Interesting report on SearchEngineLand today. They quote a report by LegitScript and KnujO that reveals that the overwhelming majority of pay per click ads featured on Bing for online pharmacies lead to what official guidelines would term "Rogue" sites.
This controversy has echos of the furore in November 2008 when Baidu was found to be carrying, and in fact favouring, links to bogus hospitals in China.
The report claims that of the online pharmacy ads featured on Bing's adCenter Pay-per-click advertisting system almost 90% were for drug suppliers that fall into the categories of:
- Those that facilitate the sale of prescription drugs, including controlled substances, without requiring a valid prescription.
- Those that sell drugs from sources that are not licensed as a pharmacy in any US jurisdiction.
- Those that illegally source unregulated, unapproved prescription drugs from outside of the United States.
- Those that are otherwise deceptive or misleading.
This study was carried out in the last two months and shows how disreputable companies can simply side-step all the excellent work carried out by the search engine's alogrythms in weeding out sites like this from the natural organic listings.
Interesting this report comes out on the same day that Facebook announced it was tightening up it's advertising guidelines.
A few weeks ago HitSearch were asked to contribute to an ongoing BBC investigation into how the Google adWords listings were being used be bogus ticket agencies. It show the a PPC budget is, in some cases, the perfect shortcut. Whilst it is extremely difficult for disreputable sites to climb to the top of the natural listings without resorting to an expensive, time-consuming black-hat link building campaigns.
Google has always steered clear of allowing sectors such as online pharmaceuticals and adult website to use it's paid search system, Google adWords. Until recently it would not allow any advertising to do with alcohol and gambling however it relaxed these rules in certain geographic areas last year.