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Google Ads is Censuring Me

With Google Ads, I have had a fairly inexpensive way to find out whether any of my inventions have any commercial potential. Here is my business strategy. I put an invention up on my website. I develop a Google campaign for a few localized areas on a few websites that allow Google advertising. In this way, I can give my ads repeated exposure to select readers—and see if I can get them to partake in my inventions.

With Google Ads, I have had no problems getting visitors to my website for any of my inventions. The challenge has been penetration: maybe 1% of those visitors go past the landing page. While I am still a bit perplexed as to why someone would click on an ad but not investigate beyond the landing page, I am thankful for the opportunity Google has given me to put my ideas out there. For less than $1000, I can conduct a reasonable focus group test. Traditional marketing would have meant spending a lot more to get the same answer.

One of my inventions is an alternative system of democratic governance, the TDG. I have used Google ads three times to promote the TDG. I tried different ads and different landing page designs. And each time, I couldn’t get visitors to go beyond the landing page. 

Now I have a new way to promote my new system of governance. I wrote a piece of fiction showing how ordinary people can build this system. I am hoping that readers will find this story as an easier and more entertaining read than my quasi-academic book. After they read the fiction, they might be more inclined to read the “real book.”

Will this new approach work? I don’t know. But I will soon find out with Google Ads except. . . .

. . . . except that Google Ads is no longer accepting advertising that is political in nature.

It seems Google does not want to be accused of manipulating the 2020 Election. The best way is not to have any political advertising, even if that means millions in lost profits. Or maybe there has been legislative pressure put on social media not to harbor any foreign interference.

Is my new campaign political? I am not advocating for any candidate or party. Nor am I trying denigrate any politician. But I suspect that the Google censors are instructed to cut off access to any ads and landing pages that have the words “democracy,” “politics,” “vote,” “governance,” etc., especially originating outside of the USA. Quick, easy, efficient: the Google censors need only spend 15 seconds to disprove my new campaign. I have tried to appeal, but big corporations like Google generally don’t respond to its lower revenue clients. And I have tried to workaround the censors, but that did not fool the censors. I suspect my account has now acquired a reputation for flouting the rules.

I am currently investigating one of Google’s competitors. However, any of these upstart ad brokers usually required connecting to the millions of websites already with Google ad units to make any revenue. So the upstarts have to comply with the Google rules to be put under the Google umbrella.

It seems this competitor has the same political requirements as Google. I’ve gotten a couple of return emails, but I suspect there is going to be no effective resolution for me here. There is another competitor, but I should not be surprised if the same is going to happen.

This leaves me with promoting my ideas on internet forums like Medium. Last March, I probably spent 30 hours on Medium — writing articles and commenting on other articles. I got about 40 visitors from Medium to my website. While none went past the landing page, I did manage to sell two ebooks, which I will attribute to Medium. But this sales volume does not justify my time on Medium. At some point, I have to quit.

Medium is perhaps my 10th internet forum. I have stayed here longer than other forums for I see a couple of advantages: Medium does allow longer articles; other forums have limits. And articles will stay active for two or three years. So I can place my new book here for a free read, knowing it could be accessed a few years from now. It’s good to have my work somewhere else than just on my website.

But in November 2018, I came to the conclusion that people who spend a lot of time on internet political forums are not really the kind of people to put alternative systems of government together. My TDG needs workers: people who are willing to attend meetings, listen to others, and create solutions that are beyond ideologies. But how to market to this demographic such that I don’t put my family in bankruptcy, I am not sure.

To digress, my website used to have Google ad units, thus generating some ad revenue. For about a year, I did recover about 50% of my advertising costs. But as Google changed the rules, this balance went down to less than 10%. And having advertising on my low readership website was causing a loss of credibility. I eventually abandoned all my Google ad units.

But this experience got me thinking about a new kind of internet ad broker. One of my inventions is DVO Advertising. In this ad broker platform, the publisher—not the ad broker—decides whether to accept the ads or not. The ad broker’s function is just to put the advertiser and broker together and earn a little commission for when a successful deal is reached between the two.

With a concept like DVO advertising, there really is no censorship. At least in a monopolistic sense.

About 10 years ago, I watched a Facebook marketer build up his fan base to 30,000. His business was going well. Then Facebook changed the rules so that he could only reach maybe 50 to 100 at a time. If he wanted the rest, he had to pay money. Since then, I’ve been quick to say “Don’t be too dependent on big internet corporations. One change in corporate policy could set you back a long way.”

A big part of my marketing plan for “Diary of a Future Politician” was to use Google ads. Two years ago, there wouldn’t have been any problem of Google censorship. Now there is. It looks like I got caught not following my own advice.

Published on Medium 2020

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