According to a blog post by Bing, titled “Ad quality year in review 2018”, the Microsoft-owned search engine blocked over five million cryptocurrency-related ads last year. The company took down twice as many ads as the year before with advertising for cryptocurrency, third-party tech support and weapons cited as the biggest issues. Overall, Bing suspended nearly 200,000 accounts and removed 900 million ads from its platform in 2018.
“While digital advertising is incredibly powerful and open, it is also prone to abuse by bad actors trying to defraud and deceive users by delivering harmful and misleading ads, with persuasive content and innocent looking URLS that lead to phishing, malware attacks and other types of fraud,” the post states.
Crypto Was A Prime Target For Fraudsters
Bing banned all crypto advertising last year, following Google and Facebook’s lead. At the time, the Russian news outlet, Tass, reported that the Russian Association of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain and the Korea Venture Business Association threatened lawsuits against the tech giants over “cartel collusion” in an attempt to manipulate the market.
Advertiser policy manager at Microsoft, Melissa Alsoszatai-Petheo, said at the time that they constantly evaluate policies to ensure a “safe and engaging experience for our Bing users”. She added: “Because cryptocurrency and related products are not regulated, we have found them to present a possible elevated risk to our users with the potential for bad actors to participate in predatory behaviors, or otherwise scam consumers”.
The blog post states the reason for the high number of crypto ads banned. “The high returns and volatility of cryptocurrencies invited a lot of interest from retail investors and speculators looking to make a quick return. There wasn’t much regulatory oversight, and the overall pseudo-anonymity built into currencies like bitcoin made cryptocurrency a prime target for fraudsters and scam artists to defraud end-users”.
The company admits that despite their best efforts, scammers could still evade their rigorous checks. They call on users to report any suspicious ads through their ad quality escalation form.