In somewhat surprising but not unwelcome news in some aspects, Google has recently banned Adwords customers from bidding on generally all rehab keywords. Recent media articles include a major expose by The Verge apparently helped trigger the ban along with multiple complaints from some of the more upstanding participants in this space.
As just one rehab patient can generate hundreds of thousands of revenue due to government requirements that insurance customers are covered, there is fierce fighting over potential patients.
in 2016 a Palm Beach County just found that criminals used Google’s search results to sign up addicts at substandard treatment facilities which were designed more to make money than cure a patient’s addiction.
The chart below shows the extremely high per click ad costs that rehab centers were willing to pay:
Many of the advertisers on Google were portraying themselves as treatment centers however were in fact call centers or lead gen sites brokering the patients to the highest bidders.
Google recently has taken steps to remove rehab ads due to these issues and released this statement:
“After conducting a thorough review and consulting with experts, we found a number of misleading experiences that led to our decision to restrict ads entirely in this category until we can find a better way to connect those that need help to reputable treatment centers.”
Some industry participants have described nefarious steps some have resorted to including hacking legit rehab centers websites and hijacking rehab centers Google My Business (GMB) listings and changing their phone numbers to that of the patient brokers.