Google's annual report of bad ads, bad practices, and bad actors, has, once again, highlighted that fact that this is an ongoing problem.
In 2016 Google took down 1.7 billion ads that broke its ad policies, which the company says was more than double that of 2015. Here's the 2015 report.
It begs the question, are there more bad ads, or is google getting better at catching them, or both.
Interestingly, following the ban on Pay Day Loan ads, Google took down 5 million of those ads.
we also need to suspend the website promoted in the ad (the site people see after they click on it). So, for example, while we disabled more than 5 million payday loan ads last year, we also took action on 8,000 sites promoting payday loans. How we fought bad ads, sites and scammers in 2016 [blog.google]
Google says it's gotten better at dealing with the "click to trick" ads that look like system messages, but are likely to be harmful links to malware. It dealt with 112 million of those, which was six times the number of 2015.
Illegal activities or products got its attention with 68 million of those being disabled in 2016. In 2015 there were 12.5 million. More than 17 million illegal gambling ads were also removed.
Once again, misleading ads, such as miracle weight loss ads, were slapped down to the tune of 80 million.
Mobile "self clicking ads" that download an app without a user intent were significantly up, and although the quantity is relatively low, in 2015, they were up to 23,000 disabled in 2016.
Bad actors continued to try and trick Google's systems into letting through bad ads, and 7 million ads were taken down.
More than 1,300 accounts were suspended for "tabloid cloaking." This is where and ad looks like a tabloid headline and when a user clicks thought they find a site selling weight loss, or something else other than the tabloid story.
Here are some of the other common ad policy violation where Google took action in 2016
We took action on 47,000 sites for promoting content and products related to weight-loss scams.
We took action on more than 15,000 sites for unwanted software and disabled 900,000 ads for containing malware.
And we suspended around 6,000 sites and 6,000 accounts for attempting to advertise counterfeit goods, like imitation designer watches.
Google also went on to mention that Google AdSense got its attention, too, and publishers breaking its policies either had ads stop showing, or found their account was terminated. Sites that sell fake or illegal goods and services were dealt with and Google mentions that in November and December it investigated 550 sites, and took action against 340 of them, with almost 200 publishers permanently kicked out of Google AdSense.
There's no mention of the elephant in the room, click fraud, in the Google report, which is odd because you'd it's at least discuss the topic, even if it didn't want to expose details of its systems.