The decision is similar to a recent announcement from Google's advertising division that said the service would no longer allow short-term “Payday” loan ads to appear on the network.
“Bing Ads disallows the promotion of third party online technical support services to consumers because of serious quality issues that can impact end user safety.”
While a Payday loan ad and a tech support ad are very different in content, they are two of the most popular type of ads, and unfortunately are two of the most exploited. The internet is lettered with ads offering tech support services, examples of which may be:
“Try ‘X' software to fix known PC issues”
“Protect your PC today!”
The vast majority of tech support ads are scams. At best they may be dressed to look like an official Microsoft (or other major company) advertisement and simply wants the click to generate income. At worse these ads are harboring viruses and other type of malware and will infect a machine or try to get user information.
Bing's new policy states:
“Advertisers may not promote online technical support to consumers for products or services that the advertisers do not directly own,” the policy states, using a third-party Skype Customer Care ad (above) as an example.
“Advertisers must not claim to provide a service that can only be provided by the actual owner of the products or service advertised.”
Of course, this is not good news for those offering legitimate services, and in that respect Microsoft's approach is perhaps drastic. The unfortunate fact is that many of these ads are nefarious, so a heavy handed approach is necessary.
It is unclear at the moment if Bing and Google will swap bans, with Microsoft also banning Payday loan ads and Google banning tech support ads. What is clear is that the two leading online ad networks are clamping down on what can be advertised on their services.