Google has announced that it will block all advertisements related to cryptocurrencies starting this June. The company recently updated its AdWords-based Financial Services policy to restrict various forms of advertisements, including forex and financial spread betting and unregulated Contract for Difference (CFD) trading. The cryptocurrency ban includes all related content such as initial coin offerings (ICOs), virtual wallets, trading advice, and more.
On the whole, Google is addressing advertisements based on “unregulated or speculative financial products.” It’s part of the company’s continuous sweep to respect the user experience by removing unsavory advertisements and banning publishers from its AdWords network. Just in 2017 alone, Google removed more than 3.2 billion ads – more than 100 bad ads per second – and banned around 320,000 publishers.
Google lists cryptocurrency ads under its “emerging threats” banner despite the rising demand for digital money. The problem with cryptocurrencies From Google’s standpoint is that they’re not regulated, so investors have no guarantee of safe, honest trading despite market claims. There’s also the rising trend of cryptocurrency startups generating cash through initial coin offerings, and then disappearing with the funds.
For instance, Twitter is littered with cryptocurrency-related scams. Individuals are creating “verified” accounts and promising big returns for investing small amounts of digital coins. The scammers then disappear with the cryptocurrency. An advertisement with a similar offering could do even more financial damage. This is one scenario Google likely wants to avoid.
Facebook introduced a similar ban on its social network in January. According to the company, ads must NOT “promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings, or cryptocurrency.”
Some of the advertisement examples no longer allowed on Facebook include: “New ICO! Buy tokens at a 15-percent discount NOW!” and “Click here to learn more about our no-risk cryptocurrency that enables instant payments to anyone in the world.”
“We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception,” Facebook states. “That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.”
Google said on Wednesday, March 14, that not only did the company ban 320,000 publishers from its advertisement network in 2017 but it blacklisted nearly 90,000 websites and 700,000 mobile apps. Google also removed legitimate ads from two million individual pages each month that violated its policies. Google tacked on another 8,700 pages after updating its policies in April 2017 to protect web surfers against “dangerous and derogatory content.”
Subscription-free websites generate revenue by displaying advertisements stemming from platforms like Google’s AdWords. But for a free, ad-supported internet to work, those ads need to be safe and effective. For Google, that means investing in talent and technology over the last 15 years to crack down on ad-based fraud, scammers, and malware. Banning cryptocurrency ads is just the latest step in that direction.