Google’s Pay Day Loan Advertising Ban: Consumer Advocacy or Censorship?
To date, Bing will not accept advertisements for pay day loans, understood to be loans that may come due within 60 times of origination or with interest levels more than 36%. Customer advocates across the nation and beyond our edges are applauding your choice as one step toward protecting individuals in serious economic straits from “solutions” that more frequently than not place them deeper with debt. Not every person is cheering, however.
Town Financial solutions Association of America (CFSAA), which positions it self as “the only national company committed entirely to marketing responsible legislation associated with the cash advance industry and customer defenses through CFSA’s recommendations,” was quick to condemn Google’s choice. The corporation couldn’t quite decide, though, exactly just what its objection had been. In one single paragraph, the CFSAA statement alleged that Google was disguising a “business choice” as customer advocacy and that “Google kowtows to those activists whose only objective would be to eliminate payday lending.”
Apart from the kowtowing allegation, CFSAA claims that the search giant’s choice had been made to provide an edge that is competitive LendUp, an online payday loan alternative business by which Google’s investment capital arm has spent. It’s not clear just exactly exactly what that advantage should be, because the ban impacts LendUp along side other short-term, high-interest loan providers. The strongest objections come from those who feel Google has too much market share—and thus, too much power—to exercise the type of judgment legally and traditionally left to a private company outside the industry. While an average personal business may pick the people, businesses and companies with which it will company, the argument goes, Google’s 60%+ market share means it wields an excessive amount of impact. Continue reading