Google Merchant Center is splitting its Shopping Ads and Free Listings Malicious or Unwanted Software Policy into three separate policies:
- Malicious software.
- Compromised sites.
- Unwanted software.
The updated policies will be enforced from October, with full enforcement set to be ramped up over four weeks.
Until then, Google has confirmed that it will continue to enforce its existing malware policy.
Malicious software: The new policy specifically forbids intentionally spreading harmful or unauthorized access-causing software (‘malware’). This rule applies to your ads, listings, and any software your site or app hosts or links to, even if not promoted through the Google Network. Violating this policy is now considered a serious offence.
Compromised sites: A compromised site refers to a site or destination whose code has been hacked to benefit a third party without the owner’s knowledge, often harming users. Ads and listings cannot use compromised destinations. If you violate this, there will be a warning issued at least seven days before any account suspension.
Unwanted software: Ads, listings, and destinations that break Google’s unwanted software policy are not permitted. You will receive a warning at least seven days before any account suspension for violating this policy.
Action required. Take a look at the updated policy to check if any of your ads or listings fall under it. If they do, Google recommends removing them from your feed.
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What Google is saying. A Google spokesperson said in a statement:
- “All of our policies are made to protect a high quality user experience.”
- “We have enforcement systems and processes to prevent content that falls below these standards from being shown to users.”
- “We take any attempts to trick or circumvent our review processes very seriously, so play fair.”
Deep dive. Read Google’s policy update in full for more information.