An investigator at the Manitoba Securities Commission in Canada has suggested that Google to ban ICO ads and take a similar approach to Facebook in banning ICO, cryptocurrency and binary options ads.
Jason Roy says that Canada is “very pleased” with Facebook’s decision to ban ICO ads as they are “leading people to becoming victims.” To this end, he says that regulators in the country have been holding talks with Google with regards to this concern.
Facebook Sets the Pace
Facebook made an announcement only a week ago that it would be banning all such adverts after months of pressure from both the FBI and Canadian regulators, according to Roy.
A statement by the Facebook project management director, Rob Leathern, at the time explained, “We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception. That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.”
In response to Roy’s comments, Google spokeswoman Roni Levi said that they already have in place policies against misleading ads and misrepresentation. They however do not agree with the sentiment to single out ICOs and cryptocurrencies.
But Roy and others who are championing the cause note that it only takes a simple Google search to get numerous ads from the three contentious industries.
The Point of Contention
Binary options have attracted a lot of contention and are currently banned in countries like Israel where numerous scams and fraudulent schemes have been reported surrounding the space. The result of this ban was that some of the proponents shifted their interest to the crypto space.
A source within the binary trading industry explains, “They just took a sticker down from a door and put up a new sticker and said now we’re doing ICOs. Nothing about the company changed. Maybe some of the legal filings.”
This is the major point of concern that Roy highlights as he says the conversion carries the same motive of scamming unsuspecting victims.
He says, “You have the former binary options firms that have made the switch to offering cryptocurrencies, and it’s basically the binary options scam 2.0. Then you have fraudulent and unregistered ICOs that are targeting people. And then you have cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes or multi-level marketing schemes.”
He however does not dispute that there are genuine cryptocurrency companies, explaining that in order to ascertain their legitimacy, regulators would need to “look at what they were doing and determine if this is an activity that can be registered and if they had in fact registered.”
According to Google insiders who spoke to The Times of Israel, the platform generates high returns from ads related to binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrency companies. They claim that such companies bid higher than usual amounts in order to get priority ranking on Google’s top pages.
“Usually a legitimate company that advertises in Google will pay 50 cents a click, or maybe a dollar or two because they’re just trying to get normal people to come in. But you’re bidding against your competitors. If your competitor started bidding at $20, they would show up above you. If you wanted to show up above them, you would have to bid $21”, explains an unnamed source.