Google Continues to Sell Ads to Fake Websites - Reports

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - IT giant Google continues to sell advertisements to fraudulent websites, allowing them to appear at the top of search results, despite the company's pledge to reverse its policy, an investigation by The Times showed on Tuesday.

As part of its probe, the newspaper set up a fake website and purchased top billing advertising space for terms such as "buy fake ID", "buy fake passport," "buy fake reviews" at a cost of up to 1 pound ($1.30) per click. The newspaper even received an email from a Google employee offering consultations to "help you get the best results for your business."

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However, the probe did find that the US giant had banned ads for phrases such as "buy a black market gun" and "buy credit card details," since the newspaper's website was unable to buy ad space under them.

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After Google was approached by the newspaper, it blocked all ads under the aforementioned terms, explaining that "while our systems work correctly in the vast majority of cases — blocking 3.2 billion bad ads last year alone — in this case, they didn't, and we’ve taken action to address it. We have policies against ads that aim to deceive or enable dishonest behavior," according to The Times.

In November, Google was accused by trading standards officials of selling top billing in search results to fraudulent websites. In August, the newspaper exposed that the company had been profiting from advertisements on websites that sold fake reviews. Afterward, Google has pledged to take down offending ads.

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