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Opinion

We try not to run iffy ads; we don’t always succeed

Update--The very webpage that this column is displayed on has yet another iffy hair-growth product in a Google ad next to it as I write this at 11 A.M.! We're trying to take it down, but that involves a delay of several hours.

Please don't think that we endorse all the products that show up as Google ads on our site. In fact, every time we report on a product that is making unsubstantiated claims, Google "sees" the name of the product and posts an ad for it!

Google serves up different ads for different users so the HNF staff may not see the same ones you see. That makes it harder for us to police the ads.

If you find any objectionable ads on our site, please click through to the site, copy the address (URL) and send it to Mary Frederick, our marketing director. She can take steps to delete it. 


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We took down an ad on Monday, only a few hours after it appeared on our site.

It was revenue we needed. But our policy is that we don’t run ads for products or services that make unproven claims.

For example, we wouldn’t run an ad for a dietary supplement that claimed it would prevent or cure a disease.

In this case, the ad was for a helmet that supposedly grows hair on bald spots through the use of red laser lights.

I had received an e-mail promotion for the helmets a few days ago. Normally I delete such e-mails, but something made me send it on to the press office at the Food and Drug Administration.

One of the officers there said the machines used in the treatments had been flagged as unapproved when they were sent in from Germany.

It’s possible that the helmets in the ad actually DO grow hair; anything’s possible. But it seems highly suspect. In any event, the FDA says the promoters need to prove it works before making such claims.

The helmet promotion came to Health News Florida through Google Ad Sense, which acts as a go-between for advertisers and Internet sites. We are likely to get ads from the service that have to do with health and insurance products.

That means we will occasionally get ads that promote unproven products. As soon as we see such an ad on our site, we will take it down.

Some things matter more than money.

--Carol Gentry, Editor, can be reached at 727-410-3266 or by e-mail.