Ads have almost become a dirty word on the Internet. What should have been, and actually is for some, a legitimate source of revenue, bad behaviors by not a small number of players have tainted that market. Both users and browser makers play a game of cat and mouse against misbehaving and even downright malicious ads and we’re in for yet another round. Google has just issued a warning, that starting next month, it will be more aggressively removing all ads on a few sites that still refuse to clean up their act.
This isn’t Google’s first attempt at curbing the epidemic of “abusive experiences” on the Web, which mostly refers to deceptive ads. And by the looks of things, it won’t be its last either. Even Google admitted that its already strict rules weren’t enough to weed out those bad players and it hast to step up its own game with even harsher measures.
Google is singling out ads that deceive users into clicking buttons that don’t do what they’re supposed to do. Like that close button you expect would be your salvation, only to turn into a phishing scam or malware download. Google already has rules against such ads but some sites and makers just aren’t listening.
So starting December this year, Chrome 71 will completely strip away all ads on “a small number” of sites that refuse to heed the warnings. Granted, some of these sites might not be aware that they’re using abusive ads so Google will be giving them a 30-day grace period to act once their site has been flagged.
While Google’s policies, on the surface, champion the user, some paint Google’s crusade as somewhat self-serving, pushing for ad rules that favor its own advertising platform. And while users can always remove ads on their end, these rules will make it so that they won’t have to and, in the process, continue to make money for site owners and advertisers.