Mimicking its biggest rival for ad dollars – Facebook – Google will ban online advertisements promoting cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings, and “other speculative financial instruments” starting in June.
Some aggressive businesses found a loophole: purposely misspelling words like “bitcoin” in their ads. A Google spokeswoman said the company’s policies will try to anticipate workarounds like this.
The reaction was immediate across the crypto space but for now is somewhat subdued…
Alphabet’s Google said the new policy will become effective in June across ads bought on its search and display-advertising network, as well as its YouTube unit.
But, as The Wall Street Journal reports, the policy also will restrict ads for nontraditional methods of wagering on the future movements of stock prices and foreign-exchange, such as binary options and financial spread-betting, Google said.
Google said last year it removed more than 130 million ads that were used by hackers to mine for cryptocurrency. That is a very small percentage of the ads run on Google’s ad network.
The company’s director of sustainable ads, Scott Spencer, declined to comment on how much potential ad revenue the company would be turning away by enacting the new policy, saying the decision was made to prevent consumer harm.
One wonders when the crackdown will start on inverse VIX ETFs, or just S&P ETFs, or brokerages? Aren’t they all capable of doing consumers “harm”?
As a reminder, here is Facebook’s justification:
We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception. That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.
This policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices, and enforcement will begin to ramp up across our platforms including Facebook, Audience Network and Instagram. We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve.
We also understand that we may not catch every ad that should be removed under this new policy, and encourage our community to report content that violates our Advertising Policies. People can report any ad on Facebook by clicking on the upper right-hand corner of the ad.
This policy is part of an ongoing effort to improve the integrity and security of our ads, and to make it harder for scammers to profit from a presence on Facebook.
Which roughly translated is “because we know what’s best for you!”