In the ongoing battle to keep its ads ecosystem free of scammers and malware, Google says it pulled more than 350 million bad ads from its systems last year, up 59 percent from the 224 million it struck down in 2012.
Looking back at last year’s bad ads report, it appears that for the first time, the number of bad advertisers shrank substantially from over 850,000 in 2012 to more than 270,000 in 2013. In 2012 the number had ticked up just 8 percent from the prior year. Mike Hochberg, Director, Ads Engineering explains, “In part, we attribute this decline to scammers — counterfeiters, for example — being thwarted by our safety screens and searching for less-secure targets.”
In 2013, Google banned roughly 14,000 advertisers for trying to sell counterfeit goods. That’s a drop of 80 percent from 2012. Google says that attempts to push counterfeit goods on AdWords dropped by 47 percent in 2012 and 82 percent in 2013. User complaints about these types of ads fell by 85 percent in 2012 and another 78 percent in 2013.
On the AdSense side, Google blacklisted more than 200,000 publisher pages, and turned away more than 3 million attempts to join AdSense. Some 250,000 publisher accounts were pulled for various policy violations, including 5,000 for copyright policy violations. That’s up over 25 percent from 2012.
Google put added focus last year on the area of downloadable software such as toolbars and the dreaded software that change default browsers and or load malware onto users’ machines. In April last year, the company said they had had over 100,000 complaints about these types of malicious software and toolbars.
Last June, Google responded to accusations from the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) that it was still not doing enough to bock ads from “rouge” pharmacies, even after settling a suit with the Department in Justice over allowing Canadian pharmacies to advertise illegal pharmaceutical sales without prescriptions (i.e., “oxycodone no prescription”) for $500 million in 2011. The internet giant said it had blocked 3 million bad ads from illicit pharmacies in the previous two years. [Update:] Today’s stats show the company blocked more than 2 million bad ads from pharmacies in 2013 alone.