* The Business of Software

A former community discussing the business of software, from the smallest shareware operation to Microsoft. A part of Joel on Software.

We're closed, folks!

Links:

» Business of Software FAQ
» The Business of Software Conference (held every fall, usually in Boston)
» Forum guidelines (Please read before posting!)

Moderators:

Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Heads up: Google Adwords policies for downloadable software

Via:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/102784282506299904045/posts/DTmiTdCphg1

Google are tightening up their policies on advertising downloadable software on Adwords.

There is a big list of things you will need to comply with in order to advertise your downloadable software on Adwords.
https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/50423?rd=1

Most of them are sensible and shouldn't cause trouble for a reputable business. But I am bit worried about the "Be pre-approved by Google" mentioned at:
http://adwords.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/a-healthy-advertising-ecosystem.html

I haven't been able to find out what this means by following the links. Any ideas?
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
 
 
The be "pre-approved" by Google requirements appears to be mentioned in the context of "software that accesses our services."  So I would think that would only apply to software that interacts with Google services using their APIs (Google drive, maps, etc.).

I would think.
James A. Send private email
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
 
 
Wow, Google plays Internet Police once again.
Jeremy Morassi Send private email
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
 
 
>So I would think that would only apply to software that interacts with Google services using their APIs (Google drive, maps, etc.).

I read it as applying to any downloadable software advertised using Adwords. But I could be wrong.

The new policy doesn't come in until October. Hopefully they will have explained it a bit more clearly by then!
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
 
 
@James A

On re-reading it, you are probably right. But I think the other terms listed at https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/50423?rd=1# are going to apply to *all* downloadable software advertised via adwords.
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
 
 
All seems a bit odd to me.

For example :

"The site must have a physical mailing address and email or telephone information that's clearly visible and/or accessible."

Why should it? And who are they to say that it should?  I haven't noticed a address or telephone number on any of Google's web pages.  Don't remember the option to call Google when I downloaded Google Earth.

Google must be getting some stick in some locations for misleading advertising.

Next they'll be saying they want to approve the applications and take a 30% cut!
TomTomAgain Send private email
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
 
 
>Next they'll be saying they want to approve the applications and take a 30% cut!

Given the every increasing price of adwords clicks and the clueless nature of a lots of advertisers, they probably already average at least a 30% cut of the value of software sold through Adwords.
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
 
 
+1 Andy
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
 
 
> "The site must have a physical mailing address and email or telephone information that's clearly visible and/or accessible."

> Why should it? And who are they to say that it should?  I haven't noticed a address or telephone number on any of Google's web pages.  Don't remember the option to call Google when I downloaded Google Earth.

I can tell you why: because the shady operators that try to mislead you into installing crapware on your computer and make it impossible to uninstall said crapware don't really like to be found.

And I know that because I'm a publisher in Adwords system and in recent months I've seen explosion of such crappy software being advertised via Adwords on my website. I block them as fast as I can (61 blocked domains so far) but they keep coming back.

And universally it's impossible to figure out who is behind this crap. They even hide their whois information.

From my point of view, those are good changes.

And for Google haters: I also know that those advertisers inflate adsense costs i.e. by banning them Google hurts themselves financially. Ponder that.
Krzysztof Kowalczyk Send private email
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
 
 
Google already has policy towards downloadable software. In fact my campaign was already suspended, because I did not comply according to them, but after few emails I was able to convince them that everything is there.

http://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/50423?hl=en&uls=en
Jim Morrison Send private email
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
 
 
Oh, just noticed that this is the same link.

Andy, why do you say that it is to come in in October?

My campaigns were suspended on January, because they found that I do not comply with this policy.
Jim Morrison Send private email
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
 
 
Just checked Policy update log. This policy was updated on 2012 October, so this is the old news.
Jim Morrison Send private email
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
 
 
One of the posts linked to the original said the policy was going to change in October. I see now that this post was from 2012 and was referring to changes made in October 2012. It looks like the policies at https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/50423?rd=1 are the current ones. But I don't remember seeing them before and  and it isn't clear to me what exactly has changed. Sorry, it is all a bit confusing. I think I need more coffee.
Andy Brice Send private email
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
 
 
@Krzysztof Kowalczyk

You say that nobody knows who these shaddy operators are who advertise dodgy software.

Well Google knows who they are.  Because Google took their credit card details when they paid for their Adwords campaigns.

Call me old fashioned if you like ( I am certainly no "Google-Hater")
but I just don't like other corporations ( or governments ) telling me what I can and can't do.  I can just about stick my own government telling me what I can do!

The internet does not belong to Google, Microsoft, Apple or Facebook.  They do not have a world-wide mandate to police it as they see fit.
TomTomAgain Send private email
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
 
 
I don't like the idea of Google policing us either - personally I don't like the police, the tax collectors and the law makers being the same people - way too much scope for abuse & since in the west Google has a near monopoly that's a real possibility.

But politics aside most of these rules seem pretty reasonable and it doesn't seem Google wants to screw us with these. The only ones I would be concerned about are:

"Uninstall guidelines must be clearly accessible on the website during the download or installation process."

- Not a problem for a reputable business but I don't know how many of us host the eula on the site as well as in the installer, I'm not sure that's common.

"Additional prompts or offers that are unnecessary to the uninstall process are prohibited."

- This is a little too broad for my liking. I think asking for feedback etc. is very legitimate as long as it can be skipped and it seems that would be in violation.
Jonathan Matthews Send private email
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
 
 
@TomTomAgain

To point the obvious: Google is not telling you what to do.

Just like any other service, they have rules you have to comply with in order to use their service. Some restaurants have a dress code. To open a bank account you need to provide a proof of your identity etc.

This specific rule makes perfect sense to me because it's not Google who is damaged when a user gets tricked into installing software that makes unwanted modifications that cannot be undone.

So the user should have ability to contact the software vendor and complain.

The unwillingness of software vendor to put their contact information on the web correlates almost 1:1 with being a shady operation.

That's not a conjecture. All reputable vendors that end up advertising on my website don't hide their identity. All 61 scam operators that I blocked worked hard to conceal their identity.

Coincidence? I think not.
Krzysztof Kowalczyk Send private email
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
 
 
@Krzysztof

It's certainly true that this stuff seems to be around a lot at the moment.

Downloading gimp the other day I noticed a big green "download now" button on the download page, but then the actual gimp download started automatically. I noticed the big green button was actually in an adsense ad so decided to check out what I suspected was a scam.

On clicking through the scam site wanted me to download some regular software (ftp perhaps?) which on further inspection was wrapped in an installer with tool bars.

This was an insidious scam... Just clicking download a couple of times from a site I trust could have gotten me a load of crapware.

I assume this is what you're talking about? I have no doubt it's the kind of thing Google are going after.

Now I do also wish they'd get rid of those "1 weird old trick" type ads that lead to fake news sites. They're *really* common and I suspect illegal, at least here in the uk. I'd think those should be a higher priority for Google.
Jonathan Matthews Send private email
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
 
 
@Krzysztof : Before I go any further, I'd just like to make it clear that my website has the company address & telephone number on it!  I personally wouldn't fall foul of any enforcement of this policy.

I sell a high quality, high-end piece of software targeted at the corporate market from my own site.

...... but anyway.

I disagree with your stance. 

My original point is that I have my own professional site, run a professional company and will resist having anyone telling me how it needs to work or what needs to be put on it. 

I don't think that is unfair or unreasonable and I was pointing out the rank hypocrisy of Google for not having contact details for their own applications.  What applies to me, applies to them in my book.

As to Google's position in all this.  Yes they run a service and yes that normally gives  some rights as to what terms & conditions apply to using that service.

But Google is not just any other service.  For 99% of the worlds population it is the internet.  It is a de-facto monopoly.

I have told my kids about this other search engine called "Bing" and then watched them use Google to find it! 

www.google.com is the only URL my parents know.

People ( and you all must have seen this from your GoogleAnalytics ) actually type my website URL into Google!

60% of my traffic comes from Google.Com searches.  The other 37% is from sites I've placed links and content on - but the average guy  finds those sites using Google.  So basically 97% of my traffic comes from with 2 clicks of Google.Com.

3% comes from other search engines.  And I rank number 1 on Bing with relevant keywords for a Microsoft orientated product!

With great power comes great responsibility.

That's enough on that topic.
----------------------------------------

My original musing within my first post was that I wondered who is putting the screws on Google to tighten up the advertising rules?  The advertisers or the regulators?

My view is that Google will find itself more and more regulated over the coming years and will struggle to resist various national rulings. 

For example the French have fined the company $600k for making Google Maps free and agreed to set up a $78 million fund to help French news sites market themselves digitally.  The Chinese tell them what results to show.
TomTomAgain Send private email
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
 
 
I think (hope) this is specifically targeting freeware supported by toolbars.  Read closely

{
- Be pre-approved by Google;
- Offer one-click, complete uninstall;
- Provide clear, full disclosure and transparency to people about what is being installed and what changes are being made to their devices;
- Install itself on only one browser per download;
- Be bundled with and distributed by only reputable parties who comply with our policies..."
}

OK I don't like that pre-approved by Google part either, but the context of this message seems to be directly addressing Adware.  For those of you bundling toolbars from Adwords, Google is going to block you.  I think the rest of us will be fine.
C. Stark Send private email
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
 
 

This topic is archived. No further replies will be accepted.

Other recent topics Other recent topics
 
Powered by FogBugz