If your product could be labelled “dangerous”,  you probably can’t advertise it through Google AdWords. What comes to mind are the usual suspects: guns, explosives, drugs…. And payday loans.

Google has received broad praise for its most recent ban on the financially dangerous payday loans, which it announced earlier this week. Google’s reasoning appears logical in the moral sphere:  these loans often drive their payees into further debt through their sky-high interest rates. Noting the ways in which these loan advertisements target desperate and vulnerable, Google starts to appear as the responsible internet parent we never knew we had. The decision seems even more saintly when you realise how much some of these loan sharks were paying to Google: this ban is predicted result in a $US34.5 million loss for the search firm…. But then less saintly, when you consider the pressure they would have undergone from lobby groups, and the PR boost they get from appearing to have a moral compass.

So, what other products are on the bAdWords list?

Here’s a surprising one: essay writing services. In 2007, Google stopped allowing these services to advertise, in a move university lobbyists hoped would protect the integrity of university degrees.

Don’t try and promote your “get rich quick” scheme, either: Google disallows that under its ban of “misleading or unrealistic promotions”. Under the same umbrella, it’s forbidden to promote pharmaceuticals that make similarly empty promises of an instantaneous cure or rapid weight-loss.

Long story short: if you’re trying to advertise something shady, our all-knowing Internet overlord won’t be happy. You don’t want to err into the territory of bAdwords. Make sure you’re sticking to the guidelines, and aren’t accidentally providing misleading offers in your ads, because when you fall out of favour with Google, you fall out of favour with a veritable mountain of potential consumers.  We don’t have to tell you how bAd that’d be…

For assistance with your AdWords account in Melbourne, get in touch with us. We’re here to help. For your reference, here is the complete list of Google’s ad policies.