Ads for facilities like Los Angeles Best Rehab will be coming back to Google’s pages, as the company has rescinded its hiatus on them, but with a catch. The only ads that’ll be popping up in Google will be from rehab facilities that pass an independent background checks, as per Google’s mandate.
According to Google’s Senior Director of Global Product Policy, David Graff, the company works to help reliable healthcare providers of all stripes to establish themselves online and connect to anyone who might be in need of their assistance. He adds that substance abuse is a growing problem, one that has led to deceptive maneuvers by unsavory actors.
To counteract this, Google will be teaming up with Oregon-based LegitScript, a company that handles verification and monitoring to filter out legitimate pharmacies and rehab centers like Los Angeles Best Rehab from the counterfeits and scammers. The company is currently putting together a new certification program, designed for use with drug and alcohol treatment providers, which include criminal background checks. This program will be used on potential advertisers on Google AdWords, and only those that pass can purchase ad spots.
LegitScript says that acquiring approval won’t be too costly, as the application fee will only cost $995, pass or fail, while the annual fee for continued certification will clock in at $1,995/year. According to CEO John Horton, the company is excited about this new program, which he considers a natural extension of the work the company has done in the past to alleviate the problem of rogue internet pharmacies, which has been attributed to prescription drug abuse, among other issues.
The Southern California News Group spent a whole year studying the addiction industry, discovering the myriad of issues that steal millions from pockets, both public and private, across the country. Google ads have been criticized for allowing such a problem to pass by unnoticed, at least where their ads are concerned. As such, many are seeing this new precaution by Google as a good step forward.
Activists have pointed out that, as the US’s #1 addiction treatment referrer, Google has a responsibility to the vulnerable that browse their sites.
Graff has stated that the problem is a complex one to tackle, by he believes that this cooperation with LegitScript is a good way to start.