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I recently received an offer from my host provider, HostGator, to try Google AdWords. The offer also came with an offer code for a $100. I figured, why not? I don’t exactly have the funds to spend on advertising my blog, but I was curious to try AdWords and see how effective it really was. And with the $100 offer code, I could do so for free.

I created an AdWords profile, made up an ad – the whole deal. A day later, I received an e-mail from Google stating that my ad violated Google’s landing site policy and was disapproved.

When I dug a bit further and e-mailed Google support, I was told that my site was flagged for Bridge Page violations because it had links to Amazon. Apparently, Google policies do not allow sites that “aim to drive traffic” to another site or whose “sole intent is to direct the user to another website”.

Now, I explained that my aim is not to drive traffic anywhere and that my sole intent is definitely not to direct users elsewhere, but that I provide links to Amazon as a courtesy for my readers in case they want to purchase the book being reviewed. I make no money from Amazon and there’s no benefit to me from providing links.

The reply I received from Google said this: “The spirit of the bridge page policy aims to offer a high quality user experience, dynamic and differentiated ad results, and transparent businesses. Any page, were we find very little unique content or majority of content is duplicated on other sites, plus have no significant value add for users to visit this site will be flagged for this violation.”

Basically, they did not read my explanation or care that my site does in fact provide unique content, and just provided me with a scripted answer in typical Google Support fashion.

I was not planning on spending money on AdWords beyond the first $100, so I will not waste any more time proving my case to Google. However, it’s unfortunate – to say the least – that they throw everyone into one category and don’t even care to read through one’s explanation.

A large majority of blogs provide links to other sites, such as Amazon, for their readers. It’s a shame that we’re labeled as having “little unique content” by Google for no good reason.

Thoughts?