Google blocks charity’s ads due to confusion over sponsored child’s name

World Vision has revealed that its online advertising has been blocked by Google for months, as a child used in its online promotion shares her name with a restricted medical product.

Six-year-old Eunice from Mozambique features in the charity’s online promotion urging supporters to sponsor children around the world.

However, as Eunice is also the name of a medical product, which needs a licence before it can be advertised, bots at Google blocked advertising from the charity.

“Despite our senior paid media officer raising this issue with Google, the bots kept preventing our ads from appearing while she was on our site,” says the charity’s digital product manager Dave Owen.

Online advertising had been impacted for a number of months at the charity due to the confusion, confirmed a World Vision spokesperson.

"The ads had the error messages popping up on and off since September 2021. Every time they were disapproved, it would be appealed automatically to Google and they would approve it within a few working days,” they said.

“However, the issue kept appearing constantly because of the bot checks,"

To tackle the problem the charity removed Eunice from its website, which rectified the issue.

A member of staff at the charity has since volunteered to sponsor Eunice, as she could no longer be part of online appeals for sponsorship via the charity’s website.

Owen added: “This story has a happy ending. We took Eunice off the website and after an appeal to the workforce at World Vision UK, a kind staff member volunteered to sponsor Eunice. But there are many more children on our website who want to be sponsored.

“Thankfully, now the Google bots have detected that Eunice is no longer on our website and our adverts are working again.”

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