Google Cracking Down On Bad Advertising Practices, Over 350 Million Ads Removed

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Google released a report on their AdWords blog today detailing just how vehemently they are cracking down on “bad actors” who are abusing the online advertising services.

Mike Hochberg, Director of Ads Engineering at Google, states:

We’ve allocated substantial technical, financial, and human resources to stopping bad advertising practices and protecting users on the web.  Hundreds of our engineers, policy experts and others have dedicated their careers to this work.

Even with a team that large the amount of ads they managed to remove last year is still surprisingly substantial. Over 350 million bad ads were removed from Google’s systems in 2013. To put that in perspective, Hochberg says, if someone looked at each of the bad ads for one second, it would take them more than ten years to see them all. By comparison, 220 million bad ads were removed in 2012.

What’s also notable in this report is that the bad ads are coming from far fewer sources. Just 270,000 advertisers were banned in 2013 compared to 850,000 in 2012. Google attributes this decline to scammers being stopped by safety screens and moving on to less secure targets.

The Worst Advertising Offenders

Just what, exactly, are these advertisers trying to sell? Google lists the worst offenders in their report. They are as follows:

  • Counterfeit goods: 14,000 advertisers banned for trying to sell these.
  • Illegal online pharmacies: 2 million ads removed.
  • Copyright infringement: 5,000 AdSense accounts disabled for violating copyright.
  • Tech support scams: 4,000 AdWords accounts removed.
  • Malware: 400,000 ads disabled from sites hiding malware.
  • Get rich quick schemes: 10,000 ads disabled for sites promoting these.

Advertising offenders are relentless, but Google says they are just as relentless when it comes to stopping the offenders. Rest assured Google will continue working around the clock to maintain a healthy advertising ecosystem and keep users safe.

Matt Southern

Matt Southern

Lead News Writer
Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides.
Matt Southern
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  • James

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for sharing this news update. There is a reason why Google is the biggest, and most preferred search engine in the world, and this is just one of the reasons.

    Big G is doing a credible work to sanitize the blogging and internet world, and they need to be commended, its not easy to maintain the top status.

  • Norm

    I think it is great that Google is doing this! I still can’t figure out why they give credit and page 1 placement to though..It is an extortion site! The owner is an internet terrorist!

  • Cameron Smith

    Fantastic post! Thanks for sharing these stats – despite some of the bad rep that Google gets, they do a pretty good job of getting the spammers and the thieves outta here. They’re consistently creating a better atmosphere for blogging and advertising.

  • Hemant

    Hi Matt,

    Your article is really helpful, thanks for writing. I am looking forward to read more articles in future. Keep writing!!! cheers.

  • Erno Horvath

    I hope double-serving will be treated like those violations above. Big players can dominate the search results with multiple account :S

    • Jerry Nordstrom

      Excellent point Erno. Unfortunately, no, Google fully allows double serving. No, not in their TOS do they state you can, but instead through their total lack of enforcement.

      This article points to “The worst offenders” however these are the easiest offenders to identify and kick out. The tough ones that are hurting honest advertisers are the ones who bait and switch or intentionally misrepresent their offers.

      Then there are the companies that crush small business budgets by simply clicking on their competitions ads. We know of companies that tell their sales reps to click on their competitions ads while at home, “to review what the competition is offering” of course-.

      From the complexity of managing PPC
      To dealing with below the table competition tactics
      To straight up publisher fraud
      Small businesses with a small budget have virtually no chance against the big companies unless they can afford professional management.

      That’s not a pitch for our services, its the painful truth.

  • Spook SEO

    Does TLA was included with this update?