Oct 08, 2018


Categories: Google, News

Google Under Fire Again for ‘Fake Ads’

‘Fake news’ is the great online enemy of our times: too much of it undermines trust not just in public institutions but in the very information sources people get their news from. If you can’t rely on Google to get you accurate, relevant search results people will drift away from the platform, but unfortunately it regularly finds itself embroiled in questions about the content it’s serving its users.

Recently, the tech giant has found itself stung by journalists from the Times, who were testing the boundaries of just which adverts Google will accept.

They created a website as a target for their ads and contacted Google to place ads and bid for keywords like ‘buy fake passport’, ‘buy fake reviews’ and ‘fake visa’. Not only were they able to bid on these keywords, but they received a personal contact from Google offering help to get “the best results for their business”.

This is a black mark for Google in two ways: firstly, it’s clear these specific keywords aren’t accounted for in the algorithm detecting bad actors and harmful ads. The email offering assistance also makes it appear the company is less than committed to cleaning up its image, and its service.

Profiting from illegal activities could see Google once more called to account by governments or fined, but this apparent lack of care about profiting from immoral activities could see a collapse in public support: if the platform isn’t trusted, it won’t be used. That makes it less attractive to advertisers, which means reduced income, leading, in turn to worse service and more users fleeing for alternatives.

It’s a worst-case scenario, and one the search giant is likely to avoid: they’re quick to point out they removed 3.2 billion policy violating ads in 2017. They’re committed to ensuring only legitimate adverts are served to their users. This represents a gap in their coverage, but one that can be quickly patched.

All the same, it highlights how easy it is for even giants in the field to make mistakes and how important it is for you to make sure your ads are high quality and compliant with the hosts’ advertising policy to avoid being caught in the next crackdown.

If you want to make sure your ads are optimised for your brand, your platform and your market, you need an expert. Talk to Illuminate today!