Update: A Google rep now tells us:
Our Policy Team has taken another look at this and decided to reinstate ad serving to your site. No further action is needed.
Please reach out if you still have any issues with ads on your site.
So we’re back..for now – but obviously we’re exposed and it might make sense to make a change anyway. Stay tuned.
Some big site news everyone! At around noon today, our ads stopped working. They run through both Google’s Doubleclick/Ad Exchange network and Adsense. We’ve had a long and fruitful relationship with Google’s ads department, so when these type of issues do come up every few months, a few panicked calls and emails to the account rep of the moment can fix things. (And because our network does well into 6 figures/month, if we are vigilant we usually get to talk to a human!)
But this time was different. We have learned that Google’s Public Policy Team has decided that, after 5 years of publishing under the 9to5Google name, we have been violating their trademark. Sure we’re on Google+, News, Apps, Ads and just about everything else Google as 9to5Google but I guess something changed.
We are a news site dedicated to covering Google, not trying to masquerade as Google, so we’re appealing this decision (and if you know anyone at Google please have them run this up the ladder). But there is a big chance we’ll have to change our name. Obviously we’ll do a redirect so you can enter 9to5google.com in your browser and shouldn’t have to update your bookmarks feeds or Twitter or anything.
In the meantime, if we do have to change our name, what should we change our name to? 9to5G.com is probably the easiest. But perhaps we should embrace the bigger company name: 9to5Alphabet.com. Obviously that has the same risks. We could also just reduce ourselves to as few of characters as possible with 925.co? Or maybe we lose the 9to5 and go 24/7? You tell us!
Excerpted sad email from account rep follows:
Apologies for the delay here – my manager, team lead, and I have all been actively working on this with the Policy Team and I wanted to be 100% clear on the details before getting back to you.
I want to start by apologizing for the abrupt and confusing way that this issue was brought to your attention. This has been really frustrating – for both of us – as these issues are normally communicated internally in advance so that I am able to give you warning and clarify the issue. As you know, that did not happen in this case, and I apologize for that.
My Team Lead (—-, CC’d here) and I had a lengthy conversation about why this happened immediately and without an internal warning. Evidently, because this is a legal trademark violation, the policy team is required to act immediately. We still expected there to be a notification from our Policy Team, and we’re sorry on behalf of their team that it was not communicated more clearly.
With that said, we were not able to argue an appeal for this violation since it’s an explicit policy in the AdSense Ts&Cs. This was my first time encountering this violation, so I had assumed I could make a case for appeal, but it’s actually coming from the Legal Trademark team, above the Policy Team, and there isn’t any grey area for us to make an appeal.
We understand that you have been operating the site for many years and have even attended several Google hosted events without anyone bringing up an issue; however, our Legal Team must take action when they discover a trademark violation whether they discover it early on or much later.
We recognize that the situation is both shocking and frustrating and we’ve advocated on your behalf as much as we can. Since they will not grant us an appeal, we want to provide you with information for how you may legally use our trademark and if the conditions are reasonable, for you to submit a request.
In the meantime, your advertising strategy for 9to5google should be to continue to use DFP for ad serving, but to use other third party networks as your demand sources in order for you to monetize the site. My team and I are still here to advise you with monetizing your other sites and to support you as best as we can.
Please let us know if you have any other concerns.