Google ads – fighting scam advertisers

In 2015, Google Ads pulled 780 million ads that violated Google’s policies. They pulled ads that were shilling fake cures, counterfeit goods, malware and supremely irritating ads that pop up and cover your entire page – you know them. You start reading a page and suddenly a crappy ad covers the entire page and you have to search for that teeny little x to close it. Chances are, the x is so small, you accidently click the ad and end up in some online version of spam hell. They piss me off so badly, I don’t return to sites that do this.

But … I digress as usual. Google publishes a list of how many ads they pulled. It goes further than that. Google also suspended websites and accounts that belong to offenders. Here’s the rundown:

  • 10,000 websites and 18,000 accounts were pulled because they were flogging counterfeit merchandise.
  • A staggering 12.5 million ads that sold pharmaceuticals or health care were blocked. This pretty much can be relabeled “snake oil” for all intents. Think of it – 12.5 million ads screaming out at the general public selling dodgy cure-alls, dangerous medications and more.
  • The above number doesn’t cover the thousands of instant miracle weight loss scams floating around on the Internet. 30,000 websites were suspended for promoting them.
  • Google has a long way to go on the phishing front – they blocked 7,000 which is barely a drop in the bucket.
  • And my favourite – the drive-by-downloads. That’s when you land on a website only to find out your computer downloaded some piece of crapware or your start page has changed. Nice… Google suspended 10,000 websites that do this and rejigged their ads to block up to 99% of them. Judging by the number of calls I get from customers, I’d say Google has barely scrapped the top layer off.
  • This one warms my heart. In the “Trick to click” category, Google pulled 17 million ads. Yes, 17 million ads designed to trick you into clicking because they warn you something is dreadfully wrong with your computer blah blah … Pardon me while I pause to chortle about this one.
  • Google doesn’t offer a figure on how many ads they disabled or pulled that leak out onto your page and cover up some of the content. This leads to accidental clicks, which is their entire purpose.
  • And finally Mobile apps weren’t left out. 25,000 apps saw their ads halted because the developer ignored the rules. We’ve all experienced them – an app you’re using has ads placed so close to the buttons, you can’t help but click them. Google has given them the boot and rejected over 1.4 million applications based on this.

It must feel like sticking a finger into the dike to stop the oncoming rush. Shut down one trick and they come back with 2.

Read more here: Google’s blog on fighting bad ads