Google Forcing Advertisers to Reveal Themselves
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.