Call On Google To Ban Misleading Edreams Adverts After Banning Ads For Payday Loans

12 May 2016

“Some ads are for fake or harmful products, or seek to mislead users about the businesses they represent.” 

David Graff, Google Director, Global Product Policy

Ryanair, Europe’s favourite airline, today (12 May) welcomed Google’s ban on payday loans and called on Google to extend this ban to include deceptive ads for eDreams, which continues to mislead consumers by passing itself off as Ryanair.

From July, Google will ban ads for payday loans and related products from its advertising systems in a change it says is “designed to protect our users from deceptive or harmful financial products”.

Screenscraper website eDreams/Opodo has been allowed by Google to use the misleading subdomains “www.Ryanair.eDreams.com” and “www.Ryanair.Opodo.com”, and copycat websites with identical Ryanair branding, in order to deceive consumers into visiting the eDreams and Opodo websites, and booking at inflated fares with hidden fees, or fares which simply don’t exist.

Ryanair launched Irish High Court proceedings against both eDreams and Google last December, in an effort to stop them misleading consumers by advertising false Ryanair fares. Ryanair has also repeatedly written to Google at the highest levels (including Google Exec. Chairman Eric Schmidt) enclosing hundreds of complaints by real customers who have been misled by eDreams false advertising on Google, and yet Google has failed/refused to take any action to prevent this deceptive advertising.

The UK Advertising Standards Authority has already ruled that eDreams advertising on Google was “misleading” consumers and breached the CAP code, after reviewing a series of complaints from consumers who were deceived by eDreams masquerading as Ryanair and Easyjet. Ryanair believes that Google has allowed this advertising because it directly boosts the number of “click-throughs” on Google’s paid-for advertising search engine, thereby maximising Google’s advertising revenues at the expense of consumers.

Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said:

“It’s incredible that Google have announced that from July, they will ban misleading adverts for payday loans, yet repeatedly ignore calls to ban adverts by eDreams/Opodo, which the UK Advertising Standards Authority have already ruled are misleading.

Google’s own Global Product Policy Director, David Graff, yesterday warned that some Google adverts are “for fake or harmful products, or seek to mislead users about the businesses they represent” and referred to Google’s “extensive” set of policies to “keep bad ads out of our systems”. Yet eDreams continues to advertise Ryanair fares that do not exist, hitting unsuspecting consumers with hidden fees.

Google has confirmed it disabled more than 780 million ads in 2015 and is clearly aware of this misleading advertising, because Ryanair has brought it to its attention at every level within the organisation. We believe that Google has thus far failed to block this misleading advertising, precisely because it boosts Google’s advertising revenues by actively misleading consumers into believing they are booking tickets on Ryanair and/or other websites when in fact they are booking on a third party website.

We again call on Google to delist eDreams until all references to Ryanair have been removed from the eDreams advertising. It’s high time Google stopped talking from both sides of their mouths and put an end to this misleading advertising, which both eDreams and Google are profiting from.”