Google said it removed more than 780 million ads last year as part of its strategy to protect consumers from malware, phishing schemes, and fake products. To maintain its fight against the forces of evil advertising, the company said it has assembled a global team of more than 1,000 employees dedicated to the task, in addition to technology investments to improve the ad experience.
"When ads are good, they connect you to products or services you're interested in and make it easier to get stuff you want," Sridhar Ramaswamy, senior vice president of Ads & Commerce wrote in a company blog post yesterday. "Bad ads can ruin your entire online experience, a problem we take very seriously."
The motivation behind Google's effort to improve the ad-consuming experience for users isn't altruism. It's profits. The search giant generates most of its profits from advertising, a business model that would be in serious trouble if users suddenly became too suspicious to click on their links. That's why the company has established strict guidelines in terms of what can and cannot be advertised through AdWords, its primary advertising service.
The ads Google targeted in 2015 came from the areas you would most likely suspect of less than savory business practices, such as ads for prescription pharmaceuticals. "We blocked more than 12.5 million ads that violated our healthcare and medicines policy, such as ads for pharmaceuticals that weren't approved for use or that made misleading claims to be as effective as prescription drugs," Ramaswamy wrote.
Weight loss scams, such as ads for supplements that make exorbitant claims about their ability to help you lose weight, resulted in Google suspending more than 30,000 Web sites. The company said such scams were one of users' top complaints last year.
No More Fake Warnings
Even ads that appeared to be for legitimate products came under scrutiny. Google suspended more than 10,000 sites and more than 18,000 accounts for attempting to sell counterfeit goods, such as designer watches. Phishing attacks, which seek to manipulate users into revealing personal data, resulted in another 7,000 blocked sites.
The company said it also managed to reduce the amount of unwanted software users inadvertently download and install on their machines by going to sites offering junkware, taking down more than 10,000 sites. But perhaps the biggest target of Google's ire were ads that sought to trick users into clicking on them, such as ads that are designed to look like system warnings from your computer. The company said it rejected more than 17 million such ads last year alone.
But it wasn't just fraudsters and tricksters Google went after. It also disabled advertisers with pop-up ads that obscure the screen of your mobile device or send you to a page you don't want to visit. The company said it is currently working on technology that can distinguish between intentional and unintentional clicks on ads, preventing users from leaving the site they're on and saving legitimate advertisers money.
In addition to these moves, Google said it will be rolling out additional protections against malware and bots this year, along with new policies designed to restrict what services can be advertised.
Posted: 2016-02-05 @ 3:15am PT
This is a very good move, heartily welcomed.
Posted: 2016-01-23 @ 2:50pm PT
This article was informative and it interested me. I'm suspicious of Google because they insist on stealing information off our computers, however I'm glad that they care about what we have to stare at on our phones and computers.