Google to ban advertisements on cryptocurrencies and related products

Ivan Schwartz
March 15, 2018

The announcement came as Google is relying on new technology to detect and remove ads that violate policies. Given the huge scope of Google users, it is a blow to the emerging currency market.

Under the new policy, the company will ban ads for unregulated or speculative financial products like binary options, cryptocurrency and financial spread betting among others. Google is also honing in on adverts promoting gambling and ads that make a song and dance about health products and schemes that are rather illegitimate.

Google says it will also be introducing a new certification process for rehabilitation and addiction treatment facilities. The figure reported represented almost a twofold increase from 2016, when 1.7 billion adverts that violated Google's advertising policies were taken down. It is estimated to bring in more than $40bn in ad revenues over the course of 2018, nearly half the entire global $94bn market, beating Facebook, which earns $22bn, into second place.

"This means we are able to block the majority of bad ad experiences, such as malvertising and phishing scams before the scams impacted on people".

Blocked 79 million ads for trying to send us to malware-infected websites.

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Google also removed more than 130m ads a year ago for trying to abuse its ad network through malicious activity.

Google has released an updated policy on its AdWords support page, which gives financial products affected list. However, the scope of Google's efforts is incredible. Last year, Google generated US$95.4 billion in ad revenue, up 20 percent from 2016. That's an average of 100 per second, and an increase from 1.7 billion removals of bad ads in 2016.

In 2017, 11 000 Web sites were reviewed for potentially violating the misrepresentative content policy; 650 of those sites were blocked and 90 publishers were terminated from the Google network.

A troubling trend Spencer noticed in 2017: An increasing number of these third-party publishers are either creating scam sites (for examples, a non-news site in the US pretends to be a news site based in London) or stealing content from other sites just to gain quick web traffic and ad money. Keeping pace with scammers According to Google, the changes are part of its "ongoing" work to improve online ads.

"We've seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it's an area that we want to approach with extreme caution", said Scott Spencer, Google's director of sustainable ads, in an interview with CNBC.

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