Aug 17, 2023

Google's still trying to keep billions it scammed from advertisers

Ad credits aren't real refunds

Remember how Google was caught scamming advertisers out of billions of dollars with its Google Video Partners, aka TrueView, ad product? Well we have great news - kind-of!

Nearly two months after they were called out for it, Google has decided to give some agencies … credits they can use on more Google ads. Uh, thanks?

Here’s how we got here:

A giant Adalytics report showed how Google was dumping ad inventory that advertisers thought was going to be on YouTube onto sites that didn’t even meet Google’s advertising standards.  Ads ran on sites that promoted disinformation, that pushed conspiracy theories, and that were even blocked by other advertisers and banned by ad exchanges. On top of that, some ads ran unskippable and obscured. Not the premium YouTube experience advertisers thought they were getting.

The ad industry wasn’t happy. The European Union *really* wasn’t happy, and is now auditing years of its Google spending after learning its ads were funding Russian propaganda sites.

Now Google is sending ad credits to advertisers to “fix billing discrepancies,” ad executives told AdAge. Google says the ad credits aren’t refunds but part of “ongoing relationship building.”

For once, we agree with Google: Paltry ad credits are no refund. If a store scammed you, you asked for your money back, and instead they gave you more store credit, would you be satisfied? No!

Google needs to give real refunds to the advertisers who trusted it.

If you’re someone Google gave ad credits to after the Adalytics report, here’s what you need to do:

Reach out to Google to ask about their refund process. How will they make this right? Call Google at 1-866-246-6453, opt out of GVP and demand actual money.

Ask Google to make TrueView an “opt-in only” option. We don’t want our ad dollars going to illegal websites now, do we?

Request that Google share their GVP inventory publicly. After this seismic breach of trust, we are all very curious about what other sites may be getting ad dollars.

If you have friends advertising with Google, tell them to check and see if their ads are running on Google Video Partners. If they are, send them this BRANDED and alert them to the scam.

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