When it comes to the technology giants’ attitude towards the cryptocurrency industry, it seems that all hell broke loose. The leading social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat have all banned crypto and ICO ads, thus blocking the industry from accessing circa three billion people. Last week, Mailchimp, the global email marketing giant, has also voiced its intention to prevent its users from sending emails promoting crypto services and ICOs.
But probably the most dramatic move in what industry members are calling “the crypto purge” is the Google AdWords ban. This move, revealed first by Finance Magnates and to become effective in June, has sent industry members into a frenzy. Google AdWords is not “just another advertising channel,” it’s world’s largest online display advertising network.
So, now that the dust has settled and the CMOs have recovered from the bomb dropped by the technology behemoth, it’s time to look back in order to better understand this dramatic decision. But it’s also a time to assess what the industry can do now to spread the word and reach its audience.
We reached out to several executives and marketing experts from the cryptocurrency space to get their view on the aftermath of this recent decision.
Do you think Google’s decision could have been more targeted and moderate, rather than a “blanket ban” for the entire industry?
Egor Gurjev, the CEO of Playkey, believes that Google went too far. “Part of the issue is discerning which crypto companies are operating with complete legitimacy and which are a money-making scheme or ‘scam’. Obviously it would be best if the ban could only be placed on the latter, but by making it a ‘blanket ban’ it would seem they are working under the principle that it is better to be safe than sorry.”
“Banning all advertisement is a very rash decision and could adversely affect these companies’ ability to build sold [sic] client base and inform customers of new offerings. Though it might have taken more time to filter through advertisements, Google could have limited the ban to unknown ICOs or websites that have a history of dishonest business practices. This is a step in the wrong direction for innovation,” says Roman Guelfi-Gibbs, the CEO of Pinnacle Brilliance Systems Inc.
A different point of view is voiced by David Drake’s, CEO and Founder of LDJ Capital and The Soho Loft (a global distribution media company): “I think Google was warranted to do a blanket ban, because there are scamming ICOS out there and it would perpetually increase in liability for Google by having these fraudulent and boarder line ICO’s may or may not be breaking the laws in the US. I agree with what they did. This was the right thing.”
“Unfortunately, there is no middle of the road solution here. The only halfway would mean Google would have to vet and conduct due diligence on ICOs and I am sure they don’t have the desire or expertise to do so,” adds William Skelley, the Co-Founder of William Christopher, a crypto-funding agency
Ben Way, the CEO of Digits.io, continues along these lines: “I think it is unsurprising they did a blanket ban, it’s very hard for a large organization to separate out a Bad Crypto from Good Crypto….they will probably slowly reintroduce over time as they get more comfortable with it.”
Some people claim that the straw that broke the camel’s back was scammy ICOs. Do you agree?
Gurjev agrees: “it would seem that the issue of scam ICOs certainly played a part. It would be fair to say that over half of crypto projects we see come to light are a scam, due to the lack of regulation in the space.”
He also quoted Scott Spencer, Google’s director of sustainable ads, saying that it “hints” to the company’s reasoning for the action: “as consumer trends evolve, as our methods to protect the open web get better, so do online scams.”
“That sounds to be the likely cause of this knee-jerk reaction,” says Guelfi-Gibbs, who thinks that Google’s decision is far less profound and thought-through.
Why did Google decide to put crypto in the same box as binary options and forex/CFD affiliates?
Skelley thinks that Google just chose the easiest option, without giving too much thought to differentiate the industries: “just dump them into a bucket that has a bad reputation. Unfortunately, there are some bad apples in every bunch.”