Google is learning what all neighborhood cops know. If you shoo away the baddies from one block, they'll just come back after you leave.
The Digital Citizens Alliance, a consumer coalition, is once again calling out Google for profiting from the promotion of illegal activity on YouTube.
Although Google took steps to remove thousands of illegal videos featuring prescription drug purchasing, financial scams like fake IDs, counterfeit consumer goods or pirated content following DCA's first report in June 2013, many of the offending videos are back. And right next to the incriminating videos are ads from some of the nation's biggest brands, like Disney and NBC.
If Google can draw the line with porn and vulgarity, why not illegal activities, the DCA asked in its report.
"Google has to start acting like the great company they claim to be and make Internet safety a priority," said Tom Galvin, DCA's executive director. "Just like after our first investigative report, we expect YouTube to take these videos down and the ads to go away almost instantly, but that is actually evidence of the problem, not the solution."
For example, ads for Disney's Frozen and a Walgreen's ad for Align, a probiotic supplement, appear next to a video on how to hack an ATM machine.
Next to a video about how to generate a fake credit card number sits an ad for Audi.
A ShareFile ad is next to a video on how to buy a fake passport.
Ads for NBC's coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics and ShareFile appeared next to a video on how to buy oxycontin and other prescription drugs without a prescription.
Google is no stranger to accusations that it makes it easy to steal content. Next to a video, "how to upload full movies on YouTube without copyright" is a Sony ad promoting The Monuments Men.
According to a new survey released by DCA, consumers want Google to do more to clean up its video channel, with 88 percent agreeing that Google has a responsibility to make the Internet safe.
"We take user safety seriously and have guidelines that prohbit any content encouraging dangerous, illegal activities. This includes content promoting the sale of drugs," Google said in a statement. "YouTube's review teams respond to videos flagged for our attention around the clock, removing millions of videos each year that violate our policies. We also have stringent advertising guidelines, and work to prevent ads appearing against any video, channel or page once we determine that the content is not appropriate for our advertising partners."