My Five #435

Google Ads scams, a metalcore band, and Trump launching his own social media platform (sort of). It’s all in this week’s My Five.

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Five things worth sharing from the last week or so, brought to you by a different member of the Browser Media team every Friday.

This week’s My Five is by Vic.

1. Google Ads fails to stop scams

An investigation by the BBC has revealed that Google Ads has been allowing unscrupulous advertisers to sell goods and services on its platform, including visas and driving licence applications.

These sellers are charging way more than the norm typically for services that can be obtained directly from a government or official provider. Despite these sites being flagged using Google’s reporting tools, the BBC found that ads were still running for costly third-party services, as well as other dodgy sites selling consumer goods.

When asked what it planned to do to rectify this, Google stated:

“We have strict policies that govern the types of ads and advertisers we allow on our platforms. We only allow governments or their delegated providers to advertise for official documents or services.”

It has started to verify advertisers on its platforms this year – which trust me – if you have to go through it, is not simple, and support has been absolutely useless in providing information on why verification has failed.

If your account is pulled up for ID verification, you’ll need the following:

A photo or copy of a document with proof of organisation

Note: The name and country on the proof of organisation document should exactly match the information provided on the form.

Acceptable documents for proof of organisation:

  • Certification of incorporation or registration
  • Trade licence
  • VAT registration certificate
  • DUNS certificate

And:

A photo of the authorised representative’s government-issued photo ID

Note: The name on the ID should exactly match the name of the authorised representative.

Accepted IDs issued by an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland:

  • Passport
  • National ID card
  • Driving licence
  • Residence permit

While I welcome these steps to prevent people being scammed, if Google is going down this route, they need to have far better support in place for advertisers who need to complete ID verification.

2. Papa SEO makes some great points about tech giants

For those of you who don’t know him, Rand Fishkin is kinda a big deal in the world of digital marketing.

This week, he had a presentation rejected on the grounds that it was ‘too critical of Google and Facebook’. Looking at the presentation slides that were rejected, all I see is someone demonstrating that neither company has your best interests at heart when it comes to ‘helping’ with your digital marketing efforts. And this is true – they want to leverage all that lovely personal data they harvest – and they don’t care about their users, as long as they remain loyal, or your business, as long as you keep giving them money.

You can check out the full thread over on Twitter.

3. Trump is back on social media (sort of)

Like a lingering fart, Trump has wafted back online with his new ‘social network’.

The ‘platform’ which is basically just a blog of his ramblings, was launched earlier this week, just one day ahead of the oversight board’s ruling that the former president must remain suspended from Facebook (for now, at least).

If you’ve missed his lunatic ramblings (and I must admit, Twitter has been less interesting without him), you can check out what he has to say, straight from his desk, apparently.

4. No surprises, please

I can’t resist clicking on any image that says ‘open for a surprise’ on Twitter.

The platform cropped images so that you have to click it to expand and see the full picture, and as a result, I have seen a lot of genitals on the platform.

But alas, this week, Twitter announced that on mobile, bigger and better images will be available in the feed.

This is great news for artists and visual content creators, less so for those who want the excitement of the 50/50 chance of the click revealing a cute cat, or a penis, once the image displays full size.

5. Passion economy for the music industry

I am a big supporter of the grassroots music scene, especially when it comes to DIY punk. While I am 100% guilty of using streaming platforms like Spotify, it does absolutely suck how little bands are getting paid for their music. Plus due to the pandemic, in the past year bands have made practically no money from merch and ticket sales, and with venue closures, and Brexit making touring Europe pretty much a no-go, the future isn’t looking all that good, either.

Metalcore band, While She Sleeps, have embraced the passion economy by creating a subscription-based community for their biggest fans, following in the footsteps of successful YouTubers and podcasters. Which in my opinion, is rad.

Excellent caption.

For less than a fiver a month, their fans are given access to a community, priority gig tickets, and exclusive video content. For those who wanna splash the cash and cough up sixty buckaroos a month, you get merch, free entry to gigs, personalised video messages… and can join them at soundcheck to listen to the band moan while they lug all their gear out the van and watch the drummer spend an hour fannying about with their kit, all while drinking a warm can of Red Stripe from the sidelines (probably).

Also, if you do want to support up-and-coming bands, check out Bandcamp Friday while you still can. The platform waives its fees, so the artists get 100% of the revenue generated from sales, but it’s expected to end this month, so be quick!

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