Today or tomorrow the Department of Justice is expected to announce Google will have to pay half a billion dollars in fines for ads run on its network that sold illegal drugs. For the better part of a year, Google had been battling with online ’pharmacies’ about the products they sell.
Google had stated in official documents, due to the difficult nature of regulating ads on their network they shouldn’t be held accountable for ads they were actively removing. Google’s official statement, “… it’s obvious with hindsight that we shouldn’t have allowed these ads on Google in the first place. Given the extensive coverage this settlement has already received, we won’t be commenting further,” is clear and concise. They messed up and they know it.
What does this mean for you and your products moving forward? Well, we can expect tighter scrutiny on any ad that makes a medical claim or is in the pharmacy world. We can also expect longer approval times from Google as more and more ads get recognized as potential red flags.
The truth of the matter is this, websites are liable for the ads they run and will be held accountable in criminal law.
Does this mean you should stop running your ads via online networks? No, of course not. Online advertising is one of the major milestones in direct marketing. The ability to research, dissect and target a particular population base is amazing. What it does mean is that you can expect tighter, non-government control of your ads and more rejected ads than in the past.
I am sure the tune of half a billion dollars is going to open the eyes of Facebook, Bing and Yahoo very soon. It looks like the days of the “Wild West” internet might finally be coming to a close…
What do you think?
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