In August 2018, Google started to ban ads for “third-party technical support.” When it introduced the policy, Google said that the intention was to stop misleading ads but the policy also prevented legitimate third-party repair shops from running Google ads.
Now independent repair shop owner and YouTuber Louis Rossmann has shared his experience with this policy and highlighted that not only does it cause problems for third-party repair shops on paper but it also doesn't seem to be applied consistently.
When he searched for “hard drive data recovery” on Google, he found that some of the ads that displayed were from third-party repair businesses with one-star ratings on Yelp.
Meanwhile, Rossmann Repair, which has a 4.9-star rating on Google with over 700 reviews and a 4.5-star rating on Yelp with more than 300 reviews, had its ads rejected when Rossmann attempted to run Google ads.
Rossmann believes that these ads are being allowed to run because businesses that were running third-party repair ads from “five or ten years ago,” before Google rolled out the policy change, were allowed to keep their ads. However, businesses that tried to start running third-party repair ads after the policy change are blocked from running these ads.
Rossmann has slammed the selective application of these rules and said that this creates a market where “two different sets of businesses” are “playing by two different sets of rules.” He added that this is “aggravating” and preventing “free market competition.”
“If you're going to have a specific rule, that's fine, you have your rule, but I think that rule should be applied equally,” Rossmann said. “I would like something better than a copied and pasted canned response from someone that is just paid to copy and paste canned responses as to what it is that allows those companies to have their listings but our company is not allowed to have our listings.”
Rossmann also called for Google to share why there is a disparity in how its ad policies apply to different companies.
“Google, why is it that your rules appear to apply differently to different companies engaged in the exact same practice in the exact same field?” Rossmann asked. “I genuinely wanna know without a canned response from an actual human being why it is these rules apply differently to different companies in the same industry.”