Google is pulling addiction treatment center ads worldwide

As addiction rates for illicit drugs has skyrocketed in the United States, many turned to Google to try and find places where they can find help — only to run into new issues. An entire industry has emerged online to advertise addiction treatment centers through the search engine, sometimes using deceptive tactics. Now, TechCrunch is reporting that Google is putting its global rehab advertising efforts on hold.

Last year, a Verge report examined some companies used Google to take advantage of the its business listings to deceive addicts looking for care. Following that report, Google pulled ads against a number of rehab-related terms.

Last week, London’s Sunday Times reported (via TechCrunch) that Google profited from similar lead generation companies in the UK, paying the search giant “as much as £200 each time someone accesses their website with a single click on the advertised link at the top of a Google search page.” As it had in the US, Google pulled ads in the UK following the report, saying in a statement that it was extending the US suspension to the UK while it consults with experts.

Now, Google has opted to extend that suspension further, pulling ads globally, according to a statement provided to TechCrunch:

This is a complex issue with varying degrees of regulation in different countries, which is why we’ve decided to suspend ads in the entire addiction treatment center category globally while we consult with experts to find a better way to connect people with the treatment they need.

The Verge has reached out to Google for comment, and we’ll update this post if we hear back.

Comments

Am I dense or does this article not explain the problem? I got that some companies were being deceptive, but not how. Maybe a single example of what happened?

It’s linked to an article written earlier last year. Basically, they charge them obscene amounts for their services.

Supply and demand, ad service is a Ebay style bidding process, you set your maximum and decide if you want to increase it to obtain a higher sponsored results ranking… Where’s the issue? Google doesn’t set the prices, the people buying the ad placements do.

… no, they’re not talking about how much is being charged for the ads. They’re talking about deceptive pricing for the "addiction services."

During Football in the US the ads are usually pretty mainstream. But an ad for a Treatment Center keeps coming on and it is almost comical in how manipulative and aggressive it is.

It’s the kind of thing you’d see on a Satire show but it seems legitimate. I’d be very surprised if that isn’t some kind of awful scam. Freaky stuff.

That outdated looking ad on ESPN during Monday’s Night Football, right?

This article is full of holes.

These places are structured in a way that makes relapse inevitable. Why would they want you to get better? That would mean you’d stop paying them? Duh. Sometimes they trade one addiction (one that may possibly kill you without intervention) for another (one that will certainly kill you if you stop taking it for any reason)…just because they get paid more to prescribe the certain death pill than they would if they just treated you for your regular addiction.

These places are structured in a way that makes relapse inevitable. Why would they want you to get better? That would mean you’d stop paying them? Duh. Sometimes they trade one addiction (one that may possibly kill you without intervention) for another (one that will certainly kill you if you stop taking it for any reason)…just because they get paid more to prescribe the certain death pill than they would if they just treated you for your regular addiction. (See Dollars For Docs)

Well ironically at the bottom of this article- which I linked to through Google news- was an add for a 30 day rehab. And, IMHO that is the problem as if someone is dealing with addiction they probably have some deep issues to sort out and I’m sorry 30 days or even 60 or 90 just isn’t long enough. Sure if someone had an injury then got physically addicted to opioid type pain meds then maybe 60 days, but someone who is mentally addicted to drugs that timeline just isn’t enough. Often people need to unravel a lifetime of issues and in order to do that it takes time, more like a year if not longer. I think that is the point missing…

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