Can you hear that?
That's the sound of another victory in the substance abuse treatment industry's war against unscrupulous marketing practices.
According to a number of sources including an article released by the New York Times on Sept. 14, 2017, Google is going to begin restricting advertising services in regards to the addiction treatment industry.
In recent years, it has become common knowledge that our country has become plagued with an Addiction epidemic. It is also no secret that in response to this epidemic, thousands's of unscrupulous business owners have opened up various treatment centers, call-centers, and referral services in the United States trying to capitalize on the suffering of others.
Understanding that most potential addiction patients are utilizing the Google Search bar to research and find treatment, Google Ad services has quickly become one of the most commonly used and competitive marketing practices for those in the treatment industry.
Using massive million dollar budgets and deceptive ad creative, many referral companies were using google ad's as an opportunity to funnel people into treatment centers in exchange for fees. These programs and/or referral services were out-bidding real, ethical treatment centers on words such as "drug rehab" or "alcohol treatment" and then directing these people to treatment centers that were paying per lead or per call under the guise of "best fit for the patient."
This week Google is finally acknowledging the problem after numerous complaints have come in and thanks to the advocating done by the co-founder of the non-profit, Facing addiction.
“We found a number of misleading experiences among rehabilitation treatment centers that led to our decision,” Google spokeswoman Elisa Greene said in a statement on Thursday.
Some of these programs or services are also suggesting an edit on a treatment center's google business accounts and then proceeding to successfully change the centers listed phone number to one that leads to a call center or a different program entirely.
The New York Times describes one particular area where Evolutions Treatment Center has faced unequal competitors (no real doctors, facilities...): "online marketers use Google search terms to essentially hijack the good name and reputation of notable treatment providers only to route the caller to the highest bidder." We look forward to being able to stand on equal ground with other accredited and professional medical rehab treatment centers that do exist in Ft. Lauderdale and other areas of Florida.
As previously mentioned, I consider this a victory. Treatment centers like Evolutions Treatment Center pride themselves on providing a no smoke and mirrors approach to marketing. As the governing agencies (and I'm including Google as a governing agency) continue to crack down on deceptive marketing practices of these unscrupulous actors, programs that are practicing ethically and providing real substance abuse treatment are going to flourish. As a result of these programs flourishing, the patients they are treating will also begin to flourish and hopefully we can get one step closer to ending this horrid epidemic we find ourselves in.
To Speak to an Admissions Representative at Evolutions Treatment Center, Please call 954-915-7444.