Cryptocurrency, Ethereum (ETH)–It appears that cryptocurrency has not fully turned on the corner on last year’s combined ban by Facebook, Twitter and Google.
According to reports by auditing startup Decenter, Google has allegedly blacklisted the term ‘ethereum’ for its advertising platform Google ads. In a tweet published on Jan 10., the company accused Google Ads of imposing some bias towards the keyword Ethereum, stating
“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 [sic] there any new policy changes introduced @GoogleAds?”
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
The tweet included an accompanying image demonstrating what is presumed to be an attempt at using Ethereum for an ad word, with the reply message indicating that the term would not be permitted for key words.
Google Ads, through their official Twitter account, responded to the inquiry by stating
“Advertisers may promote cryptocurrency exchanges that target the United States and Japan. Hence, you may not be able to run ads which target other countries.”
While the message indicates that would be advertisers should be able to use Ethereum in campaigns targeted towards U.S. and Japanese based customers, Decenter reports not being able to do either. The company replied to the Google Ad update, explaining their situation,
We’re actually a developers team doing smart contract security audits so we’re seeing this error for keywords such as “ethereum security audits” and “ethereum development services”. Would you say that this is expected behaviour or can we fix it some way?
Rather than handling the situation via Twitter, the official Google Ads account pointed Decenter to their webpage on cryptocurrency policies, leaving many investors and developers scratching their heads over whether ‘Ethereum’ and its derivatives has indeed been blacklisted by the search engine giant.
Decenter continued the push for more information on the issue and clarification from Google Ads in an appeal through Reddit’s dedicated Ethereum board, asking users to open queries as to any policy changes that could have led to the sudden banning of the key word. In addition, Decenter posted an update stating that their previous ad campaigns feature “ethereum” have been removed, furthering the implication that there is some form of censorship going on,
“Any of the keywords that contain “ethereum” in our campaigns are no longer showing ads as of January 9th and are now reporting the following error.”
For comparison, Decenter reports that similar phrasing in ad campaigns that replace “ethereum” with “eos” such as “eos smart contract audits” are still available for use through Google Ads and being featured in campaigns. While it’s unclear how broadly the ban has been applied to cryptocurrency, or whether it extends to any coins outside of Ethereum, Reddit users and Ethereum enthusiasts have begun an uproar over the selective censorship. The top comment by user u/ThePlague lambasts Google for promoting an agenda, stating that the company has been far from neutral in handling various forms of advertising on its platform, including cryptocurrency,
Google has various political and economic agendas, and they are quite willing to use their various services to promote their preferences. AdSense and Youtube are notorious for this, but there have been some incidents regarding the play store as well.
Despite their supposed corporate “do no evil” motto, they are more than willing to use their considerable power to choose winners and losers in social, political, and economic matters.