Google is to ban online advertisements that promote cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings.
A notice said the policy would be introduced in June but did not give an explanation why. The move is part of a wider crackdown on the marketing of a new breed of high-risk financial products.
Announcing its decision in an update to its policy, Google said it will begin to block ads for “cryptocurrencies and related content.” Facebook took a similar step in January, leaving the two largest web-ad sellers out of reach of the emerging digital-currency sector.
The largest cryptocurrency by market value, Bitcoin, had gained about 2% dipping slightly after the announcement by Google but with no big change, trading at $9.099. Ripple and Ether, rival coins had also seen small gains.
Google is also restricting ads for financial products including binary options, a risky derivative with an all-or-nothing payoff. Right now, Google queries for terms like “binary options” and “buy bitcoin” produce four ads at the top of the results. A Google spokesperson said that the company’s policies will try to anticipate what it termed ‘workarounds’ after some more aggressive businesses sought out loopholes, purposely misspelling words like “bitcoin” in their ads. The move follows Facebook’s ban on ads for cryptocurrencies in January.
Google has a policy where it releases its “bad ads’ report annually. This report reviews controversial, deceptive or malicious ads and scrubs them from its search, display and video network. Google said that in 2017 it removed more than 3.2 billion advertisements from the web. In 2016 the figure was 1.7 billion.
In 2017. Online ads that lured clickers to websites with malware removed by Google totalled 79 million. Misleading content is also on the Google radar with 7,000 customer accounts suspended for ads that impersonated news articles. The tech giant also blocked more that 12,000 websites for copying information from other publications.
However, Google’s slice of the pie in, terms of ad revenue, generated $95.4 billion last year, a 20% increase on 2016 and its seems revenue was not impacted too much by the removal of the 3.2 billion ads nor is it anticipated that the coming cryptocurrency ban, will have a serious impact on sales.
“This is all a good move,” commented crypto-currency sceptic David Gerard, author of Attack of the 50ft Blockchain.
“It’s about tackling the kinds of risky investments that verge on gambling.
“If you’re a proper trader or an accredited investor then fine – it means you’re rich and your money is your own problem. But these things shouldn’t be targeted at ordinary people.”