Google follows Facebook in stepping back from banning Coinbase ads, but without any official announcements…
Google has quietly lifted a months-old ban on displaying adverts for Coinbase, backtracking on statements made in March stopping the cryptocurrency wallet and exchange from appearing on the world’s largest search engine.
Facebook also rescinded its ban last month, fuelling speculation that the social network has a takeover bid for Coinbase in the works. It had said in January that all cryptocurrency and ICO adverts would be scrubbed from News Feeds.
On March 14th, Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc noted in a post on the company’s official blog, The Keyword, that adverts for Coinbase would no longer appear on its platform.
Scott Spencer, director of sustainable ads, wrote: “We’re constantly updating our policies as we see new threats emerge. Improving the ads experience across the web, whether that’s removing harmful ads or intrusive ads, will continue to be a top priority for us.”
Google’s ‘new restricted financial products’ policy, released at the time, says that from June 2018 the company would: “restrict the advertisement [and] ads for cryptocurrencies and related content, including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets and cryptocurrency trading advice.”
Coinbase, for its part, has been ramping up efforts to improve its regulatory standing and back office support after embarrassing FOI details appeared online, showing hundreds of customers had serious complaints against the trading platform.
CEO Asiff Hirji wrote in a blog post that Coinbase was “on the way to becoming a regulated securities firm” in June, and opened a Japanese office the same month, with ex-Morgan Stanley investment banker Nao Kitazawa running the new branch.
So why now? Why would Google u-turn on advertising standards when it could use them to avoid accusations that it propagates ICO scams, especially after recent record-breaking multi-billion dollar fines for breaching competition laws in Europe? Perhaps the cash rolling in from cryptocurrency advertising was too much to turn down?
In a July 23 investor bulletin marking the company’s financial results for Q2 2018, Alphabet Inc beat analyst expectations, reporting $3.2bn of income for the quarter.
Google itself took in advertising revenue of $22.3bn in the last three months, up from $17.5bn in the same period last year.