Google has taken another hostile measure towards cryptocurrency. This time around they have targeted Ethereum and blocked all advertisements with this keyword without a warning ahead of time.
The company claims that it has not updated its advertising policy, but the fact remains that searching for key phrases containing ‘Ethereum’ returns no relevant results, while advertisers receive an error message.
A developer from the blockchain startup Decenter shared the screenshot of the mentioned error on Twitter and tried to clear out the situation with Google’s advertisement administration.
We are seeing a hard stop on Google Ads containing "Ethereum" as the keyword in the last two days. Is anyone else noticing the same change? Where there any new policy changes introduced @GoogleAds? #ethereum pic.twitter.com/P5XMGphdiV
— Decenter (@DecenterTeam) January 10, 2019
According to the explanations provided by a Google Ads representative, geographical factors may be to blame. As some countries prohibit advertising that promotes cryptocurrencies and related products on their territories, the ads won’t show there. However, this reasoning looks shaky as the Decenter team tried to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service — but to no avail.
The official document published in Google’s Advertising policy section states that advertisers cannot place ads for initial coin offerings (ICOs) and promote cryptocurrency trading unless they are licensed providers of cryptocurrency products and services. However, Decenter is not engaged in trading cryptocurrencies, but instead, offer security audits for smart contracts and still saw the error messages for their Ethereum targeted ads.
Interestingly, Decenter developers tested other keywords like Bitcoin, EOS, and some other altcoins, to find those searches still worked perfectly. While Google denies any prejudice or specific targeting within its advertising policy, the community seems to be concerned with this discriminatory development. Decenter even called upon the community to put pressure on the Google Ads team and demand viable explanations.
Google’s Advertising Policy
The web search giant is taking a tough approach toward cryptocurrency. Google first changed its advertising policy in June 2018, initiating a complete ban for cryptocurrencies and all related advertising content, including ICOs, trading platforms for digital assets, cryptocurrency wallets and trading recommendations.
The decision infuriated the cryptocurrency community and triggered a massive sell-off across all digital assets. Ethereum was also badly hit as it was at the time, the main platform for ICOs, specifically targeted by Google due to security issues and high levels of fraud.
In September, the company softened the rules by the reallowing promotion of cryptocurrency exchange services in the USA and Japan.
Meanwhile, this is not the first time Google is suspected of inconsistent and illogical decisions. Thus, recently it threatened to kick Bitcoin cryptocurrency wallet Samourai Wallet, from Google Play unless the developers disable certain security features.
Do you agree with Google’s tough stance on cryptocurrency related advertisements? Will this policy change as tighter regulations come upon the crypto space? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below
Images courtesy of Twitter, Shutterstock