In 2017, Google removed more than 3.2 billion ads that violated their policies, which averaged about 100 bad ads per second. 320,000 publishers were removed from the Google ad network for violating publisher policies. At the same time, 700,000 mobile apps and nearly 90,000 websites were blacklisted. Google also removed 2 million pages for policy violations last year.
This year, the internet search engine giant has turned its heat on cryptocurrencies. Starting June 2018, Google has announced it will be banning all cryptocurrency-related advertisements across its sites. Google’s Director of Sustainable Ads, Scott Spencer, said the company has already updated its ad policies on unregulated financial products which include cryptocurrency exchanges, initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency wallets, and advice on cryptocurrency trading.
According to Spencer, this is part of Google’s continuing efforts to safeguard the consumers from online scams. At the same time, Twitter has announced plans to ban crypto ads in the next one or two weeks. The changes in advertisement policies for these two giants comes come about a month after Facebook banned advertisements on binary options, cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings, which are associated to misleading practices.
According to Bojan Oremuž, CEO and founder of EMMARES, Facebook stated that its policy is “intentionally broad”, but this hardly prevents fraudulent activities.
He says, “ICOs who are not honest but have the budget will now use this budget on other platforms and listings. The problem will not be solved, but this will only enable good, complex and transparent ICOs to present themselves and reach people who would be interested in their work. It is without a doubt urgent to implement some kind of regulations in order to try and ban scams but, to ban ICO and Crypto activities altogether is just ridiculous and discriminatory.”
Validating Crypto Firms
Instead of total ban, a framework for evaluating crypto companies to determine whether or not they are scams is vital.
Yoli Chisholm, CMO of STEAMRole says, “It is unfortunate that these companies have decided to make changes that adversely affect legitimate companies instead of developing a framework that provides a criteria for validating companies that are not bad players. It also assumes that investors are incapable of doing due diligence. However since this space is community driven, there are plenty of other ways for advertisers to reach ICO investors directly.”
Oremuz says, “Like with any other investments, the most important thing for each investor is to do their own due diligence – read about each ICO, the Whitepaper, goals, research the team and advisors etc.”
Alternative Promotion Channels
Advertisements of cryptos and ICOs will not stall just because three giant companies have declared a total ban. If there is the need to run adverts, alternative channels to address that need will be found.
Denis Farnosov, founder and CEO of AlfaToken says, “ICO projects will look for other platforms that will allow ICO advertising. This includes Telegram channels, ICO tracking websites (part of them didn't integrate their banner ads with Google), crypto media websites and review sites.”
Farnosov notes that ICOs are going to be forced to use more content-based marketing. He says, “This means articles, videos, audios that share the message in a manner that is more editorial or newsworthy in style.”
Disclaimer: David Drake is on the advisory board for most of the firms mentioned or quoted in this article.