Ads are great, Google says, except for the 3.2 billion bad ones

Ads are great, Google says, except for the 3.2 billion bad ones

In and interview with CNBC, Scott Spencer, Google's director of sustainable ads, said the company is updating its financial services-related ad policies to ban any advertising about cryptocurrency-related content, including initial coin offerings (ICO), wallets, and trading advice. Facebook Inc. took a similar step in January, leaving the two largest web-ad sellers out of reach of the nascent digital-currency sector. Right now, Google queries for terms like "binary options" and "buy bitcoin" produce four ads at the top of the results, reports Bloomberg. Some aggressive businesses found a loophole: purposely misspelling words like "bitcoin" in their ads.

The policy will be implemented across its platforms, including Facebook, Audience Network and Instagram, the company said.

In a separate blog post, Google said it took down 3.2 billion ads that violated its advertising policies in 2017, almost double the number of ads it removed in 2016.

And it's working! In 2017, Google noticed that this specific type of scam steadily declined on their networks as the year progressed: In a single month in 2016, they reviewed more than 1,200 sites for potentially violating their new misrepresentative content policy and terminated 200 publishers.

According to the search engine giant, it blocked 79m ads on its network previous year for automatically sending people to malware-laden sites and removed 400,000 of these unsafe sites.

It's unlikely that the 3.2 billion ads pulled in 2017, nor the coming cryptocurrency ban, will have a serious impact on sales. Over the past year, we used a combination of policies, technology and people to remove more bad actors from our ad ecosystem than ever before, and at a faster rate. Google is also accelerating a push against misleading content.

Bad ad practices that Google worked to stop include phishing scams to fool you into revealing personal information like passwords and account numbers, links to sites that try to trick you into installing malware, ads placed along news stories copied from legitimate news sites and violations of some Google ad privacy requirements.

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