Google Adwords has permanently suspended thousands of accounts because of a change they made in policy recently.
There has been a change made recently (January 2011) by Google Adwords in regards to their policy on affiliate links. Basically you can no longer put an affiliate link as your destination URL, or they will shut your account down.
I did a couple of campaigns a few months ago getting referrals for Bukisa and Sidetick, and when I logged into my Google Adwords account, I found it was no longer there.
I set up a new Google Adwords account, and within a few hours, they permanently suspended that one too, stealing the $30 I put in to start the campaign.
They gave me a message on Google Adwords saying: "Your Google Adwords account has been permanently suspended for repeated violation of Adwords or Landing Page and Site policies in this or a related account.
Given that they never informed me of the recent change in their landing page and site policy, they effectively stole money right out of my pocket, and legally I would have the right to sue, but who would try to sue a billion dollar company like Google?
Clickbank Advertisers on Google Adwords
According to the help forum, many affiliate marketers had the same thing happen to them because they were using a Clickbank affiliate link as their destination URL.
People have been doing that for years, and I imagine some of these people would have had hundreds or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in their accounts when Google Adwords permanently suspended their accounts with barely any warning.
I don't know why Google is cracking down so hard on affiliate links, as I'm sure they get a lot of business from affiliate marketers using them, or at least they used to.
How do you get Around the Policy Change on Affiliate Links?
There is really only one way to advertise safely on Google Adwords, and that is to buy a domain name, and make your display URL and destination URL that domain name.
The only thing you can do is to send them straight to the home page of your own website, and then redirect them from there to your affiliate links.
Some people say this works better, because you have a better chance to sell them on the product before they go to the page where they buy it, but personally, I still haven't gotten around to making a website of my own yet.
The other option is to use other advertising companies like Facebook Ads, which I would suggest works just as well if not better.
Given the fact that Google Adwords pretty much stole money from me, has no regard for their customers, and you can never get a refund if they don't deliver their product, I will probably never use them again.
It's not just affiliate links that have been targeted either, but home pages of ordinary websites that have been advertising for years. Check out this Google Adwords help forum thread: Account disabled after 10 years for bad landing page!!!