Microsoft Bing Bans Predatory, Scammy PC Tech Support Ads
We've all seen shady pitches to sell software and services that purport to fix our PCs, restore system performance, recover lost passwords, and so forth. The problem is many of them are outright scams. Rather than try to wade through them all and let only the good ones through, Microsoft
has decided to ban all online technical support services from advertising on Bing.
Microsoft's concern is over the "serious quality issues that can impact user safety," which is a polite way of calling scam services out on their shenanigans. There is no magic software elixir to turn a dilapidated PC into a smoking fast hotrod, and unfortunately there are many third-party tech support services that outright lie about their product. If a scammer can convince a user to grant remote access to their PC, they can install malware and wreak all kinds of havoc.
"Ad or site content that tries to mislead site visitors threatens customer safety. Microsoft bans such content, including what can be reasonably perceived as being deceptive, fraudulent or harmful to site visitors," Microsoft's new Bing Ad policies state. "Examples include: unsubstantiated claims, free offers or price promises, misleading ads and promotion of third party products and services."
Microsoft's also placing restrictions on how free offers and price promises can be worded. For example, ads and landing pages are not allowed to claim a price of $9.99 when the true price is $9.99 per month. They also can't charge money for products or services that are widely available elsewhere on the web for free.
The policy update brings some parity to Bing with Google, the latter of which has been seen as tougher on these types of ads. Microsoft will probably hear an outcry from legitimate services that are affected by this, but the alternative is to try and differentiate between a legitimate offer and one that's a scam, which is no easy task.