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Prescription Drugs Online? Google Cracks Down on Faux Pharmacies

by | Addiction, Alcohol and Drugs, Latest News, Life

Home Addiction Prescription Drugs Online? Google Cracks Down on Faux Pharmacies

Google is just as tired of seeing “Get 30 days worth of Xanax here!” and “Free shipping on any prescription drugs!” in the sidebar alongside legitimate sponsored listings as I am. Well, apparently Google’s stepping up to the plate and suing alleged pharmaceutical distributors of non-prescription drugs. I’m skeptical of their capacity to identify all of the rogue pharmacies that use Google’s brand and goodwill to boost their sketchy credibility, though. Many of the brains behind the drug hoaxes aren’t above weaseling their way back into Google listings, employing any and all tactics possible. When Google tried tightening the reins on specifications for sponsored listings in the past, their attempts were met with equal effort on behalf of illegal drug companies to snake their way around the rules. Subsequently, the problem persists despite Google’s best efforts.
In general, Google’s strategy for dealing with advertisers is very hands-off. Their approach is impersonal in nature most likely by necessity — sponsors sign up for Google listings from all over the world. It would be unfeasible for Google to try and handle client relations on a personal basis. Instead of continuing to crack down on eligibility requirements for sponsored listings, they might want to consider setting up more disclaimers that many advertisers are out of their immediate control. If the company looks good on paper and skates through the requirements process, Google should theoretically be waived of liability if the company turns out to be a money-grubbing refuge for crooks.
Google executives have another goal in mind, however. Undoubtedly they hope that by publicly engaging in the cat-and-mouse game against online criminals, they’ll win brownie points from the government. Not only will the crack-down campaign better Google in the eyes of the Obama administration, “the lawsuit could also help Google reduce its liability exposure if one of these vendors gets criminally prosecuted and it comes to light that they marketed their products using AdWords,” Goldman said. AdWords is Google’s branch of sponsored listings for which companies pay a hefty price and compete for coveted top spots.
Historically, Google has handled rogue pharmaceutical companies by paying them off under the radar and handled most of their cases out of the court room. Thus, the notion that Google’s trying to boost its goodwill in terms of the government’s perspective on them as an asset to society is reinforced by the fact that they’re taking action to the next level despite alternate options. I go back and forth as to whether Google should adopt a “user-beware” mantra, or whether they should be more accountable for AdWords and sponsor relationships. The more they crack down on bogus advertisers, the more they risk deterring legitimate candidates for sponsored listings who don’t feel like filling out extensive forms just for a possible click. They may lose more customers and gain less goodwill than anticipated out this process. At the end of the day, only time will tell.