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Google Takes Down over One Billion “Bad Ads”

We’ve all seen those terrible ads leading to scammy sites pretending to be People, CNN, FoxNews, etc., and containing fake celebrity testimonials. On January 25, 2017, Scott Spencer, Google’s Director of Product Management, posted on the company’s blog how they combatted against “bad ads, sites, and scammers” in 2016, touting a takedown of 1.7 billion ads. Spencer has attributed this success to two steps they took: policy change and technological advancements.

One type of ad that Google was hard-pressed to take down were “trick to click” ads. Often, these ads disguise themselves as system warnings in order to get users to click on them. In reality, clicking these ads have resulted in downloading malware. Spencer reported that Google took down 112 million of trick to click ads. Another type was clickbait ads, which they called “tabloid cloakers.” These are ads that take advantage of popular, viral news stories and present themselves as such. When a user clicks the ad, the user is not taken to a news site but is instead taken to a “bad site” that promotes some sort of product like weight-loss pills.

Google makes most of its money off advertising. While it may seem risky to tamper with their greatest earning factor, it makes sense in the long run. At Adblade, we take this issue seriously as well, and we call on all advertising platforms to ban the fake diet, wrinkle cream, Lotto and teeth whitening ads. By taking down bad ads, users will be able to have a better experience with Google and should help improve click rates over the long term by maintaining consumer confidence.