Updated on 9 February, 2024
Policy Update For Google Merchant Center -- Sensitive Events

Policy Update For Google Merchant Center (Sensitive Events)

Starting in February 2024, Google will update its inappropriate content policy. The update aims to explain the definition of sensitive events in more detail.

It’s interesting to see that I reported on this policy on the 10th of January, and yesterday, on the 8th of February 2024, they repeated the same policy update and created two separate notifications, one for shopping ads and one for free listings. When checking the policies, the shopping ads version mentions monetization, while free listings do not. The provided examples mention shopping ads and do not allow services.

The easiest way to understand this is if you were a seller before 2020 (during the COVID-19 pandemic) and tried to sell face masks. You would not be allowed to. This was for both N95 masks and cloth masks. After a while, this policy was relaxed.

For anything unforeseen, Google wants to avoid misleading practices, fake news, etc.

So, the update on Google’s policy will be related to such events; Google is anticipating more exploitative practices.

Google has provided examples such as: Events include events with significant social, cultural, or political impact, such as civil emergencies, natural disasters, public health emergencies, terrorism and related activities, conflict, or mass acts of violence.

Google also states the following that is prohibited.

Products or services that exploit, dismiss, or condone the Sensitive Event, including price gouging or artificially inflating prices that prohibits/restricts access to vital supplies; sale of products or services which may be insufficient for the demand during a sensitive event.

Using keywords related to a sensitive event to attempt to drive additional traffic.

Claims that victims of a sensitive event were responsible for their own tragedy or similar instances of victim blaming; claims that victims of a sensitive event are not deserving of remedy or support; claims that victims from certain countries were responsible or deserving of a global public health crisis.

I have yet to see many merchants contact me for help getting these types of products approved; if I do, I explain why you can’t sell, and I get some disgruntled replies. In any case, we will start seeing more product or account disapprovals. Or it’s more of a new safeguard for future events.

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