BY Nariman Azzam – Content Dream Team.
Which industries are restricted from marketing on the Internet?
What kind of content does Google prohibit and doesn’t promote? Which content is forbidden on Youtube? What are counterfeit goods? What is the difference between restricted and prohibited content on Google?
The internet has several policies and rules when it comes to content. You might be paying to advertise to something, but Google won’t promote it if does not fit the content type and you will not be able to pass through the filtering procedure on Google.
If you are running a business or selling a product or service online that crosses the line of the prohibited content, you will just run out of luck. It is sporadic for Google to provide personal exceptions to a business. For instance, selling pharmaceuticals online is forbidden unless you are licensed and well-known pharmacy brands like Rite Aid and CVS. Even when Rite Aid or CVS wants to make a new advertisement, they should do it and provide proof of identity and permission.
On the other hand, some content is restricted but not prohibited. Meaning, you can advertise, and you will have some restrictions like not having the permission to promote on Youtube or advertise in Google search results but on a broader display network.
First, the types of content prohibited on Google are counterfeit goods, meaning that the product contains a logo or trademark that is identical to the brand of another company. An excellent example of counterfeit goods is the Nike products comparing a real and a fake logo.
Counterfeits attempt to sell cheap knockoffs as the real product making huge profits out of it. It is a trademark violation and an illegal practice worldwide, so Google doesn’t allow it.
As an expansive definition of counterfeit goods, it is impossible to advertise products or services flagged as fake, clone, imitation, replica, or any other related term. If it is close enough to be a trademark violation in the court’s eyes, it will get filtered.
Next on the list is any content that is dangerous. A product or services that aims to cause damage, injury or harm is completely deniable by Google. This includes a wide range of products or services such as:
Explosives: fireworks, firecrackers, chemical bombs and any method that includes producing bombs of any kind is banned from advertisement.
Guns: the definition of a gun is broad. It is mostly a functional device that can discharge a projectile at high velocity. It includes firearms, handguns, rifles and shotguns. It also includes recreational guns, airsoft guns, paintball guns and antique guns are all forbidden from advertising. It also includes parts of the guns that make it function; like clips, silencers, ammo, and belts.
Other weapons: this includes knives that promote for dangerous use, self defense or any kind of sport. Cane swords, tasers, brass knuckles and pepper spray.
Drugs: it is forbidden to advertise legal and illegal drugs like cocaine, heroin, meth, pot and mephedrone. It also includes pipes and bongs and advertising locations like cannabis coffee shops. You can’t advertise content that allow people to produce and use drugs.
Tobacco products: tobacco advertising is forbidden since the 1970s ever since the cigarette advertising was banned. Google doesn’t allow advertising for cigarettes, cigars, snus, chew and loose tobacco for pipes.
Harmful content any content that harasses, bullies, threatens and advocates harm, self harm or seeks to exploit any group. This includes the minority groups, ads that target specific people, disorders and blackmailing.
Shock and scare content: never google the iconic goatse is one of many pictures and other pieces of content that fall under this category. Advertising crime scene images, execution videos, sexual fluids, waste products, secular, racist, and sexist language. Scare content includes anything designed to scare people to take action. For example, you can’t run a campaign by convincing an individual that they are victims of a conspiracy theory or run generic symptoms scaring people that they have a disease.
Animal cruelty and sensitive content: products and services that promote cruelty or violence against animals are rejected, such as animal fighting, cruelty to animals like shark fines, rhino, and elephant horns, dolphin oil and all other content that threaten animal products. Therefore, sensitive content covers insensitive advertising. You can’t use a recent hurricane in a country to market and advertise your flood pumps. You can’t take advantage of a recent massacre to sell your insurance agency services. So, you are forbidden from advertising anything that appears non-beneficial for victims of a tragedy.
All of the above examples are prohibited from Google AdWords. Therefore, if your advertisements rely on any of the above, consider your content to be disapproved. The penalties can vary from simple ad denial to suspending your website; this also depends on how you tried to bypass these restrictions.
Restricted content can be forbidden in specific geographic areas and might need additional requirements to run the ads. This depends on how more challenging it is for Google to control.
Adult content covers a vast range of different content types, making some of them restricted and others prohibited. Anything sexually explicit, like pornography, is banned. Child porn, rape, incest, and underage dating are forbidden. Anything that includes prostitution as a service, intimate massage, and escorts are all excluded. Brides ordered by mail, romance tours, and marriage brokers are also banned. On the other hand, adult content can be allowed under certain circumstances, such as hook-up and sex-focused websites. Semi explicit content is sometimes allowed to have censored or blurred sexual body parts. The non-family safe range is occasionally allowable. Adult parties, strip clubs, sex toys are permitted, but drugs related to these content are forbidden. However, geographic restrictions can include all of the above.
Alcohol, just as expected, is another restricted content when all things are considered. Alcohol advertising largely depends on your geographic location. You can advertise the selling of alcohol and alcohol brands in some countries. But, you are not allowed to advertise alcohol under the legal drinking age in your country. You can’t imply alcohol as improving any sort of physical or mental performance, and you can’t advertise drinking and driving advertisements.
Gambling you can promote online and offline gambling like casino games with or without money. However, there are restrictions based on the countries. Although you are allowed to advertise gambling content, but you should get a permission from Google before starting.
Political content is only allowed for advertising when it complies with local news and laws. This can mean disclosure depending on the region.
Financial services are allowed but are very complex. Meaning, you should have a physical location for your online business. You are required to have disclose fees and you should have a third-party certification. Loan modification is allowed but requires a lot of accurate information and disclosures.
Last but not least, trademark holders can prohibit you from advertising as a direct competition to their advertising, this is also crucial to take into consideration. Some restricted businesses are not categorized, such as offering donations related to a particular political charity or party.