Give Me an Example of Deplatformable
From Hacker News, Feb. 27/23
What’s Deplatformable? people ask me. Because it’s the name of this newsletter. The following is recent example of getting DePlatformed.
Google just shut down our $1M business
by jasonwen Feb. 27/23.
“We have just received an email from Google that we still violate their Google policies and they will not reinstate our account. This is not a post to get sympathy but rather a story why it was closed and how HN played a role in this.
I’ve been browsing HN (Hacker News) for a decade now and somewhere I read on HN that people lose their online account and everything associated with their account. This has stuck with me and at one point I thought to create a second Google ads account to make sure our main Google ads account was able to keep running if the other account somehow received a violation. Just a pure spread-your-risks decision. After we decided to move into Germany with our eco-friendly brand, I used the second Google ads account to create German ads on a new Shopify hosted .de domain. The ads would target by geo location, consumers in Germany, so that there would be no overlap with our main market.
After a couple hours our account and our Merchant Center account, which is used for shopping ads, got suspended. I had no clue why so I wasted an appeal. After further reading on the internet, I discovered that creating more than one Google ads account is against Google policy. This is how scammers work to dominate search and shopping results. Never knew that. I was told that Google doesn’t consider intention, so you’re either good or bad. In this case I was the biggest criminal according to Google and my account was banned on a personal level for life. Not allowed to advertise ever again on Google. Lost some good nights sleep over that one.
The first ad account remained working which I find bizarre as the payment information and addresses used on these 2 accounts were exactly the same as I did not have bad intentions.
About a month ago I was invited to join the accelerated growth program of Google to help businesses expand into other countries. I was working with 2 Google account managers 4 weeks to prepare launching -again- in Germany. I used our .com domain to target Germany. All was well until I accidentally added .de for an ad instead of .com/de/, within an hour our main account was suspended. After an appeal and having it bumped to priority from my Google account manager, I received the depressing email that our account remains suspended. And that we should not create new Google ads accounts as those will be suspended too. Great.
We are all perplexed how a legit company, selling eco friendly products that we design ourselves, have it all trademarked, and have in stock in our own warehouse, are treated like criminals.
Luckily we massively increased our ad spend on social media couple weeks ago and are well positioned in Amazon, but I have really lost all faith in Google and their policy teams. We will (barely) survive as search and shopping was a big chunk of our revenue.
That you get flagged by a bot, gets suspended, I can get into that. But if you explain your story, have advertised for over 3 years with $30k monthly ad spent (I know it’s tiny for some, but for us as a small business it’s big), and all domains sell the same products, just into another country, than get your account banned for life, is just ridiculous.
Just had to get this off my shoulders and possibly warn anyone ever thinking doing the same to spread your company’s risks. A real butterfly effect, what an impact a single post or comment eventually had on my business down the line.”
Jeesh. You gotta feel sorry for Jason. How would you feel? All because of a little user error: “All was well until I accidentally added .de for an ad instead of .com/de/, within an hour our main account was suspended. “
There is even a Reddit subreddit about how prevalent this is on Facebook: https://www.reddit.com/r/FacebookBannedMe/
There are many millions of webpages that come up when you type “facebook banned me for no reason” into a search bar. A recent partnership between Microsoft and Open AI has now rolled out Bing AI. Try it here: https://www.bing.com/new
As Jason mentions in his Hacker News post, he did build up a bit of a contingency with Amazon and Shopify. What options are out there for insulating yourself from Google or Facebook? Bing, Duck Duck Go. I wrote 100s of advertising and marketing alternatives here:
And a post about securing your newsletter:
Something to think about. I love to hear your comments, likes, and shares. Thanks for reading. Peace!
While it is horrible what happens to legit companies when they get banned, this caveat has been written up, broadcasted and amplified since companies like Google popped into existence.
"Don't put all your eggs in one basket."
Unless you're Warren Buffet, who reportedly said, "Put all your eggs in one basket, then protect that basket." Sadly, most businesses that rely on Google Ads fail to adhere to either maxim. As far back as 2006, I would see those posts, titled, "I've been banned from AdSense!"
I do think Google takes a hard line, but it's their business and their prerogative. Personally, I've been on many platforms for many different endeavors and I have lost access or pre-emptively left 90% of them. It's just the nature of the beast.