Developed by Google Ads, Ponders Alternative Channels

Ecommerce entrepreneurs understand the need for multiple sales channels. Relying solely on, say, Facebook or Amazon or Google can lead to disruptions. And that’s what happened to Allen Walton’s company, which is set by Google Ads for most its visitors and earnings.

“My firm, SpyGuy, sells surveillance products, such as covert cameras, hidden cameras, nanny cameras, audio recorders, and GPS trackers,” Walton told me. “Google just rolled out a new policy to start Implementing about a month. Basically everything I sell is now banned on the Google Ads platform, which accounts for most my visitors.”

Walton’s story is a dreaded scenario for many vendors. However he shared his experiences with me when I recently spoke with him. What follows is the complete audio version of our conversion and a transcript, edited for length and clarity.

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Eric Bandholz: Google won’t enable you to advertise?

Allen Walton: Pretty much. My company, SpyGuy, sells surveillance products, such as covert cameras, hidden cameras, nanny cameras, audio recorders, and GPS trackers. Our clients include law enforcement, loss prevention departments, national agencies, but mostly just normal individuals. Business owners who are worried that someone is stealing from them. Apartment renters that are worried about intruders. Parents who believe their child is a drug dealer. All types of reasons.

I started this company back in 2014. It’s been mostly smooth sailing with Google advertising. We do text advertisements and Shopping advertisements. But a couple of years back, they shut down my account unexpectedly, saying my product enabled dishonesty. I’ve been fighting with them for the last few years over that.

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Google just rolled out a new policy to start Implementing about a month. Basically everything I sell is now banned on the Google Ads platform, which accounts for most my traffic.

Bandholz: So what’s your strategy?

Walton: I’ll tweak our ad copy and our landing pages so much as possible to play by the rules. I don’t know how well that will work, however. Google has listed the particular products which we market, stating that the products can not be advertised to anybody who’s trying to use them on the others, except for youngsters. They’re creating an exception for people who are watching their kids, apparently.

I knew this day would come. We’ve been paying tons of attention lately to organic search. That’s been a small fraction of our visitors. However, I hired a fulltime author a few months ago. We only have to do a fantastic job now with search engine optimization.

Bandholz: I think businesses like CBD oil, marijuana, gun companies, tobacco companies, all of these have to create unique procedures to be able to drive awareness. Perhaps the terrific news is that your opponents are dealing with it, too.

Walton: That’s mostly correct. But a couple of years ago, when our account was banned temporarily, Google said, more or less,”Remove the hidden cameras at the Google Shopping, and we are going to turn you back” We did this. Unfortunately, our opponents did not have to play by the same rule. So for the past 3 decades, I have been unable to advertise covert cameras, while my opponents could.

The next issue is the majority of my most important competitors already dominate organic positions. They do not need to change a good deal there.

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Bandholz: Tell me about your own team.

Walton: It’s mostly three customer-service me and individuals. We conduct a whole lot of our firm over the phone. Moreover, we use live chat and email. That’s what my customer service people do. One of them does the picking and packaging, too. We do our own fulfillment. Approximately 18 months ago, I hired my brother. He doesn’t come from an ecommerce background, but he’s very smart, and we work well together.

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Bandholz: Could you produce products beyond surveillance?

Walton: I’ve been promoting surveillance material for the last ten decades. It’s what I know best. Security is a significant industry with different sub-categories — business, home, client, cybersecurity. I’ve carved out this niche for spy stuff.

I’ve been a reseller. Up until a year ago, I never manufactured a product. But now we’re rolling our own product designs so that we can create. But with Google’s new policy, I do not know that we need to do that.

Bandholz: I am a huge fan of YouTube. Your products and your company have lots of potential on YouTube. One YouTube channel that is linked to your organization is called”The Lock Picking Lawyer.” He gets different locks and picks them. He’s walking the line of good intent versus bad.

Walton: We used to advertise lock pick kits, and Google put these things on its prohibited list.

Bandholz: Turn on such a camera, get the videos up, and begin building an audience.

Walton: I think you’re right. We’ve established that there a requirement for our products. In several ways, I have been resting on my laurels. I built up a successful Google Ads funnel, which I have been riding for the last six decades. I must have spent more time on SEO or filming videos. I’m paying the price for this today.

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Bandholz: As an entrepreneur, I’m always paranoid that what will end. So how do we construct diverse revenue streams, such as email, pay-per-click advertising, organic search, word of mouth? Your story and your willingness to share it will help others.

Walton: Diversifying is something that I have to have taken more seriously, for sure.

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