Google Ads "disapproves" ads referring to third-party repairers (and more)

Google Ads has changed its policy on listing ads about third-party consumer technical support businesses. Here is the policy:
https://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/6368711#691

Why is this important? It’s affecting repair businesses in some countries. For example, we’ve heard that some mobile phone repair businesses in Belgium and in the Netherlands are no longer able to post ads about their work. Yet, this doesn’t seem to be consistent, as in the UK, for example, Lovefone ads still appear when doing a google search in London. We’ve also heard

At a Restart-level, this is affecting us too. As a charity, we get some free Google Ads, and the ones promoting Restart Parties as opportunities to repair mobile phones and installing solid state drives in old laptops have now been blocked by Google - we’ve just been notified.

We wonder whether this might be due to us not being a “shop” with a physical location. This would resonate for example with a case we spotted in New Zealand:

Does anyone else have insights into this? We’ll keep researching the issue…

Here’s the precise message we received

Hello Google Advertiser,
We wanted to alert you that one or more of your ads or keywords have been disapproved. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to show your ads on Google, our search partners, or on Display Network placements until you edit your ads or keywords to make them compliant with our policies.
If this is an error, we want to get your ads back up and running as quickly as possible, and your Google team is here to help. Below you’ll find the reason why your ads or keywords have been disapproved, and a Problem Report that includes details about which ads or keywords have been disapproved and what you can do to fix them (if possible).

Disapproval Reason

Third-party consumer technical support: See the policy: https://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/6368711#691

Problem Report


Campaign: ‘Repair,’ Ad Group: ‘Repair phone’


Ad Text:

You don’t have to replace it

Repair your own phone with us

Repair your own phone, laptop and more. Get involved with the Restart Project.

https://therestartproject.org/restart-your-electronics/

Ad Status: Disapproved

Ad Issue(s): Third-party consumer technical support


----------------------------------------------

Campaign: 'Blog posts,' Ad Group: 'SSD'

----------------------------------------------

Ad Text:

Don't ditch a slow laptop

A solid state drive can breathe new

life into a slow, older laptop.

[therestartproject.org/podcast/ssd](http://therestartproject.org/podcast/ssd)

Ad Status: Disapproved

Ad Issue(s): Third-party consumer technical support

Ad Text:

Upgrade your old laptop

Affordable solid state drives can

breathe new life into loved laptops

therestartproject.org/podcast/ssd

Ad Status: Disapproved

Ad Issue(s): Third-party consumer technical support


Repeated violations of our Advertising Policies may result in a suspension of your Google Ads account, so it's important to address any issues as soon as possible by reviewing our policies. You can review our Advertising Policies at [our advertising policy help center](http://www.google.com/appserve/mkt/p/AFnwnKXi96VQiEZ0SoYGk7d3vOmcGlqED9_cSCddb_vVz89ESO8wgO2EeSF_pDWFgfs7bfiDqUomAtHOK0oGHuq0ZA1sl-zy1Zo8te5AwZe4zxgHdJ8Axp3hoOgQjVG0BuSfriW2nBNYqmB9wyI4xgDYo8_oXX-IQOEFjGTGatQ).
Sincerely,
The Google Ads Team

I can see the reasons behind all the others - they’ll all strongly linked to scams of one sort or another (though I’m not sure what bail bond services are).

In the case of 3rd party support and repair, my strong suspicion is that this is aimed at tech support scams and the like, but it’s obviously far, far too wide and all-embracing. So, for example, only a Ford registered garage could advertise that they can service Fords! Have they been lent on by Apple or some other firm or lobby group strongly opposed to right to repair, or is this just incompetence?

(Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by incompetence.)

I agree the primary reason for this is unlikely to be a direct measure “anti” right to repair - but it certainly ends up sending a questionable message.
Also, it doesn’t seem consistent. Belgian and Dutch shops reported their ads for fixing game consoles were unaffected, while smartphones ones were taken down - strange!

We co-signed this letter with Rundur Tisch Reparatur, hosts of Fixfest this year, on this topic. Check it out

Google move looks very fishy, i have feeling google have teamed up with Apple to kill repair centre all our ads have stopped working.

Google and Apple have too much power both are evil hopefully commissioner will respond in favourable manner and push google to atleast issue press release so far they have been copy and pasting same " third party other business " page

Funny enough if you search Data Recovery , Tech Support all big companies still shows up on add results and it supposed to be for Tech Support probably they pay them big bucks hopefully someone can sue google for creating unfair competition and depriving of their livelihood

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Hi @Bilal, welcome to the community!
Here’s how to get started :slight_smile:

I was interested to read this. Do you run or work for a repair centre?

It would be great to have a favourable response from the Commissioner, I agree! We’ll see though…

Hi James, i been working as Technician and Manager with itfixlondon based in kings cross st pancras. Thanks

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Good to know, thanks Bilal :+1:

It would be interesting to hear whether having your ads disabled is having an impact on the business. I hope it doesn’t affect you too badly!


By the way, I’ve added you to the London group here, so you can see the #local-chat:london category :wink:

Good to meet you, @Bilal and see that your business is listed on our Repair Directory. (Not that we have any of the referral power of Google…)

We are listed and we had client about 2 weeks ago who found us on your site, thanks for that

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Hi James,

Hope you had enjoyed weekend, google ad ban has impacted us hugely but our regular clients , referrals always keeps us busy hopefully this is something google will sort it out soon. I have read over weekend restarted projects very interesting and amazing what you guys are doing would love to get involved.

Sorry to hear that this is affecting you @Bilal! But glad that you’ve got other ways to get the word out.

We’d love to have you more involved in the community :slight_smile:
A few options spring to mind:

  • You could come to events to help people repair their own stuff (helping us spread the ‘repair bug’ :wink: ) - just follow your local groups to keep up to date with events
  • You could help add content to the Restarters Wiki, where we explain various principles and techniques of electronics repair.
  • You could explore our repair data and help us identify trends (e.g. why do our devices break, what are the barriers to fixing them etc.)

For those last two, this discussion has more info.

Finally, we’re starting a new semi-regular newsletter about the right to repair. If you’d like to join that, let me know :slight_smile:

A quick update on this issue…

In order to regain access to Google ads, iFixit US have removed a section of their site that recommends local repairers to site visitors who didn’t want to perform a repair themselves.

It doesn’t bode well that a company the size of iFixit is struggling to deal with Google’s policy.

They’ve also written an open letter to the FTC about this issue:

“By treating all third-party repair as a fraud-prone liability, and directing all interest in device repair to their own Maps and search results, Google is severely handicapping repair businesses, prioritizing purchases over repair and reuse, and deciding which companies customers can turn to when they need to fix electronics.”

Full story here.

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