What in the maple syrup is going on—why was I asked to advertise, only to get banned when I didn't even do anything wrong?
Thankfully, around 6 days later, I got my Microsoft Advertising account reinstated. I'll share what I did below.
Microsoft's Default Procedure to Block and Suspend
First of all, I know, Microsoft needs to review new accounts to make sure everything is legitimate—but why is the default blocking or suspending new advertisers after enticing them to get on the platform?
Why not just state something like, "As this is your first ad, we need to make sure your information is legitimate. Your first ad review will take a little longer and we will notify you of the next steps."
This act of blocking didn't happen to just me either. Here are a few out of many discussions from the Microsoft Community forum:
- My Account Is Blocked After Setting up My First Ad
- Your Microsoft Advertising account is blocked and under review
- Your access to Microsoft Advertising is currently blocked
Though actually, as I type this out, I came to a realization—the sheer amount of new questionable or spam accounts that attempt to run ads would probably make it hard for Microsoft to deploy reasonable manhours to review each and every ad from new advertisers, so they resort to blocking by default to deter spammers, and genuine advertisers who didn't do anything wrong will have to appeal against the automatic bans to get their account reinstated.
But still, the default procedure to ban, block, and suspend accounts leaves genuine new advertisers a sour user experience, for sure. I still feel a small ick when I log into my Microsoft Advertising account—maybe it'll go away eventually, but let's see how effective Microsoft Advertising is.
Submitting An Appeal Against a Banned Microsoft Advertising Account
In the email screenshot I showed above notifying me of the ban, there is a link to send an appeal. Presumably, this is to get a human to review the decision their AI algorithm made, but in this day and age, who knows...
The appeal form asks for your name, business information, and a description of what your business does. It also asks for sample keywords you used in one of your campaigns, and information about the payment method you used.
At the end of the form, there is space for you to enter additional information that would help with the review of your case. This is what I typed in:
Hi there, I have been a Microsoft account user for many years, but my Microsoft Advertising account is quite new.
I experimented with running my very first ad, and I believe it does not go against any guidelines because the ad only links to an educational article about how to say hello or goodbye in another language. It's also one of my top-ranking article in search engines.
I also own the payment method used in my account and I will be able to verify any other information if needed.
After clicking on Submit, a confirmation that my appeal has been received appears and it shows that I should be able to receive a response within 7 business days.