New Google AdWords policy Unsupported content – Free desktop software was introduced in April 2015. The policy says that you cannot advertise free software without registering with Google as a publisher and obtaining permission in advance. According to Google, ‘free desktop software’ applies to all downloadable software, including demo and trial versions of commercial software. Official confirmation:
@Traysoft Hi Michael, yes the Free Desktop Software policy applies to trial and demo versions as well. -Ivana
— Google AdWords (@adwords) May 11, 2015
Google already started to disable ads based on this policy. On April 27th our 10-year old AdWords account advertising our commercial software was suspended without warning for the violation of the ‘Free Desktop Software’ policy. It has been over two weeks and our website is still ‘under review’. You can read the full story here.
If you have any downloadable software on your website, be ready to have your ads disabled for at least several weeks while Google checks your software and decides if you are allowed to use Google AdWords. You can start the review process early by submitting this form: Application to advertise free desktop software as an authoritative distribution site.
I cannot even imagine how long this review process is going to take when Google disables ads of all software vendors who have a trial/demo version of their software available for download. We are talking about many thousands accounts including big names like Adobe, Microsoft, Corel etc. Major software distributors like ComponentSource will not be able to use Google AdWords at all.
Introducing major policy change that affects thousands of customers and disabling ads without warning is _not_ how a business should treat its customers. Even a simple email explaining the policy and asking software publishers to comply in advance would go a long way.