Another hustle. Google steps in. (Thank you, Google.)

It’s the kind of thing that 99.9% of people would never know, but addiction treatment related keywords have long been the most expensive keywords in Google AdWords. By far.

There are treatment programs with, say, 80 beds that have 100 websites. Some identify the provider, most do not.

A few years back I published a post about some of these practices. It’s so bad that it’s difficult to get your head around because there are so many hustles at so many levels.

At any rate, Google decided to do something about it. (Good for them, particularly since I imagine this was pretty lucrative for Google.)

Around the country today, marketers in the $35 billion addiction treatment industry woke up to an unpleasant surprise: Many of their Google search ads were gone. Overnight, the search giant has stopped selling ads against a huge number of rehab-related search terms, including “rehab near me,” “alcohol treatment,” and thousands of others. Search ads on some of those keywords would previously have netted Google hundreds of dollars per click.

“We found a number of misleading experiences among rehabilitation treatment centers that led to our decision, in consultation with experts, to restrict ads in this category,” Google told The Verge in a statement. “As always, we constantly review our policies to protect our users and provide good experiences for consumers.”

Google is the biggest source of patients for most treatment centers. Advertisers tell Google how much they want to spend on search ads per month, which keywords they’d like those ads to run against, and then pay Google every time someone clicks on their ad.

Thanks to Greg Williams for bringing it to their attention.