News Column

Google Says It Is Combating Illegal Ads

May 20 2011

U.S. technology giant Google Inc. said it is taking a proactive stance against illegal advertising, the subject of a U.S. Justice Department probe.

"Google has a natural long-term financial incentive to make sure that the advertisements we serve are trustworthy," said company spokeswoman Diana Adair, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Google, which earns 96 percent of its revenue from advertising, said in December it would work with Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo! Inc. to crack down on illegal online drug companies, the Post said.

But the company has also set aside $500 million against a potential settlement in a Justice Department investigation about its profiting from illegal advertising, for which Google can be held liable.

A report released this year by Consumer Watchdog called Google "a prominent beneficiary of the national home loan and foreclosure crisis," as it took advertising dollars from companies that said they were in business to help troubled home owners, but instead operated a variety of scams.

"There's all kinds of ads that are sleazy at best and some of them fraudulent that run all the time on Google, and Google gets paid for them," said consumer advocate John Simpson at Consumer Watchdog.

Common fraudulent ads on the Internet include illegal drug and gambling companies, get-rich-quick schemes and pirated merchandise, the Post said.

Source: Copyright United Press International 2011

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