As reported by Reuters a state-run Chinese TV-station alleged the Chinese search engine Baidu to promote counterfeit drugs [through keyword advertising]. According to People’s Daily Newspaper over 3,000 people have purchased the counterfeit goods. An undisclosed source however reported that the counterfeit websites exploited a loophole in the system, piggybacking on legitimate websites to gain access to buy keywords.
A similar incident in 2008 which concerned the sale of links to unlicensed medical sites with unproven claims for their products caused Baidu’s share to decrease by 40%. The current allegations seem to be of less impact as Baidu’s shares only decreased slightly since the allegations were raised, while Baidu’ share has risen by remarkable 75% since the beginning of the year.
Although widely unnoticed Google provides a stringent AdWords Content Policy, not accepting advertisement for certain kinds of goods & services for certain countries. In Europe Google e.g. does not accept ads for “online pharmacies and prescription drugs“, while allowing “pharmaceutical manufacturers to promote informational sites provided that they do not refer to prescription drugs in the ad text, keywords, landing page, or display URL“.
The violation of AdWord’s policy will lead to a disapproval of ads, account suspension, automated suspension upon set-up of new accounts (ban from Google AdWords).
Google’s AdWords content policy recently caused angry protests after a online dating site for “women in their primes” got banned from AdWords for violating its policy. Interestingly enough when researching today I found that “adult and sexual dating sites” are now listed as acceptable “Adult sexual services”, thus the ads for Cougar Life should already be online again.