One of the nightmares of large companies is ads on their behalf that are published on shady sites, sites and those that have pirated content. Precisely to avoid this, these same companies are constantly working to block such sites from displaying their ads. But, in life as in life, things can happen.
According to a report, Google Search Partners (GSP), an advertising network that works with third-party sites to display ads and products for free and is linked to Google's advertising service, allegedly places advertisements from well-known brands on inappropriate sites, without advertisers fully understanding the dangers. Adalytics researchers reported finding ads from leading brands and government agencies on hundreds of such sites.
Google search engine. Ads can also appear on websites you don't want to appear on, Photo: Reuters
Among the casualties were major brands Amazon, Apple, BMW, Home Depot, Lego, Meta, Microsoft, Paramount, Samsung and Uber, as well as leading government bodies, including the US Treasury Department and the European Commission.
Major media outlets such as The Guardian, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal were also found on illegal or adult-only websites. In addition, it was alleged that advertisements containing alcohol-branded content were displayed on sites aimed at children. According to Google, GSP extends the reach of Google ads to "hundreds of non-Google sites, as well as YouTube and other Google sites."
Google's new results page. Every search you do leads to targeted ads that are shown to you, screenshot
How does Google publish ads?
The ads in question were all placed using a GSP product known as Software Search Engine (ProSE), a free search tool for small websites that allows them to display Google ads directly on their platform. ProSE ads may appear based on the user's specific search query, but are not targeted or based on the website on which they appear. In other words, the advertisement that will appear will be according to the surfer, and not according to the site on which it appears.
GSP is a recommended distributor for advertisers, in part because of the greater reach it offers to Google's overall ad network. However, there are also less positive sides to this. According to experts, due to this wide range, many websites and businesses fall under the umbrella of the service.
As a result, and aside from the obvious reluctance to be on questionable websites, one of the concerns of companies and brands is that their ads will appear on the websites of countries under sanctions such as Iran or Russia. Moreover, because every click on an ad can potentially bring money to the brand, the concern is about receiving money from problematic sources.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai. The company denies it, Photo: GettyImages
Google claims: "History of incorrect reports"
Dan Taylor, Google's global vice president of advertising, said: "Adalytics has a history of publishing false reports that misrepresent our products and include completely unfounded claims. We are reviewing the report, but our analysis of the sites and the limited information already shared with us did not identify the transfer of ad revenue to sanctioned entities."
"The examples shared are from our programmable search engine (ProSE), which is a tiny fraction of our network of search partners. Sites that only implement ProSE do not receive revenue from these ads and as mentioned, ProSE is a tiny part of our network of search partners. Adalytics' claims about revenue from small websites like the examples we examined are, frankly, ridiculous."
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