problem. How i fix?


Some of the people Google are using for vetting websites are hopelessly incompetant. See:

You will just have to try to contact Google to get some more information. Good luck!

Adwords continues to surprise me. I was told by their customer support that they are preparing new advertising rules: for each targeted country, you have to have a separate domain. I asked to be made sure, if that means I can’t have my English web site target England, Australia, US - they told me, that no. I have to have a web site, on a separate domain, for each country. Can someone contact them and verify? I hope that I was talking with someone who interpreted the rules incorrectly, as it’s a complete absurd.

That is absurd. I can’t see even Google making that stick. I expect someone is misinterpreting their policies again.

Bat signal for @TheDaveCollins !

Reach out to Google again. You may get a slightly-less-incompetent person next time. Also which country did you call? It’s often worth calling the US support… Google. Sigh.

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I’ve sent them a request to review my web site, but 2 weeks passed already and still no response. Yet they continue to send me “Get Adwords another chance” email in which they give me $30 for advertising - the money I can’t spend as my account is suspended :slight_smile: I don’t use Adwords since April, and I’m starting to think I don’t need it too much.

I’m surprised as to why they don’t like my web site? There’s no malware or “unwanted software” and it’s been around for a decade (the web site is by the way), the niche software is in is not some questionable like “remote control” or “system optimization” - I don’t like being considered like a scammer.

There are lots of deceptive ads from Google that try to trick users to download some crapware, but when I want to advertise my sofware I hit all sorts of barriers and they consider it as “unwanted”.

Google is in urgent need of a good competition. Especially if the new rule about “one web site for one target country” is true. What are the good advertising alternatives I should try? Bing?