Google will require proof of identity from all advertisers

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In order to combat fraudulent or deceptive online ads, Google will require all advertisers in its sprawling network to prove who they are and where they operate, the company said. in a blog post Thursday.

The names of the companies or people behind the ads, along with their countries of origin, will begin appearing on Google ads this summer, starting with several thousand advertisers per month in the United States before expanding into the whole world. The measure, which could take years to implement, is designed as a defense against businesses and individuals who misrepresent themselves during paid online promotions, Google said.

The move comes as Google tries to crack down on misinformation and scams linked to the coronavirus pandemic. It expands a 2018 validation policy focused on political advertisers running election ads.

The expanded policy “will help support the health of the digital advertising ecosystem by detecting bad actors and limiting their attempts to portray themselves in a false light,” wrote John Canfield, who manages the integrity of the digital advertising industry. ads for Google, in the blog post.

In the past, Google has cited predatory behavior by companies that tout payday loans, bonding services, and third-party tech support, often banning advertisements outright. In September, Google said it removed more than 3.2 billion ads that violated its advertising rules in a year, or more than 100 bad ads per second.

Under the new policy, Google will suspend the accounts of advertisers who fail to provide proof of identity, including W9 forms, passports, and other personal identification and business incorporation files. Previously, Google had requested basic information, like names, but did not need documentation.

“Who doesn’t want a more truthful Internet, especially with the rise of fake news, fake businesses and fake masks? Said Douglas Rozen, media director for digital advertising agency 360i. “The inevitability of this makes sense in today’s environment. “

As regulators try to push back unsubstantiated claims on coronavirus treatments, and as troll farms prepare to influence the 2020 elections, tech companies are stepping up their defenses. This month Reddit updated its political advertising policy require advertisers to provide proof of identity to their sales team.

Google stepped up efforts to clean up ads after discovering that websites spreading false information about the 2016 presidential election were making money selling ads through the company’s ad networks.

At the end of 2016, Google launched its AdSense advertising system to hundreds of publishers. Two years later, political advertisers had to verify their identity before allowing them to purchase campaign ads. The move came after Google revealed to Congress that it had accepted nearly $ 5,000 in advertising during the election cycle from the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company accused of interfering in the race.

More recently, Google has been playing cat-and-mouse with advertisers trying to get around its ban on ads that take advantage of shortages caused by the pandemic. Even though Google has said it picks up millions of problematic virus-related ads per day, its networks have still failed to get a handle on many more.

“There is a lot of money in Google ads; it’s easy for someone to create an advertising account and start pouring money into their system, ”said Jared Moré, digital marketing consultant.

Mr Moré, who has worked with healthcare companies for almost 20 years, said he has seen a lot of sketchy behavior, especially when it comes to search results and ads for drug and alcohol treatment centers. In 2018, Google started requiring advertisers in this category be certified as drug addiction service providers.

Expanding the verification process is a necessary step, he said.

“This shouldn’t be a problem for 99% of advertisers,” he said. “It will only be difficult for people who maybe do something unscrupulous.”

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