Google Change The Meaning Of ‘Free’

I have been promoting one of my other sites recently and when I saw my latest ‘Free’ Google AdWords voucher (they’re not exactly uncommon!) I thought I may as well give it a go. I have never used AdWords before so I went through the sign up process with my voucher in hand.

I created my campaign and didn’t mind the fact that that they wanted billing information before they could activate my account – but then I noticed that there was a ‘activaion fee’ of £5 in my case that I needed to ay in order to activate my account. I took another look at the ad – yup “Try it for free – £50.00* FREE advertising. No risk. No obligation” and then I looked at the small print – “A £5 account activation fee or equivalent credit deduction required”.

That sounds neither ‘Free’ or ‘No obligation’ to me.

Perhaps the ad is targeting existing AdWords users where they have already payed their fee? Nope – “The promotional code can only be used for AdWords accounts less than 14 days old”.

It might not have annoyed me if it was aimed at being ‘Free’ to existing members who have already paid their fee, but the fact they are targeting new customers with the promise of ‘No Obligation’ which is a down right lie. You may think that £5 isn’t worth getting worked up over – but I feel this kind of advert is deceiving.

Needless to say I did’t bother continuing my account creation. So all this advert did was waste my time, annoy me and give me yet another reason to dislike the big G.

Rant over.


Hi, call me Joe. I am a traveller, a runner, a beer drinker, a film lover, a web developer, a hiker and not a very good darts player. I am from the UK, have a BSc in Computer Science from Cardiff University and currently live in Canada.

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