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Google will ban all cryptocurrency-related advertising (cnbc.com)
280 points by lnguyen 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 141 comments

As outraged as many folks might be this is just good business for Google and Facebook. Internet advertising, nay advertising at large, is dangerously close to becoming a regulated, or more regulated, industry in the wake of fake news and Russian troll farms etc. If they aren't proactive and people lose money they inch ever closer to requirements that can and will eat large chunks of their profit margins. This isn't even to mention that they're also getting pressure from the private side where a couple hundred companies control over half the world's advertising spend and are getting actively called out by consumer advocacy for where they advertise. The handful of dollars they will get from crypto ads (in comparison to their overall spend) pales in comparison to even one Coca Cola, Unilever, etc. pulling their ad spend. Advertising, and media for that matter, is not free and fair market. It is tightly controlled by a handful of players that will fight tooth and nail to keep it that way.

> As outraged as many folks might be

I am thinking that only applies to people who invested in cryptocurrency.

As someone who has invested in cryptocurrencies, I have to say I don't really mind the ban – most crypto ads I've seen so far have been scammy or for subpar copycat cryptocurrencies, and I feel like that'd be the general trend, even if legitimate cryptocurrencies start using ad platforms I feel like they'll be a minority since they already get free advertisement through word of mouth by simply being innovative.

Why would you ever need to _advertise_ a cryptocurrency anyway? Can you imagine someone advertising a specific stock, or a fiat currency? That'd be ridiculous! Seems likely to me that most of those ads are just trying to prop-up the price of the currency they're advertising so that the one who bought the ad can dump their holdings at a higher price.

I'm a little concerned though that Google's ban here seems to go beyond just ads for currencies themselves. For example, is Brave no longer allowed to advertise its browser on Google because there's a cryto coin associated with it? Are exchanges or hardware wallet manufacturers like TREZOR no longer allowed to advertise their services? If so, I think these restrictions might be overly broad.

> Can you imagine someone advertising a specific stock, or a fiat currency?

The latter -- yes, that's ridiculous. But not the former. Companies whose stock is traded publicly do advertising all the time. The intended audience for the ads isn't limited to potential buyers of their product. It's often also useful for swaying shareholders, potential shareholders, regulators, etc.

Just because people do it doesn't mean he isn't right about it being ridiculous.

A legitimate ad for a crypto currency is the same usecase as a credit card: you want people to choose your currency/card for their transactions. Note that in both cases the legitimate use is transactions, and in both cases the real motivation is those who fall into a scam (in the case of a credit card high interest rates).

I second that. I actually see it as a positive. The "scammy stuff" that surrounds cryptocurrencies might generate demand and raise prices in the short term, but they are also very likely to deliver devestating blows to public perception and acceptance of cryptocurrencies in the long run.

"let's illustrate we're not a monopoly and avoid monopoly regulation by using our market power to arbitrarily ban this one thing"

Mainstream media is driving campaigns against Google in many countries. They do need to do some PR and appear to do "good" things, even when it is quite clear that is just gesturing.

Acai berry is ok, but Bitcoin is bad?

One's ability to use (and therefore consume and therefore buy) acai berry product close-to-fundamentally limited by biology. Not only that, but there is a lag of as least 1 day between ordering an acai berry product and receiving it. Nobody is going to lose $200K investing in Acai berry.

Someone, especially a someone with a smartphone and poor impulse control, might lose $200K investing in a cryptocurrency. The sort of person who has that money to lose is either retired or reasonably wealthy, and therefore has the time or self-advocation skill to have an incremental influence on legislation or regulation.

Also, Acai Berry promotions are unlikely to fall foul of securities marketing laws, no matter how palpably dishonest they are

Yes, acaí berries are tasty and make a lovely addition to a healthy breakfast. Cryptocurrencies are Internet penny stocks with lofty aspirations.

Sorry if I'm out of the loop, but why would açaí be bad? I can walk a couple of minutes and buy a drink of açaí with guaraná, and I've never heard anything negative about these drinks.

Well: "very little research has been done in people on the health effects of acai products." [1]

In general, health supplements, miracle berries, etc. sit on dubious scientific ground: many have either not been extensively studied, or have been studied and shown to have no discernible effect (good or bad). The assertion here is not that açaí itself is bad per se, but that it is marketed as being healthy with little or no scientific evidence to back that up - and therefore that people are being convinced to waste their money through deceptive marketing, in that they imagine themselves to be getting a health benefit that likely does not exist.

[1] https://nccih.nih.gov/health/acai/ataglance.htm

> miracle berries

Is this commonly used to refer to acai berries? The only "miracle berry" I know of[1] is named for the effect on perception of flavor caused by the chemical miraculin, which is produced by the berry.

They're also extremely fun to introduce to people who have never tried them before, and I highly recommend them for your next party.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synsepalum_dulcificum

Ah, fair. I was using it here as more of a general term for all berries caught under the umbrella of various health crazes (antioxidants, etc.), but forgot about this berry (which, as you say, is a lot of fun to play around with).

Your comment is very right, but the conclusion is very, very wrong.

What do you think will cause regulation to happen more quickly:

1) Internet advertisers allowing scammy advertisements ?

2) Internet advertisers using their power for political aims and demonstrating it works for that ?

I think going for 2, as they inevitably do when they outlaw advertisements for almost any reason other than being outright forced by a court to do so, will make politicians see them (correctly or not) as an existential threat and get them regulated faster than you can say "machiavelli".

It's too late for (2) - the huge extent of unregulated foreign lie-based advertising in the last US election makes some kind of backlash inevitable.

(Domestic lie-based advertising is apparently fine in the US so long as the money is from the US)

> is dangerously close to becoming a regulated, or more regulated, industry

You're absolutely right.

And this is an easy, almost childishly obvious end-around to get at free speech. If speech is "political speech," then it is subject regulation suite A. If it is "advertising", then it is subject to regulation suite B. If it is "legal or medical advice," on and on.

Until there are no spaces left between the suites, and all speech is regulated.

Neither Facebook nor Google are ""pure"" free speech zones already, or ever were, and both already have categories of advert that you're not allowed.

Oh, totally.

But I was making a different point:

I was talking about impending regulations (per GP), not about the speech permissiveness of private platforms.

Yet they are digital commons with near monopolies.

Should IRL streets be the only place where pure free speech is allowed?

Should the entire internet be a purely corporate space with no constitutional rights permitted, only private access?

If we are advised to avoid their near monopolies, should we simply wait for another corporate giant to take their place?

In order to exercise our rights of free speech, must we erect our own commercial entities? If so, in what way is the government we're supporting working for us?

The constitutional right is country-specific and also limited. You're not allowed to publish fraudulent stock prospectuses offline, even in America.

I appreciate your adhering to the letter of the law, but I'm clearly speaking about ideals. In most democracies, laws are not the final world. We have the ability to change the laws based on our ideals as life evolves.

At one time, we were quite free in many countries, but large corporations have put strangleholds on free speech, a fact so well-documented I'm not compelled to source it here.

W/r/t your non-sequitor on fradulent stock prospectuses, that's moving the goalposts quite a bit from cryptocurrency advertising. It's so far afield, I'm struggling to understand why you included it in this discussion, but out of respect for you, I'm attempting to connect it to the previous ideas about cryptocurrency offerings. It seems you're implying cryptocurrency advertising is, by definition, fraud? Is that the case? Do you care to elucidate?

I posted my open questions because we should be thinking about what we want for societies around the world, not merely conforming to legal precedents set by corporate entities.

Good example.

The venn diagram between the free-speech-or-death people and the market-will-decide people is often very overlapped but your example is a concrete existing example where you COULD publish a false prospectus as an expression of your free speech but you would find yourself very quickly more poor and more incarcerated.

But in what way is banning all cryptocurrency-related advertising equivalent to publishing false prospectuses? It's not. There are infinite legitimate uses of advertising w/r/t cryptocurrency.

I agree we should disallow and punish publishing false prospectuses, but I disagree that cryptocurrency advertising should be completely banned from google. I think it's an overreach of monopolistic power.

As a corporate entity, google has too much power to choose what competing businesses succeed, and social progress spreads. I don't even own or have any interest but passing in cryptocurrency, but I don't see why they shouldn't be allowed to make their businesses, subject of course to financial regulations.

Well, it's their platform so it's their rules. It would be dystopian if they tried to censor cryptocurrency-related Google Trends insights, news and other media. The pressure on the rest of humans to find suitable substitutes to Google and Facebook will only grow with time.

Speaking of substitutes, Google and Facebook have a strong incentive to squander cryptocurrency. The long vision is a direct threat to the way they operate, and to the very question of whether or not they should exist.

If there was some hypothetical way to decentralize search, email or even social interactions, DLT research is likely the path forward. The whole point is that the nodes cannot trust each other, creating a sort of differential company, where search is provided entirely by those who are searching.

This is vastly different to Google's model which had the ease of assuming that they owned all of the nodes. Perhaps this is why Google and Facebook happened first in human history; they were simpler inventions. I truly believe the decentralized option is better for society, and so it will inevitably exist. Emergent protocols are changing the way I think about how computers talk to each other.

> The long vision is a direct threat to the way they operate, and to the very question of whether or not they should exist.

I don't see how that's true?

Take Basic Attention Token (https://basicattentiontoken.org/) as an example - it is attempting to remove YouTube as an advertising middle-man that controls and takes a cut of ad revenue. By creating a marketplace where advertisers pay content creators directly, it in my mind represents a direct threat to how YouTube operates today.

> how YouTube operates today

You mean, paying for the infrastructure with ads? As soon as most of that money is routed elsewhere, YouTube has little other option than to invoice operation costs with creators (or shut down the service). The BAT doesn't provide a solution for hosting.

That's the point. Now they take most of the profits from the content because they provide monetization and infrastructure. Once they are providing only infrastructure, they can only charge for infrastructure. They will still make money, but much less of it.

I'm less concerned with the amount of money flowing to YT, but the logistics. The hassle free "upload stuff, and if you're popular there's a button to add ads" model wouldn't work. The first interaction with YouTube as a publisher would be a form to enter credit card data.

Google is a private business and they can do what they want, but this disappoints me. More and more Google seems to be thinking of themselves as content police (consider YouTube is owned by Google also), and I think that's a shame. Perhaps it will open up a market for dethroning them. A serious YouTube competitor that doesn't demonetize content they find disagreeable would be very healthy, IMHO.

They're stopping ads, not content.

Content and ads are very different things. Stopping lucrative crypto ads certainly will financially hurt Google, but is definitely a win for consumers. Most crypto advertising is 100% scams. There's a huge difference between letting someone speak their mind on your platform (content) versus accepting money to broadcast their message on your platform (ads).

As for content, that's completely different (and a slippery slope). I won't pick a side on free speech vs protecting people, but I will say I'm very glad I don't have to choose where to draw the line.

> They're stopping ads, not content.

They’ve been removing videos from YouTube also. Which they are free to do, it being their platform, but my point is that they are removing content also.

This article is about ads.

But, to your point: are they? Outside of copyright infringement and downright illegal content, are they really removing any videos? I googled it, and all I found were terrorists and copyright infringement being removed.

"I googled it"

I see what you did there :D

Not the full story. They've been actually demonetizing, or in some cases removing, videos for political speech they don't agree with.

Even former Rep Ron Paul's Youtube channel was demonetized--which is frankly just insanely ridiculous.

Meanwhile media reports extremist content such as Nazi propaganda is available?!

Another example is anti-Trump, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro.

I'm not exactly sure who can be said is being "protected" by retaliating against Paul and Shapiro?

It's their platform, but without either competition or regulation they're quickly becoming an unreasonable Thought Police.


This article was about ads, not content. That's the distinction I was making.

Google is very loathe to remove videos. I haven't seen that often, outside of copyright infringement or something truly illegal.

Demonetization is different. It's basically saying "we'll let you talk... But we don't want to reward you and charge our advertisers for it". It's a hugely slippery slope, of course, but... It's one thing to demand free speech (which Google isn't legally required to allow), yet a completely different thing to demand Google pay people they disagree with.

> "demand free speech"

The top parent comment was not making a legal "demand" but was expressing concern and hope for a fair competitor to arise which treated different viewpoints in a neutral manner.

> "ads not content"

Nevertheless many content producers rely on ads to sustain themselves, and so by unfairly demonitizing viewpoints google/facebook disagrees with, the argument can be made they are doing evil. And especially considering their power as gatekeepers of the modern avenue of public discourse, we should be very concerned about them picking sides, especially for topics with a political component.

You stated "they're stopping ads, not content." That is not completely true. That's what I responded to.

> Even former Rep Ron Paul's Youtube channel was demonetized--which is frankly just insanely ridiculous.

perhaps all channels with political goals (candidates, parties) should be demonetized.

They're waging war, not just on political disagreements, but on alternative media.

Most of the media is owned by a small number of corporations and they want you to get your ideas and info from them.

My livelihood depends on online advertising and yet I have the opposite feelings. Google (and Facebook and Reddit etc) should be doing more content policing, especially for the content monetized by advertising, and should be held liable for the content which they monetize.

Right now, no one is responsible for the poisonous mixture of fake-news / radicalizing context coupled with attention based internet economy where the only incentive an internet content business has is to grab more and more eyeballs. Google (and others) simply shirk their failures by claiming "to give users what they want", when instead their employees are busy devising more and more elaborate ways to grab someone's eyeballs.

> Right now, no one is responsible for the poisonous mixture of fake-news / radicalizing contex

Who decides what’s fake news. Trump said there was problems in Sweden. NYTimes called him out on it. Not even a year later they are writing about the problems in Sweden.

So was the fake news trumps comment? Or the denile and lying by the media?

Maybe we should just censor everything. Censor trump, the media, advertising, everything. Not like the media is worth a grain of salt these days.

Although you get downvoted, that is a very valid question. Right now there is a process going on in Sweden to change the country's constitution, thus enabling the government to perform more censorship. It is fueled e.g. by established newspapers and tabloids who campaign against Google, Wordpress and other Internet companies. Who gets to decide what is fake news?

I am concerned by this trend. Instead of more open and more honest reporting in mainstream media, the governments try to silence those who post controversial stories - even when they are true, or at least not any more false than "accepted" news.

[Trump's comment about Sweden was false in the sense that "last night" nothing very unusual happened in Sweden; it was true in the sense that every night there were some things that you wouldn't expect from a country that has been so stable for so long as Sweden has, even though the claims about "civil war" in Sweden are highly exaggerated.]

For Google, the answer is pretty clear: the advertisers decide what content is acceptable or not acceptable. It is pretty clear (like the parent indicated) that the pressure to demonetize is coming from the advertisers. And it's not really "fake news" that I've heard the most about, it's content that is deemed objectionable to their image. Not many companies are going to accept appearing next to terrorist recruiting videos, or racist material, or videos that appeared to be child predatory (all headline-grabbing incidents of late). Large companies also tend to shy away from "controversial" / "radical" politics as well, so there's no question that some of those are going to be targeted.

This is the consequence of the nature of the beast: a broadcast platform that lives off of advertisements. You can't force Google to not do what their advertisers want.

I see no reason at this time why those with advertiser-unfriendly viewpoints can set up alternative platforms, that do not necessarily need to cater to big-corporate advertisers. At this point (at least in the United States), you don't have the situation in some nations where there is just one viewpoint (the state media) and alternative opinions are silenced not by demonitization, but by police/army force.

Exactly this. Fake news just is a way to proclaim unwanted propaganda as something bad. This does not always mean the wanted propaganda is less a lie or the unwanted is a lie to begin with.

But it matters what exactly he said and what exactly NY Times writes. For example, if I write in all caps SWEDEN IS DYING, ECONOMY iN SHAMBLES - SAD! - this would be a lie and not useful content and google can decide to remove it and we would be no worse off.

This whole fake news/ads can be solved by allowing consumer's to see which company/person posted the ad.

> Google is a private business and they can do what they want

It's exactly this line of thinking that got us here. This 'private business' is a lot of people doing the same thing (in this case censoring things, as much as I hate ads, this is censorship). But people who use their products can't organize themselves in this way (they are not a single entity) and can't boycott them when shit like that happens. They can't leave independently either since it puts each of them them at a disadvantage ("everyone else is using it").

That's why Google must be slapped as hard as possible here - because they are nearly a monopoly.

> Google is a private business and they can do what they want

No. They can't. Countries have laws that regulate what companies can and can't do. That's why so many companies have had to pay fines in the past. To assert that "private business ... can do what they want" deteriorates democracies and the rule of law.

update: My comment is not about if Google did right or wrong, or if it's legal or not for them to ban cryptocurrency ads. My comment it's just a response to the parent about how private companies "can do what they want". Sorry for writing a comment so open to misinterpretation. I hope this clarification helps.

Please. Cryptocurrency advertising, the domain of “the next Bitcoin” and “100,000% return on ICO” scams, is an odd hill to die on in the pursuit of grandiose claims of “democracy and the rule of law”. Google can accept or deny any advertising they choose, and statehood and governments have nothing to do with it; I anticipate your “but First Amendment” reply and challenge you to think about to what relationship a Constitutional amendment applies. I don’t see people appealing to Westphalian sovereignty and The Rule of Law when Google doesn’t accept pornographic advertising, do you?

There is neither law nor regulation in the United States or California demanding that advertising be accepted and served outside of certain limited scenarios, such as elections. Anticompetitive concerns are handled via other means and do not apply. So, yes. They can. And their doing so doesn’t undermine democracy in any sense. If you believe this incorrect, the courts are at your disposal.

Do you have any idea how often the networks reject television advertising, by the way? One national spot I worked on took five tries to be accepted for air. Advertising media needs a rejection mechanism (else you’d get Bud Light ads on the Disney channel), and citing a civics lesson to lament it is just silly.

In light of what you say, what is your view of advertising companies accepting advertising from religious groups but rejecting advertising from athiest or humanist groups (advertisements that by any reasonable standard should be considered non-offensive)?

Hi jsmthrowaway. Could you PM me on Reddit (same username)? I was reading your really old comments about containers and Docker and am very interested to learn more about static binary containers. Would like to get some pointers where I can learn more about this approach.

With the ICO/coin ads promising 49,000% returns that I see here in the UK, I’m glad that they’re putting the brakes on it.

I'm pretty sure this is not a "political" decision, but just a recommendation their lawyers suggested to avoid being dragged into the (unavoidable) litigations that will spring up now that people wake up and realize they have been scammed. Google doesn't want to be nowhere near when the shit hits the fan.

It would be one thing if they followed a strict rule such as "we will block ads that present unrealistic claims" and then applied that rule equally across all advertisers. But the concern is they are singleing out one particular technology. That will harm those cryptocurrency business which aren't making claims about certain percentage of returns, thereby making it hard for a potential new novel use of cryptocurrency from being heard.

That does indeed seem to be what they're doing. For example, they're intentionally still allowing ads for Contracts for Difference, rolling spot forex, and financial spread betting (with some restrictions). Those are sophisticated financial products that probably shouldn't be used by normal consumers, and they're being marketed to that group via YouTube and Google ads by the exact same companies that have been marketing cryptocurrency trading, often via ads that bury the fact they are CfDs in the small print.

novel uses of cryptocurrency will almost inevitably gain traction because of their worth, especially considering how hot the market is right now with whales willing to throw ETH/BTC at anything that has a tiny chance to moon. how would Google enforce a rule like "we will block ads that present unrealistic claims?" who defines unrealistic? if you left that definition up to me 99% of the ERC-20 token based startups out there are unrealistic. there's no way that Google could "apply that rule equally across all advertiser" without being accused of being impartial/having vested interests.

How about instead of "unrealistic claims" simply prohibit claims about unproven future monetary performance of an asset?

Right but what else have they put the brakes on without you knowing.

You mean what ads have I been hungry to see, but mean old Google keeps them away from my eyes? None.

So you are implying that Google only has control over ads?

Please don't try to change the subject.

> A serious YouTube competitor that doesn't demonetize content they find disagreeable would be very healthy, IMHO.

It's probably not YouTube demonitizing content that they personally find disagreeable. It's most likely advertisers that find it disagreeable that their ads show up next to objectionable content: advertisers don't control precisely which videos their ads show up next to - they just target them to certain types of content. So advertisers need to have confidence in Google's decisions that ad-enabled content is reasonably appropriate for them. Instead, advertisers will threaten to pull their ads from Google's platforms entirely if it doesn't self-police adequately in terms of deciding which content is allowed on the platform and ad-enabled.

That was really the controversy with Logan Paul. He had top-tier status with YouTube (Google Preferred) meaning that YouTube positioned his channel as suitable for advertising from the biggest, most risk-averse brands, and those brands flipped out about the potential of appearing before his suicide forest video. See https://variety.com/2018/digital/news/youtube-changes-partne...

> In addition, YouTube said all videos in Google Preferred — representing the top 5% most-viewed channels — will be reviewed by human moderators before they’re monetized. YouTube also is rolling out a three-tiered “suitability system” for advertisers to select their level of comfort with content they’re buying ads against.

If advertisers were generally happy to have their content show up alongside any sort of videos, then YouTube might as well. There's another aspect of this which is YouTube kicking content off their platform that isn't even monetized at all, but that probably relates to the same problem again, where advertisers wouldn't want to monetize on a platform that's known for hosting objectionable content generally. (Porn sites don't tend to run a lot of mainstream ads, for example.)

Note that this description is intended to be a positive analysis of Google's probable behavior, not a normative defense of it. From a free speech perspective it's unfortunate that so many content policies are ultimately advertising-driven, but advertisers are the ones paying for most of the platform (with the exception of subscribers like to YouTube Red which are probably a minority of users).

Worth saying that advertisers are working on the basis of their clients. I think it's the clients that are pushing this change. And I think it's a vocal group who are shouting at those companies saying that their group is unhappy. The companies respond by pulling their advertising. I'd argue therefore that the advertisers and the companies, the brands have less morality than you might think - they are just reacting to consumer pressure. Demonitization effectively stops any advertiser, and any brand from advertising on a particular space. I'd also argue that Google is reacting to consumer pressure, which is why there is plenty of objectively worse content on YT which is not restricted (because there is no pressure about these vile videos).

One example would be the Stop Funding Hate pressure group who very loudly and aggressively by social media, campaigns to companies to stop advertising within The Daily Mail newspaper in the UK.

This is a great point (as far as it relates to demonetization). Ultimately the advertisers (and arguably the consumers those advertisers want to reach) are the ones with the power.

Can user sue Google if they follow an crypto advertisement on it, invest in it then find it is a fraud? It is likely self-protection.

Anyone can sue anybody about anything. But getting very far vs Google probably takes some resources. And even with resources, liability over ad publishing seems iffy. But IANAL.

Sure, but the question is, would they deserve to win because Google was at least partially to blame for the deceitful ad? Because if so, Google's right not to show the ad.

I consider all ads to be at least somewhat deceitful. Because they are, almost by definition, biased. They're a form of propaganda. And that's not exaggeration. Look at the history, if you will.

If con-men give you money to find their next mark, you are complicit in their crime. Due to ad targeting, this applies to Google et al more than it would apply to dumb advertisement platforms like print.

It certainly would still be extremely unlikely that a victim would be successful in suing Google for damages of a trap they stepped into due to Google-supplied ads (just imagine what that would mean for kickstarter...), but chances of getting caught are not the line between right and wrong.

A serious YouTube competitor that doesn't demonetize content doesn't have nearly as many advertisers.

>Google is a private business and they can do what they want,

This kind of an argument shows up every time Google or Facebook or some other megacorp does something detrimental to free speech. It would be a reasonable thing to say if they didn't control millions of conversations every day, show millions of ads to millions of people, and so on. When a company has a budget that would put it in the 20 biggest economies in the world if it were a country, this kind of a statement no longer applies. It doesn't matter that it's privately owned, its very existence impacts the lives of most people in most developed countries in the world, if it infringes on free speech, it should be regulated.

I'm collecting those ICO banners as signs of the era. Sure, I know it is the bubble, hence the driving force for me to collect them.

"Kids look, those are the pics of ICO craze 2018! Now get off my lawn"

I'd be quite stoked were Facebook to ban most but not all cryptocurrency ads.

What I find most disturbing are all the self-appointed "experts" who offer classes in which they will teach their "system" that they claim will guarantee the students collossal returns on very small investments.

However there are lots of ads that I'd like Facebook to keep. Many of the ICO (Initial Coin Offering) ads are from legitimate startup companies who hope to finance their new businesses by selling tokens at a fixed price for a limited period of time.

But I only want just the _legitimate_ ICO ads to remain. Unfortunately there are plenty of ICO scams. It can be quite difficult for a newbie to determine the difference.

I had a good experience with my first ICO - I bought NAGA at $1.00 then after it was listed with an exchange, I sold it at $3.00.

I have three other ICOs that I plan to hold until the companies behind them become profitable.

Note: "sold". I have a special hatred for the word "HODL".

There are other kinds of crypto advertising that I feel should remain. I'm very happy with my Bitmain Antminer L3+ LiteCoin mining rig.

Even with mining rigs there are scams: Etherium and Monero are both "ASIC resistant" because mining them requires quite a lot of memory. They both require GPUs.

In principle ASIC ETH or Monero ASIC mining is _possible_. I expect someone will eventually make ASICs with the required memory integrated into the chip.

But there are _no_ ETH or Monero ASIC rigs _yet_. Despite this, scammers are endlessly posting on message boards that their "company" - perhaps "shell company" is a better term - has ASIC Etherium rigs for sale.

> But I only want just the _legitimate_ ICO ads to remain.

I‘m sorry to bring you the news, but there aren‘t any.

Oh, and just in case there are, the crypto ecosystem implosion happening this year will drag them along to the bottom of the pool together with all the scams.

Reminds me of the dot com boom with tons of $noun.com companies of which the vast majority were worthless. But there were some true innovations, and those gems survived the crash. Had we lumped them all together and prohibited any of their advertisement, they may have never succeeded.

Often the significant innovations don't need to advertise. I didn't use the early Google because I saw an ad for it and I don't think Etherium did paid ads for their launch.

Ethereum is a good example. Look at all these poor Ethereum clones that ICO the shit out of their eth chain copy cat. Same shit we saw with the Altcoins craze some years ago.

The names that stay are those that speak for them self through revolutionizing Technologie.

Oh no it won't, that genie isn't going back into the bottle. Cryptos are here to stay, and they will continue growing for decades.


This is a post of somebody who regrets missing the train

Shoulda bought more Beanie Babies when they were just sitting around in gift shops as well.

I don't understand the strong negative opinion some people have. Sure we all could be millionaires but on the way we develop mathematically proven distributed information and now even computing systems (like eth) that will definitly help to shape the future in one way or another.

I made money and lost money with crypto. However i dont care because I love the Technologie. Who wouldn't?

> In principle ASIC ETH or Monero ASIC mining is _possible_. I expect someone will eventually make ASICs with the required memory integrated into the chip.

Yes, it is, and you don't need the memory integrated into the chip

At first I expected this to be about JS-mining ads.

How the hell can these companies turn blind eyes to bogus advertising like [1] to the point that the FTC steps in - but suddenly have a conscience about cryptocurrency.

It would please me to no end for advertising to magically become 100% truthful and fact-based. But this is selective censorship for reasons I don't care to understand, the ads these companies serve will continue to be rife with lies and propaganda with or without cryptocurrency.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_weird_trick_advertisements

Is/was Google serving "one weird trick" advertisements? Or is that other ad networks?

"In all of the cases, news sites such as MSNBC and washingtonpost.com appear to be passive hosts of the “flat belly” ads. The ads are “served” to the news sites and thousands of others by ad networks, including those operated by Google and Pulse360, based in New York." taken from [1].

There's probably a comprehensive list in the FTC documents, but the other articles cited by the wikipdia article make it sound like the ads were ubiquitous at the time, run on every major ad network.

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/ubiquitous-ti...

Individuals learn and organisations learn.

Perhaps the intervention of the FTC lead to a change in organisational incentives that made the organisation more wary of allowing possibly-fraudulent ads.

It's worth noting that the FTC seems to have only stepped in here because of the "negative-option" recurring payment model these sales channels were employing. They made it very difficult to successfully stop purchasing the advertised products.

It might look like censorship, but they probably realized that most ads where getting similar to penis enlargment ads and thought they didn't want to be associated with that.

Indeed, the crypto/ICO advertising along with multi-level-marketing schemes are a plague on social media. Guessing it's only getting attention because it's 'crypto' in the title rather than 'likely scams'.

Exactly :-)

The whole cryptocurrency is quite tainted atm, I'm pleased they do this, if only to root out the bad players. Perhaps at a later time when things are more stable they will go back to offering these ads.

I wonder what kind of effect, if any, do advertising platforms have on success of an ICO? My understanding is that most of the demand is driven through Discord and Youtube channels, Reddit and maybe BitcoinTalk. Happy to be corrected on this.

Envion ran a very large Facebook campaign and they finished with a 100M funding round. I'd say it has a substantial effect.

I don't think they really have a choice here. If you think the SEC rules on "is X a security" are broad, take a look at FINRA's rules on advertising and recommending securities.

The crypto litigation mass is approaching its Schwarzschild radius... By acting as a conduit for these ICO ads, Google etc. are making themselves part of the accretion disk arond the black hole, teeing up a decade of subpoenas, complaints, etc.

If this is in response to the BitConnect drama. I think it is unfortunate but it will be a good idea in the long run.

On one hand there are tokens and coins created with good intentions who will have to find other ways of marketing their values. On the other hand it prevents scam-coins like Bitconnect and DavorCoin from taking advantage of the less informed on a grand scale.

I welcome this decision. Investment should not be driven by advertisement but by facts. In my experience, any investment advertisement trying to appeal to mass audiences is fraud. This is no different for cryptocurrencies and reminds me of the penny stock scams.

I was on an Easyjet flight yesterday and their in flight magazine had a 15-page section with paid advertorials from all kinds of bitcoin, ico etc. companies. The rest were ads about VPN software. Pretty weird.

I saw this too, I was genuinely weirded out to see print advertising for cryptocurrency

Did you see the "World's first blockchain currency for football"?

Yes! and we also have a DJ Don Diablo ICO https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/dance/8241155/don-di...

This actually doesn't look like an example of a bad ICO from the 3 minutes I spent looking at it. You pay an upfront fee (buying HEXCOINS) for access to a virtual environment filled with like minded people, Hexagonia ($15 a month to play World of Warcraft) AND you earn coins just for spending time there, AND you can spend those coins right now on real life things you probably care about (this guys music, shirts, hats and shit kids eat up).

I see no issues here.

I wonder if all these crypto projects still attract fresh money. Or if it's largely winners of the Bitcoin boom shifting their assets around.

I suspect that a good chunk of the crypto projects are simply money laundering fronts. Buy crypto with undocumented cash, create ICO, buy into it with your own undocumented crypto, and take the cash from the ICO as something the IRS believes you have the legitimate right to spend.

I have no proof of this, of course, but it's an obvious money laundering route. Costs are fairly minimal to generate a legitimate-sounding reason to have a bunch of crypto.

I completely understand this decision but that doesn’t make me any less disappointed. Not in Google but the users. Nothing has changed if after all these years, people still fall for scams: Nigerian princes, Ponzi schemes, single house wives and now ICOs.

You can always find a sucker, but the hope is that education will greatly reduce many of those suckers.

The thing is there still are many scams that are in plain sight, things like fad diets, weight loss products, and on and on.

The medium makes a difference. Lots of people wake up and the first thing they do is turn on their smartphone, consuming advertising at the time when they are least capable of critical thought.

Not all the ICOs are bad, just most of them.

Now if only Twitter would do the same, it's about 90% of their promoted tweets now. To me, it says something about the platform overall since they don't seem to mind these obvious scams marketing to their userbase.

So where do I advertise my blockchain consultancy business?

Blockchain != Cryptocurrency

No, I know, just questioning where the line is.

Yeah that’s a good question. Reading between the lines of that article, I’d guess they’re worried about the damage caused by people taking regular folks money, which would surely exclude blockchain consultancies. That’s based on a giant assumption that their filtering can spot the difference effectively.

forgive me, but all i can say is: lol years too late

indeed, they seem to have been fairly happy pushing some fairly dodgy looking schemes via youtube ads, now there is some heat on them to take responsibility over content it's easier to ban them all, any attempt to corner these giants into human moderated content is their worst case scenario, if they are held responsible as publishers for the content they provide, their margins are too small for them to survive.

Now there will be an order of magintude less scam per popula, and without ads crypto bubble will fade and go away in few months.

I think a time will come when these decisions will brigng lots of shame and bad PR for companies like google and facebook.

I find it totally unacceptable for a third party to assume the role of babysitter for consenting adults.

It's not consenting adults if it's a scam, and Google can't analyze every ad to check for that. In a space where most ads are scams, this looks legit to me.

> It's not consenting adults if it's a scam

Are you serious? Or is this sarcasm?

If you're serious: you're welcome of course to an opinion that google is right to block scams, and / or that most cryptocurrency ads are scams.

But you can't really believe that adults stop being adults, or that consent to judge the merits of, for example an ad, suddenly evaporates in the presence of a scam?

Is the presence of a scam sufficient to warrant treatment of the involved individuals like children?

That sounds like an awful world.

Scam = based on lies. EG I tell you that your money will be used to do X, while instead I use it to buy a new home for myself. If one is lying, the others aren't "consenting".

I think I'm reasonably capable of giving consent to a situation wherein I know I'll need to discern truth from lies. I mean, I understand there's a limit to human agency, but the mere presence of a scam in a google add isn't close to it, at least for my worldview.

It's their business, they should be allowed to decide whatever they want.

In the same way we can think that most of the businesses are scams, because most of them end up bankrupt after 5 years. Should they also ban the ads for products of companies younger than 5 years? To protect the consumers from becoming bag holders of unsupported and unusable products?

Do you realize the difference between buying a service or product, and investing in a company (or ICO)?


^ spam

So Google is joining the #CRAEFULGANG?


This is good for bitcoin.

Yay. Good news.

Go peddle your ponzi schemes somewhere else!

"First they came for the crypto-currencies and I said nothing..."

For those with their eyes open, this is just another example of the current authoritarian trend sweeping the globe.

Yes, google is a private company but so are bakers. Unless you subscribe to "All animals are equal but some are more equal than others".

By the way, there is no distinction here between public and private powers. The State needs these big corporations to extend itself and they in turn need the State to regulate competition out of the markets.

First they came for the crypto-currencies and I said "finally, it's about time, now how about the white supremacists?"

The only direction for a repressive, authoritarian regime is a completely homogenous society. Such a society, in turn, will be filled with its own brand of supremacists.

Case in point: Germany, 1933.

Banning scams is not "repressive" and the slippery slope is ridiculous.

The slipery slope starts with starving websites of ad income[1], goes through arresting people for trolling[2] and God knows where it ends. Now in US they are trying to make companies like Facebook responsible for the content of the users[3], nevermind the new crazy EU law[4].





This is complete nonsense on the part of Google. I'm not sure when they thought they became God. Banning all ads for something that isn't even illegal and is a fresh new wave of tech and financial innovation is a sad day. Do no evil, sure sure.

This reminds me of when newspapers wouldn't run my ads for internet sites back in the day.

You have a very inflated concept of the importance of cryptocurrency advertisements.

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