Google Forcing Advertisers to Reveal Themselves

Published On April 23, 2020 | By Tom Huskerson | News and Analysis

Google will require all advertisers to confirm their legal identity. The move is an effort to increase transparency. Since 2018, political advertisers have had to verify who they are. This step expands on that rule.

The program may take years to roll out worldwide but the program will kick off in the U.S. first. According to Google advertisers in certain categories may be prioritized for the verification process. Those include the promotion of “products, goods, and services” (such as retail, media, tech and travel), “informational, advisory, or educational content”(charitable causes and free financial or health advice, for instance) and ads related to regulated industries, like gambling and healthcare products.

The requirements of the new rules will be stringent. Existing advertisers will have 30 days to submit documents or have their ads removed. Businesses will need to send their business incorporation paperwork, personal ID or other documentation to Google. Beginning this summer, web surfers will be able to see a verified advertiser’s legal name and country of operation via a context menu in ads.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Google has been plagued by fake business listings on Google Maps. Company efforts to fight the fake listings included mailing postcards o those businesses to verify their existence. Those efforts failed. The company has also previously banned ads against certain categories, like rehab centers, after they’ve proven too attractive for shady companies.

Google director of product management for ads integrity John Canfield wrote in a blog post, “This change will make it easier for people to understand who the advertiser is behind the ads they see from Google and help them make more informed decisions when using our advertising controls.” Most importantly verifying advertisers will help Google clamp down on scams and the spread of misinformation through ads.

Breaking It Down

Good for Google! There is really too much crap online masquerading as legitimate products, services or information. Shyster advertisers have had a field day scamming web users. We need to know who these people are so we can know if we are buying garbage, losing money to scams or acting on bad information. Expose these assholes I say!

I applaud Google for this move but they could have taken the next step and made the information a little easier to see. Place a link in the ad that reveals who we are dealing with instead of making us go look for the information in the context menu. Would it would be so difficult to have a short word and link that says “about this advertiser” in the ad?

I am thankful that Google has taken this step to clean up its networks. Misinformation and scams are the herpes of the internet and we need to treat it. I am sure this move will not eliminate the scourge but it will definitely help.

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About The Author

Tom Huskerson Bio Born in Richmond Virginia Tom Huskerson is a military veteran who settled in California after his discharge. Tom attended Santa Barbara City College where he began his writing career as a campus reporter. He worked as an intern news reporter for the Santa Barbara News-Press writing feature stories before moving on to San Francisco. At San Francisco State University Tom studied broadcast communications and began to focus on the Internet. He completed his graduate thesis on Internet advertising. Tom was the first student to ever focus on the Internet as a graduate student at San Francisco State University. After graduation he went to work for Zona Research in California’s Silicone Valley. As a research associate Tom supported senior analyst writing on the latest developments in the Internet industry. During the dot com boom Tom worked for several web businesses as a market researcher and analyst. As a writer and researcher Tom has authored various technical works including a training program for Charles Schwab security. Other projects included professional presentations on workplace violence and hiring security contractors. Tom has also written both fiction and non-fiction works and blogging for a travel website. He has published two books of short stories and completed two novels. Tom is the owner of Scribe of Life Literature and EbonyCandle.com. Tom is not the chief editor for the OnTechStreet. com. A news and information blog that focuses on tech news for African-Americans. The blog is the result of his desire to inform the African American community of the dangers and benefits of the cyber age. In his blog Tom reports on information security, new and analysis, scams and hoaxes, legal happenings and various topics that arise from the age of information. Tom believes that technology is a necessary tool for black people and they should know what is happening. Tom writes believing that techno speak is for the professional and that valuable information can be communicated using plain language. As a result he has embraced the motto, Less Tech, More Knowledge.

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