Ads mentioning Ethereum are being blocked by Google Ads services, reports Belgrade-based Ethereum (mostly) project incubator Decenter. They reported the phenomenon on Reddit and Twitter, and claim that the strange behavior began on January 8.
Notably, Decenter claims the apparent ban is only affecting the keyword “Ethereum” - other cryptocurrency phrases such as “bitcoin,” “ICO,” and “EOS” are not being blocked. Curiously, when using the “Ethereum” keyword the group claims to get a location error, to wit: “This candidate is not permitted to show ads in your targeted location.”
We are seeing a hard stop on Google Ads containing "Ethereum" as the keyword in the last two days. Is anyone else noticing the same change? Where there any new policy changes introduced @GoogleAds? #ethereum pic.twitter.com/P5XMGphdiV— Decenter (@DecenterTeam) January 10, 2019
Google responded publically to Decenter’s concerns on the microblogging platform, but the interaction shed no light on the matter - Google’s respondent first essentially repeated what the error message had already said, and then referred Decenter to this Google Ads policy page, which offers guidelines for advertising financial products and services.
The policy page limits by country only advertisements for cryptoasset exchanges (only allowed in the US and Japan), which must apply for permission from Google to advertise even in those countries. Although Decenter isn't an exchange, nor does it develop one, they tried routing traffic through the safe countries anyway - to no avail.
History of Crypto Bans
Big Tech has a history of banning cryptoasset ventures. In 2018, Google banned all mention of “cryptocurrencies and related content” from its platform, while simultaneously developing their own interest in blockchain. This policy was, however, revised in September to its current status.
Facebook too banned virtually all ads related to crypto on their platform a year ago, before they too rolled back the ban to a more graceful application system during mid-2018. Microsoft's search engine Bing soon followed the trend.
CryptoGlobe recently reported on one Dutch exchange’s efforts to get around such restrictive policies, by advertising on the side of a bus. The SATOS exchange, on the scene since 2014, was running the ad in the streets of Amsterdam since the summer.