Browse Month: January 2009

Call Our Customer Service… It’s A Rewards Center!

Yet another example of customer service gone wrong implementation that I had stumbled on this morning. My wife ordered some of her stuff online from, order arrived in two pieces, one of them wrong. It happens. This morning I fetched a customer service phone number from order’s e-mail and wrote it for her so she could call and request an exchange. As I was leaving I heard her dialing the number and… guess what? An overly-cheery loud and annoying female voice happily announced that she has reached a rewards center, “probably by mistake”. Right… hung up the phone, double-check the number and dialed it again. Oops. Same voice, same message. I stopped, went into HSN’s web site to check the number. Yes, we’ve got the number right, but it still says “rewards center”.

After trying out a few other numbers, we figured the right one. Customer service rep helped my wife out, doing whatver it is they’re supposed to do in order to fix such an issue. However, the problem remains the same – why would someone post a rewards center phone number as a customer support? My guess is it was some marketing genius that decided it was an easy way to upsell existing customers.

From my stand point – it is not.

AdWords Response

The answer to my question about AdWords came faster then I anticipated, guys there are fast. While I doubt this strategy works for small resellers, it makes sense from Google’s point of view. In any case, I realize that it was my honest mistake.

There is nothing wrong with Google’s enforcement of its rules.  You just haven’t done what you need to do yet.  Even though your client is a registered affiliate, Google doesn’t know that.  They need to see written permission from the trademark holder that your client is allowed to use it.  Once they see that, you’re all set.  (In my case, I needed to ask Apple for permission to use the word “Mac”.)

Check out the help article below which has a link to the form that you’ll need the NFL and the NHL to fill out.  (They should have contact info for their trademark or their legal departments on their websites.)
Good luck.

Google AdWords Doesn’t Like My Money

Last week I was running a test campaign for one of my clients and a full week after I wrapped it up a notice from Google came in stating that some of my ads are out of trademark compliance. The site in question is, the owner is a registered affiliate of McFarlane Toys and Neca (which gives him rights to promote their merchandise using whatever he can find on their web sites). The words in question were NFL and NHL.

Next thing – I open the browser, search for “NHL action figures” or “NFL action figures” and the paid ads are full of “sacred” terms. So my question is – if myself and my client get slap on the wrist and others don’t this means Google’s adherence to its own guidelines and policies is very spotty. I realize that big guys’ money are better then mine, but why don’t Google come out straight about that?

Posted the question on their forums, but I don’t hold my breath.