A bad-ads move: Google killed 2.3bn ads that violated its policies

14 Mar 2019294 Views

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Google offices in New York City. Image: AntonioGravante/Depositphotos

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Search giant Google says it is winning the war against fraudsters.

Internet giant Google has reported that in 2018 it took down more than 2.3bn ads that violated its policies – that’s about 6m ads every day or 100 bad ads per second.

In its latest Trust and Safety in Ads report, the internet giant revealed it introduced 31 new ads policies in 2018.

‘In 2018, we faced new challenges in areas where online advertising could be used to scam or defraud users offline’
– SCOTT SPENCER

Bad ads refer to ads that violate these policies, including ad fraud, phishing scams and malware. In most cases these ad campaigns are part of coordinated attacks by scammers trying to make money.

Google’s ads engine reaped $32bn in the most recent financial quarter, accounting for 83pc of all of the Alphabet subsidiary’s revenues.

The 2.3bn amount is nearly 1bn less than it removed last year.

Bad year for fraudsters and phishers

“In 2018, we faced new challenges in areas where online advertising could be used to scam or defraud users offline,” explained Scott Spencer, director of sustainable ads at Google.

“For example, we created a new policy banning ads from for-profit bail bond providers because we saw evidence that this sector was taking advantage of vulnerable communities. Similarly, when we saw a rise in ads promoting deceptive experiences to users seeking addiction treatment services, we consulted with experts and restricted advertising to certified organisations.

“In all, we introduced 31 new ads policies in 2018 to address abuses in areas including third-party tech support, ticket resellers, cryptocurrency, and local services such as garage door repairmen, bail bonds and addiction treatment facilities.

“We took down 2.3bn bad ads in 2018 for violations of both new and existing policies, including nearly 207,000 ads for ticket resellers, over 531,000 ads for bail bonds and approximately 58.8m phishing ads. Overall, that’s more than 6m bad ads every day.”

According to Google’s figures, it removed ads completely from nearly 1.5m apps and removed ads from nearly 28m pages for violating publisher notices.

It verified nearly 143,000 election ads in the US and removed ads from nearly 74,000 pages for violating its policy on “dangerous or derogatory” content.

“Google also continued to tackle the challenge of misinformation and low-quality sites, using several different policies to ensure that Google ads are supporting legitimate, high-quality publishers,” the company stated.

“In 2018, the company removed ads from 1.2m pages, more than 22,000 apps and nearly 15,000 sites across the ad network for violations of policies directed at misrepresentative, hateful or other low-quality content.”

Google offices in New York City. Image: AntonioGravante/Depositphotos

John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist who served as editor of Siliconrepublic.com for 17 years.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com