Another story the mainstream media have blown out of proportion? Who'd have thought? ;)
Google profits from illegal advertising !1!!1!eleventy!
From that now infamous BBC News article by Adrian Goldberg:
Google is profiting from ads for illegal products generated by its flagship automated advertising system, the BBC has found.
The ads include unofficial London 2012 Olympics ticket resellers, as well as cannabis and fake ID card sellers.
Fortunately however, Adrian concedes:
These ads were promptly removed by Google after the BBC brought them to the company’s attention. [..] Google has also taken down links to illegal Olympic ticket resellers following requests from the police.
Hey, wait a minute…
Isn't it interesting that the same people who blast Apple for their uphill battle screening software for the App Store are often the ones who rush to Google's defence for not catching all fraudulent advertising? It's not double standards though, because they don't call it that, and because It's Not Apple So It's Okay™.
I'm free to empathise with Google's position, because I empathise with Apple's. It's impossible for them to catch all illegal advertisements; the sheer volume ensures abuses will get through and the system will be gamed from time to time. The best Google can do is make a sincere effort, and gather feedback. I'm satisfied they're doing this, department store chains notwithstanding.
I also worry any attempts at legislating such behavour would be overbearing, miss the point and/or would end up making things worse. I suppose that's a sliver of libertarian thinking slipping through, wish I were cool and alternative enough to be fully libertarian.