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article imageGoogle says it removed 100 'bad ads' per second in 2017

By James Walker     Mar 14, 2018 in Technology
Google has published an update on its efforts to create a more sustainable ecosystem for online advertising. The company said it removed 100 "bad ads" every second during 2017, including phishing scams and malvertising campaigns.
3.2 billion bad ads
In a blog post this week, Google said a total of 79 million ads were blocked from its network last year for linking to malware. In many cases, the ads were designed to direct users towards malicious websites that then delivered malware to their machine. The company removed over 400,000 sites for hosting malicious ads.
The figures indicate the scale at which Google's trying to combat "bad ads" online. In total, 3.2 billion ads were removed from AdSense last year for violating one or more of the company's ad policies. 320,000 website publishers were banned for failing to meet its policies for publishers, with over 700,000 apps blacklisted.
With bad ads proliferating across Google's network, the company's taking additional steps to protect the ad ecosystem and remove "deceptive" content. In a clear warning to non-compliant ad authors and publishers, the company said "you have to play by rules" to make money from its ad platform. It added that it paid out over $12.6 billion to publishing partners last year.
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Google's new policies target specific kinds of ad that it has identified as commonly deceptive or malicious. These include ads for cryptocurrencies and other unregulated financial products. Google's following Facebook's lead in banning these ads from its platform, a measure it said will improve the ads experience and help to protect users.
The company's also overhauling its gambling ad policies and rules for rehabilitation facilities. Centres which provide rehabilitation services will now need to be approved through a new certification process to help users stay safe. Only legitimate addiction treatment centres will be permitted to advertise rehabilitation facilities on AdSense.
Keeping pace with scammers
According to Google, the changes are part of its "ongoing" work to improve online ads. The measures come after the company's recent launch of a built-in ad blocker in Chrome. The browser now automatically removes ads from webpages that don't comply with the Better Ads Standards. Google's attempting to improve its responses to deceptive online content, demonstrating to users and publishers that it will not tolerate malicious advertising.
"Our work to protect the ads ecosystem doesn't stop here – it's ongoing," said Google. "As consumer trends evolve, as our methods to protect the open web get better, so do online scams. Improving the ads experience across the web, whether that's removing harmful ads or intrusive ads, will continue to be a top priority for us."
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Google's continuing to develop new technologies to help it identify new forms of malicious ad. Scammers are rapidly developing their techniques, including more effective malvertising campaigns which are growing in sophistication. Artificial intelligence is one of Google's key tools in the battle against non-compliant ads.
Although Google's clamping down on its ad policies, bad ads are likely to remain an issue in the near-term. Resolving the problems is important to Google as ads are a significant contributor to its annual revenue. Failing to improve could cause publishers and advertisers to abandon its platform if it's not seen to be taking a proactive stance.
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