Olympic Ticket Touts Making Google Money Through its Adwords System

By Gary Cutlack on at

Google has admitted that it's Adsense/Adwords money generating machine has once again been doing things it shouldn't, with ads for Olympic tickets, cannabis and fake ID cards found to be populating its network search results.

A complaint from a user who found the site "LiveOlympicTickets" in the sponsored section above a Google search kicked off this latest investigation into Google's ad-selling practises, with a lady called "Liz" clicking on the sponsored ad and spending £750 on buying a couple of tickets to take in the 1500m final.

Liz, said: "It was a sponsored ad at the top of the page, so we presumed it was a trusted official site, and we spent £750 on two tickets for my mum and dad to see the 1500m, which is what my dad really wanted."

Although Google has since removed the ads in question at the request of the police, the company says it plans to keep the money earned -- despite the fact that unofficially reselling Olympic tickets is now a criminal act here in the UK.

In its defence, Google trotted out the usual line that it can't police the automated ad network, saying: "While Google AdWords provides a platform for companies to advertise their services, we are not responsible for, nor are we able to monitor the actions of each company." [BBC]