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Google steadily closing net on financial services industry

17 December 2019

A large number of companies in the financial services sector may soon find themselves cut off from Google advertising as the search engine giant rolls out new restrictions and policies, an Auckland agency is warning.

CEO of digital marketing agency Insight Online, Kim Voon, says that the financial services industry already pays far higher rates for Google advertising than most others, but some may soon be outright barred.

"Credit repair is not a big industry in New Zealand, but there are good providers and not so good. Google has recently outright barred them from advertising, with the exception of some countries where companies can apply for exemption -- such as Australia. New Zealand is not one of those countries.

"Other industries dealing with Google restrictions including foreign exchange brokers and the cryptocurrency sector. Even local firms that comply with the Financial Markets Authority requirements can't necessarily advertise."

Voon said for some, Google's actions were a good thing.

"I think cutting out loan sharks would be a good thing because it helps protect a vulnerable sector of the community. However, the problem is that Google is a big machine that casts a wide net and it's inevitable that legitimate and ethical companies will be caught up and disadvantaged.

"Google's most recent restrictions apply to debt settlement, debt management services and credit repair services, but there will be more to come."

Voon says the best way for companies in the financial sector, particularly those operating on the fringe of the industry, should familiarise themselves with current advertising restrictions and keep tabs on Google’s policy updates.

"For many financial firms, Google Ads advertising is their lifeblood and the last thing they can afford is for this to be cut-off overnight -- but it could happen."

He offers the following advice to companies in the finance sector:

1. Familiarise yourself with Googles' current restrictions on financial services.

2. Monitor the situation ongoing because even companies that have so far escaped Google's policy changes could be impacted down the line.

3. Take expert advice on what options are available.

3. Establish channels for appeal and follow through with them.

"Google is big and it is difficult to deal with, but if you are persistent you may find that somebody listens somewhere along the line," Voon says.

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