Google Says, Yes! Promises Further Investigation

Google Sponsored link scam.jpgLately, Google seems to be hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Just as the dust seems to settle down on the muddled Chrome promo, there is another reason for worry as is facing allegation of placing fake ads at the top of Search Page 1. Not just that, Google has admitted to profiting from ads for illegal products/services generated by its automated advertising system, the BBC reported. In addition to fake ads for London 2012 Olympics ticket, Google also profited from cannabis ads and fake ID card sellers.

The matter became public when Liz,a Solihull resident contacted BBC's 5 live Investigates team with information that she was duped by the site that appeared on top of the Google search page promising her Olympic tickets. "Me and my sisters decided to club together to buy our mum and dad some Olympic tickets,So we typed into Google 'Olympic tickets' and at the very, very top of the page was a link to a company called LiveOlympicTickets. It was a sponsored ad at the top of the page, so we presumed it was a trusted official site, and we spent £750 on two tickets for my mum and dad to see the 1500m, which is what my dad really wanted." said Liz. LiveOlympicTickets declined to sent her the tickets but informed her that the sale can't be completed until she faxed over a copy of her signature which made her suspicious about the website she had ordered tickets on. "That's when alarm bells began ringing," said Liz and she contacted BBC's 5 live Investigates.
The Metropolitan Police said that they were aware that LiveOlympicTickets is an illegal website as it is not an officially recognized 2012 Olympic ticket reseller, but was outside British law enforcement as the company is registered overseas, beyond the UK's jurisdiction. Last year, the penalty fine for reselling Olympic tickets without authorization was raised from £5,000 to £20,000. LiveOlympicTickets enjoyed the status of being Google's top sponsored link for 2012 Olympic tickets and remained so for more than a week even after the Metropolitan Police had asked the search engine to remove the advertisement. The illegal ticket seller's link was finally removed after BBC's 5 live Investigates brought it to the company's attention.

The search giant is reported to have told 5 live Investigates that the company keeps any money it might make from companies advertising illegal services before such adverts are removed. However, there are quiet a lot of illegal online retailers who still find their way to the top of Google's search results by agreeing to pay a premium rate to Google AdWords for each click-through to their homepage generated by the sponsored link. BBC's investigation also revealed that other sponsored Google adverts for online cannabis sellers, fake ID cards, and fake UK passports were still on display on the Google search pages.

A family member of the victim wrote to Google, received this reply: "While Google AdWords provides a platform for companies to advertise their services, we are not responsible for, nor are we able to monitor the actions of each company." Google's policy dictates that if a filter flags an advert, then a human assessor will make a manual assessment and if it is found to go against Google's policy, the advert will be taken down.

In a statement, Google said: "We have a set of policies covering which ads can and cannot show on Google. These policies and guidelines are enforced by both automated systems and human beings. When we are informed of ads which break our policies, we investigate and remove them if appropriate. Our aim is to create a simple and efficient way for legitimate businesses to promote and sell their goods and services whilst protecting them and consumers from illicit activity."

Meantime, Liz's refund request was snubbed down by the site but she informed her bank which has credited the money she spent on the tickets while they carry out a investigation on their own. Google also has promised to investigate the case further. Google's sponsored links have proved costly in the past too. In August 2011, Google agreed to pay $500m (£324m) for publishing online adverts from Canadian pharmacies selling illegal drugs to US customers.

Category :


Tags :

BBC reveals google, Google admits Profits, Illegal Olympic ticket sales, Illegal Sponsored links

About Lazarus Rankish Hunt

Lazarus Rankish  Hunt Hi … I am Ranki, a Journo by profession now enjoying a free fall into the future of SEO. Writing is a flow of my being, an extension of the self that is unstoppable, even if it isn’t embraced, embalmed and mummified by recognition. I am here to enjoy the ride, since I have no fixed date with destiny. I Manage Media and Strategize Content at Submitinme. I fill up spaces on pages with the feeling that I am shouting from the roof tops for the Eared crowd to hear and find the latest break-outs in the field. There could be more or less of me, if you care to .... more info