Google working hard to stem the flow of bad ads

By | 22nd January 2016


Google’s senior vice president for Ads & Commerce, Sridhar Ramaswamy, took to the blogosphere to talk about the efforts Google is undertaking to shield users from bad ads. Google has a keen interest in ensuring advertising on the web is legitimate and does not detract from a user’s experience since advertising drives so much of their business. Ramaswamy revealed some interesting stats and discussed some detailed information about the types of bad advertising Google is trying to combat.

During 2015, Google disabled over 780 million ads that violated Google’s policies on advertising according to Ramaswamy. Finding and rooting out those bad ads took a global team of more than 1,000 employees. Google also employs technology to process advertising for possible problems as there would not be enough time for people to review all of the ads.

Ramaswamy indicated the leading types of bad advertising during 2015 covered the following areas:

  • counterfeiters – over 10,000 sites and 18,000 accounts were suspended for trying to sell imitation goods
  • pharmaceuticals – over 12.5 million ads for healthcare and medicines that were not approved for use or that made misleading claims were blocked
  • weight loss scams – Google suspend over 30,000 sites that made misleading claims like impossible to achieve weight loss without diet or exercise
  • phishing – almost 7,000 phishing sites were blocked
  • unwanted software – Google disabled over 10,000 sites that did things like slow down a device or change your homepage and in the process reduced unwanted Google ads downloads by more than 99 percent
  • trick to click – another huge area, Google blocked more than 17 million ads designed to trick people into clicking on them by doing things like appearing as system warnings.

The classic bad ads like those above were not the only areas Google’s ad team worked on. They also worked with legitimate advertisers and sites who were serving up bad advertising. This included efforts to identify sites that are creating accidental clicks on mobile ads when users really wanted to do something else like advance a slideshow.

Another area of concern are ads that do not follow Google policies over things like placing ads too close to navigation buttons. Ramaswamy says Google stopped more than 25,000 ads that did stuff like this. Even before they get to that point, Google rejected 1.4 million ad applications that it recognized might fall in this category.

Finally, Ramaswamy talked a little bit about some of the tools that Google provides end users to help control the online experience with regard to ads. These include the “Mute This Ad” option that appears on many ads. Ramaswamy says Google received over 4 Billion pieces of feedback from users who made use of this tool during 2015. Google also provides an “Ads Settings” tools connected to your Google account that can be used to fine tune the types of advertising you may be exposed to while surfing the Internet.

Ramaswamy says Google will continue their efforts in 2016 and anticipates a focus on weight loss advertisements and combating malware and bots.

source: Google

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