Other restricted businesses: Free desktop software

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Ads for free desktop software must include the name of the specific software being advertised and lead to the authoritative online distribution source for the software.

Examples (non-exhaustive): Executable files (such as .exe, .dmg, zipped files, extensions, plug-ins, add-ons, desktop applications) that can run on desktop computers, laptops, or notebooks and do not require payment information to download; free trials; freeware; shareware; freemium software; demos that offer downloadable content


  • The authoritative online distribution source must not have a history or reputation of policy violations.
  • Cloud service is not in scope of this policy and is excluded for the certification application.

Troubleshooter: Free desktop software

  1. If you are the publisher of the specific software that you want to advertise, register your site as the authoritative online distribution source. If we determine that your site is the authoritative online distribution source, we can approve your disapproved ads.
  2. Change the ad’s destination. If a different site is already registered as the authoritative online distribution source for your software, edit your ad so that the final URL points to the approved destination.

Once you edit and save your ad, it's sent for review. Most ads are reviewed within one business day, though some can take longer if they need a more complex review.

If you aren't able to fix these violations or choose not to, remove your ad to help prevent your account from becoming suspended in the future for repeated policy violations. Learn more about suspended accounts.

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