back to article Google cracks down on dodgy tech support ads

Google has placed restrictions on tech support ads after admitting it's increasingly hard to tell promos for legit services from deceptions. Tech support scams come via either cold calls to unsuspecting users or bogus web pages showing made-up, fake alert messages usually about dummy virus infections. Cold-callers posing as …

  1. Immenseness

    "Ad experiences"

    We don't have adverts anymore, just ad experiences? Sigh.

    Drinking experience anyone? :-)

    1. msknight

      Re: "Ad experiences"

      > Drinking experience anyone? :-)

      On a Monday? ... sounds like you're battle hardened.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: "Ad experiences"

        The target's 21 "units" per week and Monday is the first day of the week, so we've got some work to do...

    2. Just Enough

      Re: "Ad experiences"

      >ad experiences

      I think I just had a nausea experience. It's just ruined my day experience.

  2. Luke Worm

    I’m sure one president will say that Google is against innovation, blocking “fine people" and censoring free speech.

    1. WonkoTheSane

      I believe someone of that persuasion has already tweeted something along those lines.

  3. jMcPhee

    Like the tax normal people have paid for 'private copying levies', maybe google should get a levy to pay for an independent body to vet their ads.

  4. Crypto Monad

    How many ads?

    Google said that last year it took down more than 3.2 billion ads that violated its advertising policies.

    I seriously doubt this is 3.2 billion distinct ads.

    32 ads, each of which had already been served 100 million times before being taken down? More likely. But in that case, the damage has already been done.

  5. Dwarf Silver badge

    Are we there yet

    So, in the constant race to the bottom, does it finally mean that they've reached the bottom of the barrel ?

    The only problem is that the whole market is 150% convinced they are doing it right and nobody has noticed - or is prepared to consider the alternatives.

    .. And they wonder why virtually everyone hates adverts.

    Most are not wanted intrusions

    Delays, delays, bandwidth costs ...

    The gullible are taken in by the scamming t*ats with their professional looking adverts - viruses, IT support, pre paid funeral deals, cheap new ipad for only £19.99

    The existing customers are paying for the adverts in their monthly costs / buy price

    So, who actually gets anything out of adverts ? -- and at what cost to everyone else ?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I call BULLSH*T!

    Google needs to get it's own house in order first.

    Almost 3 years ago I received a fake virus warning on my new Android device that linked to a bogus "Antivirus/Cleaner" app on the Google Play Store.

    I decided I was finally going to try and do something about it and reported the app to Google thinking that would be the end of it but I was wrong.

    I started searching the internet to find other users that had complained about getting fake virus warnings on their Android devices and saw that users had been reporting this same app since 2013 and continues to this day.

    Google assigned a supervisor to work with me on the issue but after a month of me sharing screenshots and hundreds of user complaints about the app I was contacted by a new Google employee and had to start the whole process over.

    This same scenario played out multiple times where I was purposely put in an endless loop of being reassigned a new Google rep.

    The app in question uses the virus detection rules of a well known antivirus/security company but it is just a giant ad server that injects ads into the users Facebook stream using Facebook's infamous Graph API and directly violates Google's own developer policies in at least 4 different catagories yet Google refuses to do anything about it.

    There were 48 user complaints about the fake virus warnings for the app on the Google Play Store in one month alone.

    So tell us how again how you are "cracking down" again Google.

    (I guess that doesn't apply when the scammers pay you 30%.)

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: I call BULLSH*T!

      " that linked to a bogus "Antivirus/Cleaner" app on the Google Play Store."

      This is El Reg. Name that fucker.

  7. Securitymoose


    Does anyone actually read adverts on the Internet, and even less actually click on them?

    I've had pages that say. 'We see you are blocking adverts. Please disable your blocker in order to view the content on this page." Arrogant b*******s.

    My keyboard needs a FOAD key (f*** off and die), because I'm not falling for that one.

    Google taking adverts down? Only those that don't pay them for the clicks made by paid stooges.

    Final Score

    Google: Billions - Advertisers: Nil

    1. TheTor

      Re: Ad-block?

      That is all.

      1. VikiAi

        Re: Ad-block?

        I will turn off my add blocker when sites provide a money-backed restitution-for-damage-and-time-lost guarantee that none of the ads served will be malware.

        And I still won't actually look at the ads.

  8. Highinthemountains

    It took them long enough. I guess they want everyone to make a bit of money before shutting them down. They pretty much did the same thing for the fake antivirus ads, but it it took them 5 years before they shut them down.

  9. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Google cracks down ... on YouTube


    Every time I look at a YouTube vid I get an ad for either '£369m Jackpot GB payout tonite!' or 'Download Windows 10 Drivers/Updates here'. Based on the title text alone I have difficulty imagining that either of these are entirely safe to click on. They have been appearing regularly, with minor variations, for the last six months. Why, Google?

    1. VikiAi

      Re: Google cracks down ... on YouTube

      Might be a regional thing. All I get is fast food and insurance adverts (neither of which interest me in the least).

      (Icon for 'targeted' advertising slingers)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hi, I'm from Microsoft

    I wonder if this wasn't a way to improve the odds with the calls pretending to be from Microsoft or one of the other scams.

    I tend to play along with those calls until they think I've set up the remote control software and then I point out that I write viruses for a living and it should be on their computer by now followed by a question about if their workmates computers are slowing down. That tends to get the call transferred to a real supervisor who is always fun to talk to. If they are technical, I tend to ask if they notice the virus calling expensive premium numbers all over the world or an increase in dropped calls. If they say they can't see any of that type of activity the only response is "so my virus is working like it should". That will be one very nervous manager the next time the voip system drops out.

    1. VikiAi
      Thumb Up

      Re: Hi, I'm from Microsoft

      I tend to waste their time too, on the assumption that as they are working for criminals, if their performance drops too much they might get a kneecap or two smashed in (I can dream, can't I?)

  11. Bob's Onsite Computer Repair in Cincinnati

    Google Adwords blocks all tech support advertising

    How could a company as big as Google drop the ball like this?

    They should have implemented their verification system first, then banned the ads. Now, instead of blocking scammers from advertising, they have also blocked all reputable companies as well which is hurting good people as well as the scammers!

    Also, Google has known about this issue for many years and continued to gladly take the scammers money knowing they were allowing their customers to be scammed for years and years. Bing did this back in 2016! Google, being the money hungry company that they are, allowed this to go on for two and 1/2 more years!

    Thank you, Google, for screwing me out of over 4 months of wages as Google Adwords brought in at least 75% of my new customer base for my Cincinnati onsite computer repair business!

    Next time, implement the verification process before you stop all advertising! Pathetic!

    This tech support ad block began in September. It is now December 7, 2018 and still no word on when they will implement their verification system. Maybe I will go out of business before they put in this verification system. :(

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