Microsoft’s adCenter Editorial Guidelines rank highly for “arbitrary” and “spurious”

So far, this week has been a swirling cloud of some very perplexing and challenging, comprised of the bizarre and the preposterous, and by way of Microsoft’s adCenter Editorial Guidelines, and I have the proof!

Welcome to Microsoft Advertising live chat, an Ad Specialist will be with you shortly.

Wayne: Hi [Agent name redacted]!

[Agent name redacted]: Thank you for contacting Microsoft advertising, how can I help you today?

Wayne: I’ve created an advert and received an message informing me it’s been disapproved: “As part of the editorial review process, we have reviewed your ads and keywords. Unfortunately, we were unable to approve one or more of them.”

Wayne: But there’s no guidance on why or for what reason. Do you have an specific advice there?

[Agent name redacted]: I’d be happy to assist you with that.

[Agent name redacted]: To confirm, your ad has been disapproved and you would like to know why, correct?

Wayne: Yes.

[Agent name redacted]: I’m going to ask you some questions, so that I can verify and access the account, ok?

Wayne: I can see there is a help topic on the subject, but I’d prefer to know specifically why.

[Agent name redacted]: What is your username, email address, and account number, please?

Wayne: [Personal details redacted].

[Agent name redacted]: one moment please

[Agent name redacted]: Thank you for verifying the account

[Agent name redacted]: Have you ever contacted us about this before?

Wayne: I’ve chatted with you guys twice this week, but not regarding this issue.

Wayne: This being the third time.

[Agent name redacted]: one moment please

[Agent name redacted]: Let me take a look at your ad

[Agent name redacted]: If you click on the little arrow next to the word disapproved, there is information there on why the ad was disapproved.

[Agent name redacted]: You can’t use an amazon site unless your are an affiliate of some kind

[Agent name redacted]: are you?

Wayne: I don’t see any arrow. Where should I be looking?

[Agent name redacted]: Are you on the page where you see your ad?

Wayne: Ah, right. The “Delivery” now says “Disapproved”, where it didn’t before.

Wayne: Hold on.

Wayne: Okay, so this is because of the Amazon link. Yes, it’s an affiliate link, but it doesn’t in any way change the visible behaviour of the page, in so far as what the potential customer would see.

[Agent name redacted]: Your landing doesn’t meet our quality requirements

Wayne: So you’re saying Amazon aren’t good enough?

[Agent name redacted]: One moment I’m going to send you a link

[Agent name redacted]: Relevancy & Quality Guidelines

[Agent name redacted]: We have a lot of information here on what is required to advertise with us.

[Agent name redacted]: If you are an affiliate of amazon you should contact them to get a usable url – you will not be able to use

Wayne: I’m guessing your interpretation concerns points 3.1-3.2, yes?

Wayne: Oh, so it’s not the website, it’s just the URL?

[Agent name redacted]: It is the url and the website. You must use a landing page that you own.

Wayne: I tried that with my own website via Google AdWords but they would neither let me use that or explain why, which is why I came to you guys!

[Agent name redacted]: I don’t know what your website looks like, but if Google disallowed it then I’m sure we would as well.

Wayne: Okay, let me quickly edit this advert with the URL for my own web page and let’s see what happens there, because even if it’s disallowed, at least I’ll know why.

[Agent name redacted]: what is the url of your website?

Wayne: [URL redacted].

[Agent name redacted]: one moment please

[Agent name redacted]: You are asking users to put in personal so you need to have a prominent link to a privacy policy that includes an opt-out statement.

Wayne: I’m not asking them to do anything other than click the link.

[Agent name redacted]: You have a form on your site do you not?

Wayne: No, it’s a comment box.

[Agent name redacted]: Name, email

Wayne: It’s a comment box for a web log.

[Agent name redacted]: If they can put that in, you have to have the privacy policy

Wayne: But what’s that got to do with the CTA, at the top?

[Agent name redacted]: CTA?

Wayne: Call To Action — “Buy NOW from Amazon Kindle.”

Wayne: Whether anyone comments is of no concern to Microsoft or anyone else.

[Agent name redacted]: I am pointing out what is required for you to advertise. If you meet the guidelines than you can. If you do not your ads will not run.

Wayne: So if I understand this correctly, because of a secondary action, that has nothing to do with the buying process in any way, shape or form, you won’t allow me to use any page on my web blog? Keeping in mind, that a principle purpose / function of a web blog is to solicit comments.

Wayne: This I find almost too bizarre to believe.

[Agent name redacted]: If you ask people for there information you have to provide them with a privacy policy

Wayne: No wonder Google wouldn’t tell me why!

[Agent name redacted]: It applies to all advertisers

Wayne: It’s arbitrary.

Wayne: I don’t think this is going to work out, if your guidelines are this spurious. Honestly, this is incredibly weird.

[Agent name redacted]: I can provide you with a generic privacy policy and you can plug in your information.

[Agent name redacted]: Do you know how to add a link to your web page

Wayne: [Agent name redacted], the point I’m making is, whether I have or have not got a privacy policy has nothing to do with Microsoft or anyone else. That has nothing to do with the buying process.

[Agent name redacted]: It has to do with you collecting personal information

Wayne: Which has nothing to do with the buying process. Look, if someone clicks the CTA, they go to Amazon. Yes, they go to the very website you also won’t allow me to use.

[Agent name redacted]: I’m am not here to argue with you. I am just here to show you how to advertise with us

Wayne: And I’m making it clear, either for your benefit, or for the benefit of whoever you’re beholden to, that your policies are both spurious and arbitrary, and I can’t proceed on those terms.

Wayne: You’re essentially interfering with my personal practices.

Quite why anyone would devise such bewildering guidelines is something of a complete mystery. But I shall not dwell, for fear of going mad!