Google has admitted that it profits from adverts for fake Olympic Games tickets posted through its AdWords program. A BBC investigation found that sponsored results from unofficial ticket sellers were often placed at the top of listings, misleading customers and potentially causing them to lose money. Although Google reviews these ads when users flag them as illegal or inappropriate, it has admitted that it keeps any revenue made before the ads get removed. The investigation also uncovered other paid adverts for cannabis and fake IDs.
While the initial presence of the adverts is unsurprising considering the automated nature of the system, it seems less above board that Google chooses to retain the takings from these ads. A company spokesman said that Google's "aim is to create a simple and efficient way for legitimate businesses to promote and sell their goods and services whilst protecting them and consumers from illicit activity." However, the BBC's findings suggest Google isn't entirely proactive in this goal.