Google Will Require Proof of Identity From All Advertisers

In an effort to battle off fraudulent or deceptive on-line advertisements, Google would require that each one advertisers throughout its sprawling community show who they’re and the place they function, the corporate stated in a weblog put up on Thursday.

The names of the businesses or folks behind advertisements, in addition to their nations of origin, will start showing on Google advertisements this summer time, beginning with a number of thousand advertisers a month within the United States earlier than increasing worldwide. The measure, which might take years to implement, is designed as a protection in opposition to companies and people who misrepresent themselves in paid on-line promotions, Google stated.

The transfer comes as Google tries to tamp down misinformation and scams associated to the coronavirus pandemic. It expands a 2018 verification coverage targeted on political advertisers serving election advertisements.

Broadening the coverage will “help support the health of the digital advertising ecosystem by detecting bad actors and limiting their attempts to misrepresent themselves,” wrote John Canfield, who handles advert integrity for Google, within the weblog put up.

Under the new policy, Google will suspend the accounts of advertisers that do not provide proof of identity, including W9 forms, passports and other personal identification and business incorporation files. Previously, Google had requested basic information, like names, but did not require documentation.

“Who doesn’t want an internet that is more truthful, especially with the rise of fake news, fake businesses and fake face masks?” said Douglas Rozen, the chief media officer at the digital ad agency 360i. “The inevitability of this makes sense in today’s environment.”

Google intensified efforts to clean up ads after it was discovered that websites spreading false information about the 2016 presidential election were making money by selling ads through the company’s advertising networks.

In late 2016, Google kicked off hundreds of publishers from its AdSense advertising system. Two years later, it required political advertisers to verify their identities before allowing them to buy campaign ads. The move came after Google’s disclosure to Congress that it had accepted nearly $5,000 in advertising during the election cycle from the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company accused of meddling in the race.

More recently, Google has been playing cat-and-mouse with advertisers trying to circumvent its ban on ads that profit from shortages caused by the pandemic. Even as Google said it was catching millions of problematic virus-related ads a day, its networks still failed to rein in many others.

“There’s a lot of money in Google ads; it’s easy for someone to start an advertising account and start dumping money into their system,” said Jared Moré, a digital marketing consultant.

Expanding the verification process is a necessary step, he said.

“It shouldn’t be a hassle for 99 percent of advertisers,” he said. “It will only be difficult for people who are maybe doing something unscrupulous.”

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