From June 2018, Google users will no longer be inundated with advertisements promoting cryptocurrencies. While this might only affect a small percentage of users, the move comes as part of a larger crackdown on marketing promoting high-risk financial products. Google are not the only ones to highlight the dangers of cryptocurrency ads. In January, Facebook Inc initiated the move away from cryptocurrency advertisements and other high-risk products advertised on one of the world’s largest social media sites.
In March 2018, Alphabet Inc. (a Google subsidiary) updated its advertising policy, which looked at the dangers of cryptocurrency advertisements and all related content. They soon released a statement saying that they plan on blocking all ads for cryptocurrencies, and everything related. Currently searching for terms such as “Buy Bitcoin” brings up at least four sponsored advertisements. Come June, these will no longer exist, but whether this affects ecommerce and casino online sites that accept crypto, or has any impact on Bitcoin’s value remains to be seen.
Removal of Bitcoin, Initial Coin Offering and Similar Ads
To add to their ban on cryptocurrency ads, the internet search giant is also placing heavy restrictions on advertisements for Initial Coin Offerings (ICO’s) and financial products such as binary options. For those who are unfamiliar with the product, this is a high-risk derivative of cryptocurrency trading with an all-or-nothing payoff that could see millions of people losing vast sums of money.
Facebook Leads the Way
Since banning cryptocurrency ads in January, Facebook has reportedly been trying to crack down on aggressive businesses that have found a loophole in the system. Such companies have purposely been misspelling words like Ethereum and Bitcoin in their ads to avoid being detected. According to a Google spokesperson, the company is already anticipating similar ploys and is working on ways to avoid similar problems when it starts banning ads in June.
This year, Google’s updated policy came out with the release of the yearly “bad ads” report. This is an extensive review of the number of deceptive, controversial or malicious advertisements removed from its search engine and video network. To give you an idea of the scope of such a task, in 2017 alone, Google claimed to have removed over 3.2 billion ads from the web. This is almost double the amount from the previous year which stood at 1.7 billion.
A Crackdown on Misleading Content and Plagiarism
Of the 3.2 billion ads removed in 2017, no less than 79 million were advertisements designed to lure clickers to websites that contained malware. The company is also cracking down on ads that provide misleading content or plagiarism. In the last 12 months, Google suspended over 70000 customer accounts for creating ads that impersonated a public news article. This is a popular scheme which Google have termed “tabloid cloaking”. In addition, the company blocked just over 12 000 websites for plagiarism or copying publicly available information from other online publications.
While the ban on cryptocurrency advertising will have a small short-term effect on the industry, the long-term results may be more influential. As for Google, their loss in advertising capital from the ban will have no real effect on sales revenue or predicted growth. In 2017 alone, Google generated around $95.4 billion in advertising revenue, a full 20% more than what was seen in 2016.