Running stable Google Ads for a black hat niche (replica sneakers)

slyspider

Newbie
Oct 5, 2022
24
14
Hi all!

First of all I'd like to thank everyone on this forum. I've learned a lot from simply being a lurker for quite some time. For example, last year I set up my financial structure and companies based on a lot of the little gems of knowledge I found buried in threads here.

Now, however, I need some more specific help, which is the reason for me finally posting.

Some background:

For about 2 years now, I have been operating one of the most successful online sneaker replica stores serving the a specific country. We've reached the point of crossing 1,000,000 USD in revenue for this year already and we haven't even reached the busiest months of the year. We're also looking to expand to Australia before the Christmas period.
It's been a process getting here. Long story short, I started on instagram on my own, selling through conversations in DMs and PayPal invoices, gradually built a site, started advertising through Google, got fucked by PayPal for 70k, incorporated some companies, found a trusted payment terminal provider, hired some friends, built a custom order system with a great team, and have been continuing to scale relentlessly.

The current situation:

I operate two sites (basically duplicates of each other and both serving the same main country, with one also serving a small neighbouring country) and last weekend my longest running site had it's Google Merchant Center account suspended for selling counterfeit goods (along with the connected Ads account). Fair enough. Thankfully both sites were running on separate GMCs and Ads accounts. Super thankfully, the second site's GMC and Ads are still running as usual *knocks on wood*.

One area of questions I have is:
How did Google suddenly realise that these products are counterfeit, given I did not use any trademarked terms?
Furthermore, why didn't a duplicate site selling the exact same products get the same treatment? Is it possible that it has something to do with the text in the descriptions being the same on both sites and Google interpreting one as being a copy of the other? Or could somebody have reported the site? Was it a periodic in-depth review that somehow involved more than an algorithm? Does Google's crawler have the ability to detect brand names and logos in product images? Should I start removing reviews with any mention of "you wouldn't guess they're fake", "amazing replicas", or "unauthorised"?

My course of action so far has been: I relatively quickly shut the site for business and notified all of our email subscribers that it would be closed for maintenance. I completely removed all replica products, added a couple of new non-replica (generic) shoes and submitted an appeal. At this point, my Merchant Center suspension has changed from "counterfeit products" to "misrepresentation", which I'm currently working on.

If I get my account unsuspended, how should I go about re-adding my replica products?
Do I need to give it a re-warm with ad spend on the generic (non-replica) shoes I've added? Do I need to start changing product URLs so that Google won't interpret them as the same policy-violating products being re-added? What about the product image URLs? Should I try to generate new ones from Shopify somehow? There's quite a lot of parameters they could connect. If I need to change the product images themselves, I'd be kind of screwed there as I have over 400 products.

The strange thing is that submitting replica products to Google was super easy a couple of years ago when I started this GMC account. I initially submitted them directly through the Shopify integration, and then later on discovered the Simprosys Product Feed app, which helped me immensely. Since trying to open a new store for Australia this year, I discovered how hard it has actually become with suspension after suspension for new GMCs (connected to a new URL), where I tried to add these same products but for a different market.

When it comes to new GMCs and Ads accounts, does anybody have any experience with how to "warm-up" new accounts and gradually get them to accept replica products?
With the new Australian store, I had started a fresh domain, with a fresh GMC, and a brand new Ads account. I added some legit products, ran a performance max campaign, and a week later, started adding a few replica products into the mix, First 3-4 products, a couple of days later, another 3-4. Everything seemed to be running smoothly, everything was being accepted until I suddenly got a misrepresentation suspension (not on a day where I had added new products). I would love to know more about the process here...

Finally, does anybody have specific details about how a cloaking service could potentially help me?
Over the two years of running this store, I have never used a cloaking service. I am somewhat skeptical given that some of Google's algorithms apparently directly look for the presence of cloaking software, which usually results in a ban. I would be very interested in finding out more about how specifically I could apply this to my business to avoid future suspensions.

Disclaimer: I do understand that there are other ways to advertise besides Google but Google Ads were very much a golden bullet for me when I first discovered them. I'm currently trying to learn more about how to leverage TikTok, given that my products do also appeal to a younger audience. Due to the awesome ROAS, however, I would ideally like to find a stable way to continue advertising with Google

Thank you in advance. I always operate under the mindset that out there, there are many people who know far more than I do. I would be grateful for any piece of knowledge.
 
There is a major issue with GMC from past few months, currently which country are you serving, dm me i will help
 
I used to work with Facebook Ads. ROAS is terrible compared to Google. Currently looking into TikTok as an additional place for ads
May I ask if you directly display replica sneaker in the advertising creative, display the brand, and do not do other processing?
 
I used to work with Facebook Ads. ROAS is terrible compared to Google. Currently looking into TikTok as an additional place for ads
Hi man! What is Your telegram? I would like to be in contact. I am running E-commerce in Europe. I Think in the same Way as you.
 
May I ask if you directly display replica sneaker in the advertising creative, display the brand, and do not do other processing?
We used to directly show an image of the sneaker but just changed brand names and trademarked terms in the title, so as to avoid tripping any alarms. Also, we didn't work with creatives, rather products directly through the merchant center
 
We used to directly show an image of the sneaker but just changed brand names and trademarked terms in the title, so as to avoid tripping any alarms. Also, we didn't work with creatives, rather products directly through the merchant center
I also plan to test the promotion of such products on Tiktok ads. Based on your experience, is it possible to display such products directly on the ad creative?
 
Google Ads was highly abused by scammers running ads for fake online shops. And those fake online shops sold phones, clothes, shoes, mobile accessories, electronics, etc. Google Ads algorithms have been unable to stop such fake shops being advertised, because those advertisers cloaked excellently. So as a result of that what has happened now, is that Google Ads suspends 99% of accounts that tries to run ads pertaining to phones, clothes, shoes, mobile accessories, electronics, etc, be it replica or real, does'nt matter.
 
How do you get a million dollars worth of counterfeit products through customs ? How do you cash out such large sums ?

If you are making 1 million dollars, it wont be hard to purchase new accounts.

I don't want to knock what you are doing here but these replicas your selling, just remember the likes of Nike, Adidas have teams of people looking for these types of ads, online stores and even purchase the stock, to ensure they are not fake. In legal terms, they have very deep pockets and would be well within there reach to have google remove your ads.

Depending which way you want to look at it, where they removed by Google or was there someone or something that has reported you ? Just remember, this wont last forever and sometimes it's best to quit whilst your ahead.
 
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How do you get a million dollars worth of counterfeit products through customs ? How do you cash out such large sums ?

If you are making 1 million dollars, it wont be hard to purchase new accounts.

I don't want to knock what you are doing here but these replicas your selling, just remember the likes of Nike, Adidas have teams of people looking for these types of ads, online stores and even purchase the stock, to ensure they are not fake. In legal terms, they have very deep pockets and would be well within there reach to have google remove your ads.

Depending which way you want to look at it, where they removed by Google or was there someone or something that has reported you ? Just remember, this wont last forever and sometimes it's best to quit whilst your ahead.

I imagine he's dropshipping the products it's easy to get small orders of counterfeit products through customs.

There are many counterfeit websites that have been up for years, still running ads and getting large traffic to their sites. It can definitely be a long term business if you set it up correctly.
 
Hi all!

First of all I'd like to thank everyone on this forum. I've learned a lot from simply being a lurker for quite some time. For example, last year I set up my financial structure and companies based on a lot of the little gems of knowledge I found buried in threads here.

Now, however, I need some more specific help, which is the reason for me finally posting.

Some background:

For about 2 years now, I have been operating one of the most successful online sneaker replica stores serving the a specific country. We've reached the point of crossing 1,000,000 USD in revenue for this year already and we haven't even reached the busiest months of the year. We're also looking to expand to Australia before the Christmas period.
It's been a process getting here. Long story short, I started on instagram on my own, selling through conversations in DMs and PayPal invoices, gradually built a site, started advertising through Google, got fucked by PayPal for 70k, incorporated some companies, found a trusted payment terminal provider, hired some friends, built a custom order system with a great team, and have been continuing to scale relentlessly.

The current situation:

I operate two sites (basically duplicates of each other and both serving the same main country, with one also serving a small neighbouring country) and last weekend my longest running site had it's Google Merchant Center account suspended for selling counterfeit goods (along with the connected Ads account). Fair enough. Thankfully both sites were running on separate GMCs and Ads accounts. Super thankfully, the second site's GMC and Ads are still running as usual *knocks on wood*.

One area of questions I have is:
How did Google suddenly realise that these products are counterfeit, given I did not use any trademarked terms?
Furthermore, why didn't a duplicate site selling the exact same products get the same treatment? Is it possible that it has something to do with the text in the descriptions being the same on both sites and Google interpreting one as being a copy of the other? Or could somebody have reported the site? Was it a periodic in-depth review that somehow involved more than an algorithm? Does Google's crawler have the ability to detect brand names and logos in product images? Should I start removing reviews with any mention of "you wouldn't guess they're fake", "amazing replicas", or "unauthorised"?

My course of action so far has been: I relatively quickly shut the site for business and notified all of our email subscribers that it would be closed for maintenance. I completely removed all replica products, added a couple of new non-replica (generic) shoes and submitted an appeal. At this point, my Merchant Center suspension has changed from "counterfeit products" to "misrepresentation", which I'm currently working on.

If I get my account unsuspended, how should I go about re-adding my replica products?
Do I need to give it a re-warm with ad spend on the generic (non-replica) shoes I've added? Do I need to start changing product URLs so that Google won't interpret them as the same policy-violating products being re-added? What about the product image URLs? Should I try to generate new ones from Shopify somehow? There's quite a lot of parameters they could connect. If I need to change the product images themselves, I'd be kind of screwed there as I have over 400 products.

The strange thing is that submitting replica products to Google was super easy a couple of years ago when I started this GMC account. I initially submitted them directly through the Shopify integration, and then later on discovered the Simprosys Product Feed app, which helped me immensely. Since trying to open a new store for Australia this year, I discovered how hard it has actually become with suspension after suspension for new GMCs (connected to a new URL), where I tried to add these same products but for a different market.

When it comes to new GMCs and Ads accounts, does anybody have any experience with how to "warm-up" new accounts and gradually get them to accept replica products?
With the new Australian store, I had started a fresh domain, with a fresh GMC, and a brand new Ads account. I added some legit products, ran a performance max campaign, and a week later, started adding a few replica products into the mix, First 3-4 products, a couple of days later, another 3-4. Everything seemed to be running smoothly, everything was being accepted until I suddenly got a misrepresentation suspension (not on a day where I had added new products). I would love to know more about the process here...

Finally, does anybody have specific details about how a cloaking service could potentially help me?
Over the two years of running this store, I have never used a cloaking service. I am somewhat skeptical given that some of Google's algorithms apparently directly look for the presence of cloaking software, which usually results in a ban. I would be very interested in finding out more about how specifically I could apply this to my business to avoid future suspensions.

Disclaimer: I do understand that there are other ways to advertise besides Google but Google Ads were very much a golden bullet for me when I first discovered them. I'm currently trying to learn more about how to leverage TikTok, given that my products do also appeal to a younger audience. Due to the awesome ROAS, however, I would ideally like to find a stable way to continue advertising with Google

Thank you in advance. I always operate under the mindset that out there, there are many people who know far more than I do. I would be grateful for any piece of knowledge.
Hey, where you process your orders? Is it by aliexpress? Which is the most scalable campaign on google for this kind of products: replica sneakers. Is it google shopping, discovery, yt?

Have you tried run it without GMC? Just for campaigns that don't need GMC.

I am from Brazil and this replica market is very hot here, same troubles: accounts banned.
 
Myself and a few other members also have observed that campaigns related to shoes, sneakers, watches, electronics, mobile phones, etc, etc (replicas or real, does not matter), will get accounts suspended nowadays (especially if these are run on fairly new Google Ads accounts) and account suspension may show as suspended due to suspicious payment, whereas in reality the reason for suspensions have NOTHING to do with payment or card or billing.
But then why does Google Ads suspend accounts that run or try to run ads for shoes, sneakers, watches, electronics, mobile phones, etc, etc (replicas or real, does not matter) ???
The reason for that is that lots of scammers ran fake websites in Google Ads related to shoes, sneakers, watches, electronics, mobile phones, etc, etc and scammed buyers AND Google Ads was / has been unable to do anything to stop such ads being run, because the scammers that ran (or are running) such ads for their fake websites, use very effective cloaking techniques. So, considering that Google Ads was / has been unable to do anything to stop such ads being run, Google Ads nowadays simply suspends accounts related to shoes, sneakers, watches, electronics, mobile phones, etc, etc (replicas or real, does not matter).
Ofcourse, other members may share their insights as well.
 
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