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Google reinforces crackdown on ad scammers

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By Jessica Davies | News Editor

January 17, 2013 | 2 min read

Google has warned it will treat scammers that flout its ad policies with “zero tolerance” as it continues its efforts to combat bad ads.

The internet giant has stated it will continue to solidify its systems to root out policy-violating ads which damage consumers’ web experiences.

In a blog post David W. Baker, of Google Ads Engineering, said the company will throw its weight behind combating scammed ads and their sources and will use “considerable fire power” to do so.

“While most people are working on productive New Year’s resolutions, scammers and bad actors will begin 2013 with the same old goal: make money with the help of bad ads.

“Advertising helps fund businesses online and enables them to provide services and content for free to their users. But, bad ads can ruin your web experience, putting you and legitimate businesses in harm’s way,” he said.

Any ads that violate Google’s ad policies, which includes marketing counterfeit goods, are tracked in a variety of automated and manual methods. Over the last few years it has tightened its methods in a bid to stamp out scammed ads.

Last year the search giant cracked down on a paid-search ad scam that linked premium publishers to a fraudulent face cream website. The ads, which appeared when searching for particular keywords such as “face cream” showed paid links that appeared to be from the BBC, Independent and Daily Mail promoting the cream.

However, scammers continue to create workarounds designed to undermine Google’s tracking robots.

“We will continue to do whatever it takes to keep our users, partners, and the web as a whole, as safe as possible. We have zero tolerance for bad ads and will keep working tirelessly to maintain the most secure advertising systems in 2013, and beyond,” said W. Baker.

In 2012 Google shut down 12,900 sites promoting get-rich-quick schemes; 123,000 sites hiding malware; 82,000 accounts attempts to sell counterfeit goods and 8,600 accounts making phishing attempts.

It also halved the percentage of bad ads from 2010 to 2011, and disabled over 2 million bad ads and banned 889,000 bad advertisers.

Google outlays its ad policies via its AdWords Policy Center.

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