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Google, determined to continue its fight to stop bad ads

Bad ads mislead users

In an article published by Scott Spencer, Google promises to stop bad ads. Scott Spencer, Vice President of Product Management, Ads Privacy and Safety said that this commitment is especially important now.

A task force for COVID-19

During the COVID-19 outbreak, Google “closely monitored advertiser behavior to protect users from ads looking to take advantage of the crisis.” Thus, the company mentioned that one example was te sharp spike in fraudulent ads for face masks, listed much above the market price. They also misrepresented the product’s quality, to trick people.

“We have a dedicated COVID-19 task force that’s been working around the clock. They have built new detection technology and have also improved our existing enforcement systems to stop bad actors,” Spencer mentioned. So, Google managed to remove “tens of millions” of ad related to coronavirus. This happened because most of them were violating Google’s policy. Some were price-gouging, capitalizing on global medical supply shortage or promoting fake unemployment benefits. At the same time, the company was forced to help advertisers share relevant updates. Also, the giant had to make sure that NGOs, governments and healthcare could make public service announcements.

5.000 ads blocked, every minute

The company blocked and removed 2.7 billion ads in 2019, only – more than 5.000 ads/minute. Also Google suspended almost 1 million advertiser accounts and removed ads from over 21 million web pages for violating its policies.

The company also had to face phishing attacks, which increased during 2019. So, the attackers mimicked the real ads to determine users provide sensitive data.

The “trick-to-click” ads also deceived users into interacting with them. So, an internal team was dedicated to track these fraudulent advertisers. Afterwards, 50% of the bad ads disappeared.

“In total, we blocked more than 35 million phishing ads and 19 million trick-to-click ads in 2019,” Spencer added.

Loan-related ads, verified

As more consumers use more online financial services, more ads from attackers were coming with misleading information. So, Google decided to only allow loan-related ads if the advertiser “clearly states all fees, risks and benefits on their website or app.” The change resulted in taking down over 9.5 million of these types of bad ads in 2019. Double than in 2018.

So, Google introduced a certification program for debt management advertisers in selected countries. These negotiate with creditors to remedy debt or credit problems.

“We know users looking for help with this are often at their most vulnerable and we want to create a safe experience for them. This new program ensures we’re only allowing advertisers who are registered by the local regulatory agencies to serve ads for this type of service. We’re continuing to explore ways to scale this program to more countries to match local finance regulations,” Scott Spencer added.

In fact, Google’s promise to stop bad ads represents also a way to protect its business and revenues. In Spencer’s words “Maintaining trust in the digital advertising ecosystem is a top priority for Google.”

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