Latest in Gear

Image credit: Reuters/Peter Power

Google freezes addiction center ads after word of sketchy referrals

Companies were making huge undisclosed commissions.
247 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

Reuters/Peter Power

Google rarely stops advertising for an entire category, but it's making that exception to halt some serious abuses. The search firm has temporarily stopped running addiction center ads worldwide after a report revealed that sketchy referral services in the UK were earning huge, undisclosed referral fees (to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars) from addiction centers looking for new patients. The company had already stopped offering these ads in the US following concerns about the practice in September, but the complexity and "varying degrees of regulation" around the world had persuaded it to stop all activity while it searched for a "better way" to help addicts.

The move will phase out ads through a gradual region-by-region process. When they come back will depend on Google figuring out a safe way to provide ads without allowing companies that rely on giant referral commissions.

The incident illustrates the challenges Google faces as a de facto health resource for many internet users. While it wants to steer people toward help, it also has to deal with dodgy companies that prey on these same vulnerable people. The momentary pause may have only come after media stories drew attention to the problem, but it'll still be helpful if it leads to more trustworthy health ads.

Source: TechCrunch
Coverage: Sunday Times
In this article: addiction, ads, advertising, gear, google, internet, web
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
247 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

YouTube Originals will be free to watch starting on September 24th

YouTube Originals will be free to watch starting on September 24th

View
Nintendo will replace a newly purchased Switch with newer model

Nintendo will replace a newly purchased Switch with newer model

View
Google pulls 85 Android apps with particularly obnoxious adware

Google pulls 85 Android apps with particularly obnoxious adware

View
24 hours with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

24 hours with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

View
A popular immigration bill is bad news for US esports

A popular immigration bill is bad news for US esports

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr