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Google Bans Crypto Ads

Samantha Mitchell

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Google is the latest to ban crypto related advertising and initial coin offerings (ICO) after a review of their financial services policy. The ban also affects other risky financial products that Google terms as ‘unregulated and speculative.’ It will take effect from June 2018.

According to the updated Google policy, any contents related to Cryptocurrencies will no longer be allowed on Google ad words platform. This includes Initial coin offerings, Cryptocurrency wallets, Cryptocurrency exchanges and even trading advice on Cryptocurrency.

So, beginning June, expect not to see crypto ads on YouTube, those that appear alongside search results as well as ads on third party sites on the company’s ad platform.

Follows Facebook’s Ban

The search company’s ban follows that made by Facebook in January with claims of scam and deception in promotional practices by the Crypto sites. Rumors are that the ban was as a result of pressure from the FBI.

However, the ban on Facebook did not entirely eliminate all crypto ads. Clever advertisers found ways to get back into the system by deliberately misspelling words. For example, replacing letter “o” with zero and letter “I” with number one in the phrase Bitcoin.

However, Google says they are anticipating these workarounds and are working to eliminate all these possibilities. It will be interesting to note the developments that follow this ban.

As for Twitter, the company is still making baby steps in combating crypto scammers. The company does not have a specific policy on crypto or ICO related ads. However, the ban on Facebook and Google sure is a wake-up call for Twitter. We should expect clarity on its policy latter in the year

Started A Long Time Ago

Even as the battle is set to start in June, the war began a long time ago. In 2017 alone, Google is said to have taken down over 3 billion ads (twice that of 2016) that were in violation of the company policy. It is speculated that Google had already started restrictions on Cryptocurrency last week. That could be the reason for the drop in performance of ICO-related ads the same time.

Exceptions

Google went ahead and stated that ads for regulators and affiliates offering contracts for difference, financial spread betting and rolling spot Forex (which would also be affected alongside Cryptocurrencies) have an option of certification by Google themselves and will only be available in specific countries. The policy does not mention crypto in this additional information. Why?

You see, the advertisers would need to be licensed by the financial authority in the target country, ensure they are in compliance with the ad word policy and comply with legal requirements to operate. Now, crypto has no regulation whatsoever, and you get the idea of why it was not considered.

As aforementioned, Google has been actively cracking down scam sites, misleading contents and sites that redirect users to malware-ridden sites. In 2017, at least 7,000 customer accounts have been suspended, the same year that Google recorded the highest number of pulled down ads.

With a 95.4 billion dollar ad business, the ban on Cryptocurrency will be insignificant. As insignificant as it is to Google, the same is being experienced with Bitcoin’s unchanged numbers as at press time

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