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Reddit user eli0tz has brought attention to Google Ads seemingly blacklisting “Ethereum” as a keyword. The user said they have been using keywords containing “Ethereum” for the last 6 months without issue, in order to get more visibility for their “smart contract auditing services”; however, since January 9 they have noticed a change, and now it appears that “ethereum” has been blacklisted.
The following error message is now shown:
An ad isn’t showing now
This candidate is not permitted to show ads in your targeted location.
Their ads containing the keyword are no longer showing with Google searches like “ethereum smart contract audits,” presumably since it contains “ethereum”. However, “eos smart contract audits” will show; this is also true for other cryptocurrency keywords, such as “ico”, “bitcoin”, “eos” and so on will show ads as normal, adding weight to the claim this is a blacklist on Ethereum specifically.
The user has contacted Google for a response on why this keyword seems to have been blacklisted, but their responses don’t shed much light on the issue. When asked over Twitter, their response was:
“Hi there, thanks for reaching out. Advertisers may promote cryptocurrency exchanges that target the United States and Japan. Hence, you may not be able to run ads which target other countries. Hope this helps. Do let us know if you have any additional questions. -Chetan”
This, of course, didn’t satisfy the Reddit community investigating the issue since it avoids answering if any changes have been made to how Ethereum operates as a keyword, and whether there have been any policy changes.
The user is frustrated that Google seems to be specifically targeting Ethereum, and being secretive as to their reasons why there have been no policy updates or press releases to signal this change. The Reddit community have offered their insights on what might be happening here; one user suggested:
“Google has various political and economic agendas, and they are quite willing to use their various services to promote their preferences.”
Another user suggested that it could be a rogue employee:
“Google isn’t as monolithic as a lot of people treat it. They give their employees a lot of latitude, and that means that sometimes one guy will run off on a personal crusade. It’s very possible this blacklisting isn’t a result of Google’s official policy, but just some lone guy with a vendetta.”
eli0tz hopes that if the story gets enough attention, Google will be encouraged to explain their reasoning or reverse the blacklisting. We will keep following closely and notify whether it seems to be a local/temporary glitch, or a new Google policy targeting Ethereum.