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Elizabeth Boskey, Ph.D.

False Advertising

By April 9, 2010

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One of the big problems with sponsored advertising is that there isn't nearly enough regulation of what is and isn't included in the listings. I personally find this incredibly frustrating because it means that advertisements for fake STD cures show up all over my site... even on my article about recognizing such fake cures! Although I recognize that it's hard to regulate false advertising claims on the Internet, I still feel like it should at least be possible to do something to stop their promotion. Unfortunately, this is a problem that it's hard for individuals to do anything about, since Google serves the ads based on keywords and the site owner doesn't have any control over what does and doesn't show up.

That's why I was so excited to read about a Maryland attorney general who is taking a stand against fake cure ads for STDs. His office reports that he's convinced Google to prohibit "miracle cure" ads for herpes and hepatitis B, which is certainly a big step in the right direction. There are hundreds of thousands of people who would do just about anything if they could find cures for these diseases, and it's far too easy for immoral companies to prey on their fears and hopes. Maybe this change will make doing so just a little bit harder.

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