Posted in Menacing Monopoly

Big, massive uh-oh: Google violated its standards in ad deals, research finds

And of course Google denies they screwed up. But the research is there:

Google violated its promised standards when placing video ads on other websites, according to new research that raises questions about the transparency of the tech giant’s online-ad business.

Google’s YouTube runs ads on its own site and app. But the company also brokers the placement of video ads on other sites across the web through a program called Google Video Partners. Google charges a premium, promising that the ads it places will run on high-quality sites, before the page’s main video content, with the audio on, and that brands will only pay for ads that aren’t skipped. 

Google violates those standards about 80% of the time, according to research from Adalytics, a firm that helps brands analyze where their ads appear online. The firm accused the company of placing ads in small, muted, automatically-played videos off to the side of a page’s main content, on sites that don’t meet Google’s standards for monetization, among other violations.

Google’s response was that the report “makes many claims that are inaccurate and doesn’t reflect how we keep advertisers safe,” which isn’t actually a refutation of any of the findings. Hilariously, their response also said: “As part of our brand safety efforts, we regularly remove ads from partner sites that violate our policies and we’ll take any appropriate actions once the full report is shared with us.”

If they haven’t seen the full report, how can they say with a straight face that it makes many claims which are inaccurate?

This is basically trying to have it both ways: Pay no attention to that report, it makes many inaccurate claims // we’ll take any appropriate actions once we have the full report in our hands. Um, what? Which is it: do you consider this report credible or not?

The WSJ did its own review so it wouldn’t need to rely on Google to confirm anything for its reporting, explaining:

The Journal independently observed invalid ad placements such as those the research identified, but couldn’t confirm the extent of the phenomenon. Digital ad-buyers and engineers vouched for the research findings.

Ain’t independent verification great?

You can’t spin your way out of this mess, Google. You own it and there’s going to be consequences.