Abusing the ad network

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Display & Video 360 users must comply with this Google Ads policy. Visit the Display & Video 360 help center for additional restrictions.

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We want ads across the Google Network to be useful, varied, relevant, and safe for users. We don’t allow advertisers to run ads, content, or destinations that attempt to trick or circumvent our ad review processes.

Below are some examples of what to avoid in your ads. Learn about what happens if you violate our policies.

Malicious Software

"Malware" is software that aims to harm or get unapproved access to a computer, device, or network.

These requirements apply to your ads and any software that your site or app either hosts or links to, regardless of whether the software is promoted through the Google advertising network. The following is not allowed:

Intentional distribution of malicious software or "malware" that may harm or gain unauthorized access to a computer, device, or network

Examples (non-exhaustive):

  • Computer viruses, ransomware, worms, trojan horses, rootkits, keyloggers, dialers, spyware, rogue security software, and other malicious programs or apps
  • Forced redirects, for example, redirecting users to an unknown site infected with malicious software without the user actually clicking on the ad
  • HTML5 ad stealing user credentials from a publisher's page

We take violations of this policy very seriously and consider them egregious. An egregious violation of the Google Ads policies is a violation so serious that it is unlawful or poses significant harm to our users. In determining whether an advertiser or destination is violating this policy, we may review information from multiple sources including your ad, website, accounts, and third-party sources.  If we find violations of this policy, we will suspend your Google Ads accounts upon detection and without prior warning, and you will not be allowed to advertise with us again. If you believe there's been an error, and that you haven’t violated our policy, submit an appeal and explain why. We only reinstate accounts in compelling circumstances, and when there is good reason so it's important that you take the time to be thorough, accurate, and honest. Learn more about suspended accounts.

Compromised sites

A compromised site refers to a site or destination whose code has been manipulated to act in ways that benefit a third party without the knowledge of the site or destination’s owner or operator, and often in a way that harms the site’s users. The following scenarios would lead to disapproval for Compromised Site:

red x mark Destinations which are hijacked and hacked

Examples (non-exhaustive): Sites injecting scripts or code that transmits user data without consent, e.g. a credit card skimmer, installing malware on end user devices, launching pop-up ads, redirecting users to other websites, and doing things with user data without the end user’s consent; Operating a website using a content management system with known security vulnerabilities, where it has been exploited

Options to fix

Step 1 of 4

Verify disapproved ads for Compromised Site.

  1. In Google Ads, go to Ads of the “Ads & Extensions” tab.
  2. Add a filter for “Policy Details: Compromised Site”.
    Image for compromised site response
  3. If there are ads disapproved for Compromised Site, continue.

Step 2 of 4

Review the disapproval reason to view where the content is loaded from.

We sometimes show compromised domains in your Google Ads account once we find them.

GIF demonstrating how to see the reason an ad was flagged as ineligible.

Please review your site and remove any code that refers to the identified domains.

Note: Google provides information to help you fix your site through Help for Hacked Websites.

Step 3 of 4

Appeal ads using Policy Manager.

GIF demonstrating how to appeal a rejected ad.

Step 4 of 4

Check the status of the website or final URL of disapproved ads in Google's External Safe Browsing Site Status Checker.

When a site is disabled in Safe Browsing, it means that it has been disabled as a result of the unsafe content it may be exposing to users via, for example, organic listings. Please fix the malware issue on your site and file an appeal through Google Search Console to get the domain off the Safe Browsing threat list. Your site/landing pages should automatically be re-enabled to serve ads after you’ve successfully completed this process. Please contact support if your ads are still disapproved after completing this process.

If you can’t fix the ad’s destination, you can update the ad with a new destination that follows this policy. Editing the ad will resubmit the ad and its destination for review.

Violations of this policy will not lead to immediate account suspension without prior warning. A warning will be issued at least 7 days prior to any suspension of your account. Learn more about suspended accounts.

Unwanted software

Per policy requirements, any software that your site or app hosts (or links to) should provide a positive experience for users. Google’s Unwanted Software policy provides a few basic characteristics of software that are potentially harmful to the user experience which are listed below:

  • It is deceptive, promising a value proposition that it does not meet.
  • It tries to trick users into installing it or it piggybacks on the installation of another program.
  • It doesn’t tell the user about all of its principal and significant functions.
  • It affects the user’s system in unexpected ways.
  • It is difficult to remove.
  • It collects or transmits private information without the user’s knowledge.
  • It is bundled with other software and its presence is not disclosed.

Make sure your ads and destinations do not violate Google’s Unwanted Software policy.

The following scenarios would lead to disapproval for Unwanted Software:

red x mark There is no clear description of the product in your ad or a landing page

Examples (non-exhaustive): No information about the product type (app, extension, software) in the ad or landing page; failure to be transparent about the functionality that the software provides; description of the functionality of the software differs from the actual functionality

red x mark Failing to disclose the full implications of installing the software to the user

Examples (non-exhaustive): Making system changes or changes to the browser settings without the user’s consent and knowledge; making it difficult for users to disable or uninstall the software; failing to include Terms of Service or an End User License Agreement; bundling software or applications without the user’s knowledge; transmitting private information without the user’s knowledge

Options to fix

Step 1 of 2

Fix the ad or ad destination

Confirm that the ad contains both a product type and one line accurate description about the functionality of the product.

Make sure that the ad destination mentions the product type, includes an accurate one line description about the functionality of the product, and clearly explains the full results of installing the software, including possible changes to the users’ browser or settings. Disclosures or disclaimers about the full implications of installing the software must be conspicuous (located in a prominent position with reasonably large font size) and written in a simple and clear manner that is easily understood by all users (especially amongst those are who not proficient in computers or technology).

Step 2 of 2

Appeal the policy decision

Editing the ad will resubmit the ad and its destination for review. In case changes has been made to the Landing page only, please appeal those ads using “made changes to comply with policy” button.

An animation demonstrating how to appeal a disapproved ad due to unwanted software, by making changes to comply with Google’s policy.

If you believe that we’ve made an error, appeal the policy decision directly from your Google Ads account using the “dispute” button in the Policy Manager. After we confirm that both the ad and ad destination are allowed, we can approve your ads.

An animation demonstrating how to appeal a disapproved ad due to unwanted software by disputing the decision.
Violations of this policy will not lead to immediate account suspension without prior warning. A warning will be issued at least 7 days prior to any suspension of your account. Learn more about suspended accounts.

Unfair advantage

The following is not allowed:

Using the Google Network to gain an unfair traffic advantage over other participants in the auction

Examples (non-exhaustive): Affiliates that advertise on Google Ads against the applicable affiliate program rules; promoting the same or similar content from multiple accounts on the same or similar queries, trying to show more than one ad at a time for your business, app, or site

Note: Keywords should fit the target audience’s likely intent when searching. Each website or app that you promote should offer distinct value to users. For example: avoid promoting similar products and prices across related destinations.

Violations of this policy will not lead to immediate account suspension without prior warning. A warning will be issued at least 7 days prior to any suspension of your account. Learn more about suspended accounts.
Learn how to fix a disapproved ad or asset.

Evasive ad content

red x mark Manipulation of ad components (text, image, videos, domain, or subdomains) in an attempt to bypass detection and / or enforcement action

Examples (non-exhaustive): Misspelling prohibited words or phrases to avoid ad disapproval; manipulating trademark terms in the ad text, domain, subdomain, or logo to avoid restrictions on the use of that trademark; using invisible UNICODE characters in ads that add no value to the ad content for users, manipulating images or videos to hide policy violating content.

Violations of this policy will not lead to immediate account suspension without prior warning. A warning will be issued at least 7 days prior to any suspension of your account. Learn more about suspended accounts.
Learn how to fix a disapproved ad or asset.

Circumventing systems

The following is not allowed:

Engaging in practices that circumvent or interfere with Google's advertising systems and processes, or attempts to do so.

Examples (non-exhaustive):

  • Cloaking (showing different content to certain users, including Google, than to other users) that aims at or results in interference with Google’s review systems, or hides or attempts to hide non-compliance with Google Ads policies, such as:
    • Redirection to non-compliant content
    • Using dynamic DNS to switch page or ad content
    • Manipulating site content or restricting access to so many of your landing pages that it makes it difficult to meaningfully review your ad, site, or account
    • Using click trackers to redirect users to malicious sites

    Note: Cloaking does not include providing content personalization that adds genuine value for certain users, such as different language versions of the same content or different versions of the same content depending on the user’s internet service provider, as long as the offering is still substantially the same, the variation in content is still compliant with Google Ads policies, and Google is able to review a version of the content

  • Whether repeated or simultaneous, policy violations across any of your accounts, including using 2 or more accounts to post ads that violate this or any other Google Ads policy. For example, creating new domains or accounts to post ads that are similar to ads that have been disapproved for this or any other Google Ads policy.
  • Bypassing enforcement mechanisms and detection by creating variations of ads, domains or content that have been disapproved (for this or any Google Ads policy) or using techniques in text, images, or videos to obfuscate sexually explicit content
  • After a previous suspension decision, attempting to use the Google Ads system again by creating new accounts in order to re enter the system
  • Abusing Google Ads product features in order to show policy non-compliant content to users and/or gain additional traffic
  • Submitting false information as part of our verification programs

We take violations of this policy very seriously and consider them egregious. An egregious violation of the Google Ads policies is a violation so serious that it is unlawful or poses significant harm to our users. In determining whether an advertiser or destination is violating this policy, we may review information from multiple sources including your ad, website, accounts, and third-party sources.  If we find violations of this policy, we will suspend your Google Ads accounts upon detection and without prior warning, and you will not be allowed to advertise with us again. If you believe there's been an error, and that you haven’t violated our policy, submit an appeal and explain why. We only reinstate accounts in compelling circumstances, and when there is good reason so it's important that you take the time to be thorough, accurate, and honest. Learn more about suspended accounts.

Note: We may take action on an advertiser’s account based on, for example, adverse regulatory warnings, settlements, or rulings about an advertiser’s advertising practices, or direct complaints from users or businesses.

Spam Policies for Google Web Search

The following is not allowed:

red x mark Engaging in practices that violate the Spam Policies for Google Web Search

Examples (non-exhaustive): Keyword stuffing, cloaking, sneaky redirects, doorway pages, spamming social network sites

Violations of this policy will not lead to immediate account suspension without prior warning. A warning will be issued at least 7 days prior to any suspension of your account. Learn more about suspended accounts.
Learn how to fix a disapproved ad or asset.

Need help?

If you have questions about our policies, let us know: Contact Google Ads Support

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