Google Banning Ads for Cryptocurrency and Initial Coin Offering

Google will soon ban any online advertising that promotes initial coin offerings and cryptocurrencies beginning in June. This is part of the company’s broader crackdown on marketing of new types of financial products with high risk.

Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, announced its decision on Wednesday in an update to policy it has that says it would begin blocking any ads for cryptocurrencies and any related content.

Facebook took a step of a similar nature in January, which leaves the two biggest sellers of web advertising not within reach of the digital currency industry.

Bitcoin is the largest of the cryptocurrencies by market value, but pared an increase of 2% after the announcement was made by Google. Rival coins Ether and Ripple also lost their gains for the day.

The internet giant is restricting ads that are for financial products such as binary options, which is a risky derivative with a payoff of all or nothing.

Facebook, the primary rival of Google for advertising dollars, banned cryptocurrency ads in January. Some businesses, however, were able to find loopholes by purposely making misspellings of words such as bitcoin in ads.

A spokesperson for Google said the policies of the company will attempt to anticipate the same.

The updated policy from Google was made available with its release of the annual “bad ads” report, which reviews the number of deceptive, malicious as well as controversial ads that Google eliminates from its massive display, search and video network. During 2017, Google removed over 3.2 billion ads from its site, which is up from 2016 when the amount was 1.7 billion.

For instance, in 2017 Google pulled over 79 million ads that lured clickers online to websites that contained malware. Google is accelerating its push against content that is misleading.

The company has suspended more than 7,000 accounts of customers for ads impersonating news articles, which Google refers to as tabloid cloaking, while blocking over 12,000 websites for the copying of information on other publications.

It is not likely that the more than 3.2 billion ads that were pulled during 2017, nor the upcoming ban on cryptocurrency ads, will have that much of an overall impact on its sales. In 2017, Google took in over $95.4 billion in revenue from advertising, which was an increase from its 2016 revenue by over 20%.

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