When Google goes bad

March 20, 2012 8:21 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Despite the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) promising a crackdown on any brands that breach its advertising restrictions, including bidding against trademarks and AdWords it hasn’t prevented people playing the system and winning.

Google recently admitted that ads for Olympic tickets, cannabis and fake ID have all been found to be appearing in the paid for advertising slots.

An investigation by the BBC found that one user found a site named “LiveOlympicTickets” in the sponsored section under Google and subsequently went online and spent £750 on buying tickets for the 1500m final.
She said: “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.”
Alarm bells starting ringing when she said that the sale could not be completed until she faxed over a copy of her signature.
LiveOlympicTickets is not an officially recognised 2012 Olympic ticket reseller.
A family member wrote to Google, and 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 did remove the online adverts, at the request of the police but by then they had already benefitted financially from the pay per click ads.
“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,” said Google.
It’s not the first time the Google AdWords have caused problems in the past.  In August 2011 Google agreed to forfeit $500m (£324m) for publishing online adverts from Canadian pharmacies selling illegal drugs to US customers.
The figure represented the revenues from the adverts and the revenues generated from the sale of the drugs.

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This post was written by Nadine

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