Source: Robert Scoble / Flickr

Source: Robert Scoble / Flickr

Google has released its annual “bad ads” report, though they’ve changed the name a bit. Every year Google uses its bad ads report to highlight the efforts they are taking to rid AdWords of scammers, malware, and fraudulent ads. This year, they covered pretty much the same areas but chose to focus on the positive, calling its annual report the “Better Ads Report.”

This year’s report says the search giant disabled over 780 million ads last year for policy violations, up from 524 million ads disabled in 2014, and 350 million ads disabled in 2013.

Google describes “bad ads” as advertisements carrying malware, blocking the visibility of content, promoting fake or illegal goods, or leading to phishing scams. The company used a team of over 1,000 people around to world to constantly fight back against these ads. The majority of the time they are able to block the ads before they are ever seen by regular users.

Google also went in to detail, showing the most common bad ads they encountered in 2015:

  • Counterfeiters: Over 10,000 sites and 18000 accounts were suspended for attempting to sell counterfeit goods (imitation designer watchers for example).
  • Pharmaceuticals: Over 12.5 million ads were blocked for violating Google’s healthcare and medicines policy, such as advertising pharmaceuticals that have not been approved for use or ads that made misleading claims about the effectiveness of prescription drugs.
  • Weight loss scams: Over 30,000 sites were suspended for making weight loss promises that were dishonest and typically impossible to achieve.
  • Phishing: Over 7,000 sites were blocked for attempting to steal user information, aka phishing.
  • Unwanted software: More than 10,000 sites were disabled for forcing unwanted software and unapproved downloads via Google ads.
  • Trick-to-click: Over 17 million ads were rejected for attempting to mislead users to click an ad that would redirect them to unrelated pages.
  • Bad apps:  Google also blocked over 25,000 mobile aps from displaying Google ads due to breaking policies. Approximately 1.4 million apps were rejected from ever being able to display Google ads in the future.

Looking forward, Google says it is going to start cracking down on ads that may lead to accidental clicks. It also says it has developed technology capable of determining when mobile ad clicks are accidental, and will be able to prevent users from being taken to ad sites they didn’t intent to visit.

Google also plans to bolster efforts to cut down on weight loss ads in 2016 by adding additional restrictions on what advertisers can say is effective for weight loss.

View the full report here.


Google recently made it even easier for businesses to maintain and edit their online listings by allowing businesses to directly edit their listing information shown in the knowledge graph without having to visit the Google My Business Dashboard. Google has confirmed a new Knowledge Panel interface allows users to directly edit local listings.


The new feature allows logged in users associated with a business to directly update business information without having to go through to Google My Business Dashboard, however the GMB Dashboard is still needed for updating menus or booking links.

The change was first rumored by Barry Schwartz at SEO Roundtable based on a comment by Gary Illyes at State of Search in mid-November. The first person to report seeing the feature put into action was Prya Chandra on G+.


While the feature is available in the Knowledge Panel and the Local Finder on both desktop and mobile, it is not available through Google Maps. It is likely the feature will eventually make its way into Google Maps in the near future, but there’s no word for now on when to expect that.

The biggest question in the wake of this change is what it means for the future of the Google My Business Dashboard. The dashboard still serves some purpose for business owners who need to update or correct menus and booking listings, but many are seeing this as a sign Google may be moving away from GMB.


Android users will soon be able to install apps to their smartphones directly from Google search results. According to Android Police, Google has begun testing the new feature which will let users bypass the Play Store and directly install an app by performing a Google search.

To try out the feature, open the Google app on any Android phone and search for any app you want to install. Within the Google card, which previously directed users to the Play Store, you will now see an Install button.

If you press the Install button, your phone will ask for the normal permissions that appear with all Play Store app download. If you accept, the app will immediately begin downloading and installing.

The feature hasn’t been rolled out to all Android phones, so there is no guarantee you will be able to directly install the app. Many users are still being directed to the Play Store.

Ryan Whitwam of Android Police speculates the feature is just in testing currently, and will see a wider rollout in the future. He also suggests the feature is likely to be available only in the Google app and not through Chrome.

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Since the launch of polls on Twitter in October, the feature has been a hit. The company recently announced users have cast over 1.7 billion votes to date, and now Twitter is improving the feature by allowing users to set how long they want their polls to last.

When polls were launched, they came with a default lifespan of 24 hours. While this may work for some, a full day can be a long time to expect people to stay interested in one of your Tweets. Now, users can customize their polls to run for much shorter or longer than previously.

Users can now tweak their polls to run anywhere from just 5 minutes to 7 days, allowing you to get instant results or a more comprehensive response.

The move to bolster polls on Twitter couldn’t come at a better time. The feature has been widely adopted and users seem excited to participate. While the change isn’t likely to completely stop Twitter’s stock price from freefalling, it could help please users who are still disgruntled over a rumored upcoming feature which would allow users to share long-form posts on the platform known for its 140 character limit.

Creating a poll works as it always has. The only difference is users will now see a tiny clock icon near the tweet button, which allows you to quickly establish how long you want a poll to run.


Periscope has been gaining popularity as a social live video streaming service, but it has been limited by requiring its own app to join in the fun. Now, the Twitter-owned streaming platform is getting some help by finding a place on one of the largest social platforms available.

Twitter users can now share and promote their Periscope videos directly on their time-line, opening up a huge new audience to the service. Users can embed and view Periscope videos directly in the timeline of Twitter’s iOS app. Just as with the Periscope app, broadcasts can be rewatched for up to 24 hours before automatically vanishing.

Twitter has been struggling to expand their market, as the recent 10,000 character tweet controversy and plummeting stock price shows. The company is most likely hoping this move will help both platforms expand their utility and user base, though only time will tell if that is the case.

The new feature is currently only available through the iOS Twitter app, but Android and web versions are expected in the near future.


The bad news is half or more of your website traffic likely comes from bots. The good news is that is actually a huge improvement from in the past.

A new report from Imperva Incapsula shows that approximately 48.5% of all traffic to websites comes from bots, not actual online users. That number comes from a review of over 19 billion visits to 35,000 Incapsula client websites around the world with a minimum daily traffic count of at least 10 human visitors gathered over a 90 day period in 2015.

According to the data, 51.5% of all Web traffic comes from human users, while 29% come from “bad bots” which automate spam or other malicious activity, and 19.5% came from “good bots” which are used by search engines and other online services.


While this sounds bad, the share of human traffic is actually rising compared to past year. The report explains:

In a similar 2013 study conducted by Imperva, humans made up only 31.5% of all visits to sites, compared with 51.5% in 2015. This shift is mainly due to an increase in human traffic as more people use the Web and a decrease in good bot traffic.


The ratio of bots-to-humans your website receives is likely influenced by how popular your site is, as the most popular sites examined showed the smallest ratio of bot traffic (39.7%). In comparison, the least popular sites included in the traffic had the highest share of bot traffic (85.4%).

No matter what percentage of your traffic comes to bots, the best solution is to continue emphasizing marketing that directly connects with real humans such as social media marketing and PPC.

Source: Shawn Campbell

Source: Shawn Campbell

Rumor has it that Twitter will be extending the character limit of Tweets from 140 characters to upwards of 10,000 characters. The news comes from a report in Recode, which cites multiple sources claiming the longer tweets should be expected by the end of the quarter, but public reaction is mixed at best.

Descriptions of the new feature say the longer tweets wouldn’t clutter up feeds. Instead, up to 140 characters of any tweet will appear in user’s timelines, but a new call to action would allow users to read more.

The sources also say the company is already planning for how users might attempt to spam timelines so they might be able to combat it. For example, there may be limits to the number of other users that can be mentioned in tweets.

Unfortunately for the company, response to the rumor has already been overwhelmingly negative. Many say the 140 character limit has been the defining feature of Twitter and without it there is little to distinguish the platform.

The hashtag #Twitter10k has already taken off as users both mock and lament the rumor. Here is just a sampling of what users are saying:

Given the reaction to the rumor, it is hard to predict whether Twitter will follow through or go back to the drawing board for the next big feature. The best indication will be if we start seeing tests for different character lengths in tweets in the coming month.


As of January 1st, Bing is officially powering AOL’s search results as the result of a long-term deal made by the two companies in June of last year. Rick van der Kooi, Corporate VP of Microsoft Search Advertising announced the change, saying:

“Today, I am excited to share that as of Jan. 1, Bing powers AOL’s web, mobile, and tablet search, providing paid search ads and algorithmic organic search results to AOL’s properties worldwide.”

Van der Kooi also shared some interesting bits of information to help illustrate the scale of the partnership, including:

  • 1 in 5 searches happen on
  • Bing also powers search results for the third largest search provider in the US (Yahoo)
  • With Bing now powering AOL searches, the engine now powers close to one-third of all US PC web searches.

The company looks to gain even more ground by acquiring the built-in audience from AOL, which is responsible for generating billions of search queries a year.

Unlike Bing’s deal with Yahoo, Bing’s will be powering 100% of AOL’s search results across all devices. In the Yahoo agreement, only 51% of Yahoo’s desktop search results are powered by Bing, with no support for mobile.