Was I being naughty to assume that I could upload a few web hosting reviews to Google Base? Most, not all of the reviews had 1 or 2 affiliate text links appearing in context. As most of you probably know, the affiliate relationship helps compensate our expenditures to hire an objective reviewer to log in and test each host and report back the findings to Clickfire visitors. The reward of making even a small profit helps justify those sunny weekend afternoons spent in front of the PC.
My bulk upload of about 10 web hosting reviews was declined and account “disabled” because my Google Base account was being used to:
direct Google users to affiliate or commission-based programs. We have therefore disabled your Google Base account. Please know that we don’t allow the promotion of affiliate products or sites.
I was referred to the program policies where the only thing about affiliates that I could find was this statement:
Posting is not permitted for the promotion of affiliate sites or products sold through an affiliate marketing relationship. This includes item pages that are made up primarily of advertisements, or pages where advisements obstruct the view of the item.
While Clickfire does rely on advertising to support the site (I think most sites do), we certainly don’t have pages that are “primarily” advertisements or obstruct user views. In fact, most of our advertising is through Google AdSense (2 ads per page) at the time of this writing.
I noticed that my login still worked fine. I still have permission to post items on Base. So, I tried uploading individual reviews with no affiliate links such as the one below, but was disapproved:
Searching Google Base today for Lunarpages review, BlueHost review, HostGator review and so on shows web hosting affiliate sites listed in the results. I am not really complaining because getting into Google Base is not part of our business model. I was just trying to test the results. I know that not long ago Google Base was getting spammed pretty heavily by affiliates creating fake dating profiles. So, it seems for now, they are adopting a zero tolerance policy… toward me. This whole experience highlights the problems Google is having as their customer base and product offerings grow at such high velocity.
So what to do? Ask Google to re-enable my account? Try submitting again later? Report the other affiliates?
I’ll just sit this one out.
Update 6/22 – It’s three years later and just for the heck of it, I thought I’d try and upload a datafeed file of web host reviews to Google Base. Same story. Disapproved.