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U.S. Government Shuts Down Scams Promoted Via Google AdWords

     
4:27 pm on Nov 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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U.S. Government Shuts Down Scams Promoted Via Google AdWords [mercurynews.com]
The federal government has shut down dozens of Internet scam artists who had been paying Google (GOOG) to run ads making bogus promises to help desperate homeowners scrambling to avoid foreclosures.

The crackdown announced Wednesday renews questions about the role that Google's massive advertising network plays in enabling online misconduct. It may also increase the pressure on the company to be more vigilant about screening the marketing pitches that appear alongside its Internet search results and other Web content.

5:35 pm on Nov 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google have been turning a blind eye to this sort of stuff for too long. I for one am glad to this happening.
6:31 pm on Nov 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm sure Google was a bit surprised when the feds asked why it allows such scam artists to advertise via Adwords. And Google didn't take action until after the scammers were shut down.
7:28 pm on Nov 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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well lets see if anything actually happens to goog... im thinking no.
8:11 pm on Nov 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Is google really responsible for the content of the ads they run?

I did a little looking but couldn't find an answer but are TV stations responsible for the integrity of the offers in the ads that they run on their station?

If TV stations aren't held accountable than I don't see why Google would be. I know that many "paid-programming" ads have a disclaimer before the program runs about the opinions and claims made in the program are solely those of the advertisers not the station.

I think if a complaint is made then Google should look into it, but I don't think they need to confirm each offering made in every ad they publish.
8:26 pm on Nov 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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There's a reason Howard Stern went to satellite radio. In other words, yes, publications are at least partially responsible for the content that they're running - and I don't see why that wouldn't apply to ads. They took the money for the ads - there's a relationship there.
8:47 pm on Nov 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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They were held responsible for the Canadian pharma ads, weren't they?
8:59 pm on Nov 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Nutmeg,

They were but the difference between that and this is they were in violation of a specific law about importing drugs into the USA. That is a different scenario than this where advertisers are making false or misleading claims.

The reason Howard Stern left the radio was because of the FCC not because of advertising. He wanted to say the F word without being fined.
9:21 pm on Nov 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The difference is that TV advertising departments have guidelines for their advertisers, based on FCC and FTC laws, they are bound to. They go through an editorial process and if they break the laws that the station has to uphold, the ads are declined.

Think about Janet Jackson's boob during the Superbowl a few years back. Different story, I know... it may not have been the networks fault that she was exposed, but they were darn sure held accountable, and required to put a team on a 5-second delay button for all live events afterward.

Google doesn't have the same oversight... but it sounds like its getting there. I wonder if it will ultimately spill over into organic results?
9:27 pm on Nov 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google has suspended its business ties with more than 500 advertisers and agencies connected to the alleged scams,
That's a high number of account closing. So I assume if I am contacted by these people they requested me to help them advertise and I am fooled into this I just lost my account and all the accounts under me have quit working due to this closure. Wonder when I go into adwords I will see account closed for no reason post coming soon.
12:02 am on Nov 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I did a little looking but couldn't find an answer but are TV stations responsible for the integrity of the offers in the ads that they run on their station?

Yes. It's called "vetting."

Every television network knows exactly what commercials are running between, and during its programming. They may not necessarily endorse specific products (i.e. the president of CNN may not use a certain mouthwash brand, but he/she has no problems promoting it for a fee) but they most certainly would not run ads they deemed bogus.
1:17 am on Nov 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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>> Google have been turning a blind eye to this sort of stuff for too long. I for one am glad to this happening.

Legal issues are not part of their algorithmic quality scores. While some of us have to worry about server speed, keyword density, selecting adwords carefully, negative word lists, geo targetting, click fraud and a dozen other algorithmic issues it is good to know that atleast one demographic is doine well and prospering.
2:02 am on Nov 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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What about infomercials? Are stations responsible for all the "Get Rich Quick" books?
12:18 pm on Nov 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google enjoys the profits of scams. They just had to payout a large fine for allowing illegal pharmacies to operate in Adwords. Anything for a buck and the suckers continue to believe "Don't be evil" PR.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Online search engine Google Inc. has agreed to forfeit $500 million for allowing online Canadian pharmacies to place advertisements through its AdWords program targeting consumers in the United States, resulting in the unlawful importation of controlled and non-controlled prescription drugs into the United States, announced Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole; Peter F. Neronha, U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island; and Kathleen Martin-Weis, Acting Director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA/OCI).



“This investigation is about the patently unsafe, unlawful, importation of prescription drugs by Canadian on-line pharmacies, with Google’s knowledge and assistance, into the United States, directly to U.S. consumers,” said U.S. Attorney Neronha.
12:52 pm on Nov 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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with Google’s knowledge and assistance


Quite!
11:05 pm on Nov 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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lol Google Don't be evil is just a veil. Google is behind the biggest copyright thief the world has seen (Youtube), digital piracy, content thief, and widespread warez. They just make a platform and let their users do the bad stuff.

Just take a look at sites like Rapidshare, Fileserve. They are purely setup to distribute warez, and they have affiliate programs that pay out $20 per 1,000 downloads. They put on a fake front saying they're just a file upload site, but people only buy their subscriptions to get access to warez.
10:29 pm on Nov 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google is behind the biggest copyright thief the world has seen


Indeed, Google is showing at least some part of EVERY web page, book and video without permission in one of their many products and they monetize them all. People ignored that because they received visitors from Google.

Now that Google has begun making mass changes and allowing fewer visitors to reach small obscure sites that goodwill is eroding quickly. It's a bit staggering at how little Google seems to understand that, as is the fact that they police fraud on their own services so laxly while being draconian towards those they steal content from for their serps and services. A scam via adwords pays Google and it takes the feds to step in to stop it but a missing description tag does not and receives a rankings penalty... ?!

Something has to give, for me that give has been a solid reduction in how much exposure I allow Google on my sites, or rather how much I allow myself to be exposed to anything Google. I'm not alone (and Bing seems to be the primary beneficiary right now). tic toc tic toc.
2:03 pm on Nov 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Is google really responsible for the content of the ads they run?


They took a pretty hard stance against honest affiliates by booting them from adwords, yet they let scammers and fraud artists flourish. If they have the time to check accounts to see if you're an affiliate, they certainly have time to check the ads. You bet they are responsible and I for one hope the Gov throws the book at them.