ICO’s – Life After Adwords

The sky is falling. The end is nye. The apocalypse is upon us. Que the dramatics – Google is banning ICO ads. Breathe. Now, just reconfigure – restrategize – reformulate. If you have a great, legitimate project, it should all be ok.

You planned, you brainstormed, you waited to launch your ICO and now one of the best gateways to the eyes of investors – Google Adwords – is shutting down ICO ads. They are following Facebook, as is Twitter, in banning ICO ads due to many ICO ad campaigns being – “frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”

As of this writing, March 2018 BAB – Before Adwords Ban, you still have two months to launch your ICO campaign and have Adwords access. Google Adwords is still one of the best traffic sources for ICO’s. From search to display – Google is a one dashboard source of building ads and targeting huge geographic areas. Google Display campaigns have lower CPC (cost per click) than Google search and other paid advertising venues including banner ads on the highest Alexa ranked ICO/Blockchain websites.


What happens in June?

Now that the big reach, ad platforms are banning ICO ads you need to reformulate your marketing strategy.

June 2018 AA – After Adwords

Great marketing will be more important than prior to June 2018 BAB


ICO websites tend to have a distinct look and layout that most ICO’s follow. A great ICO website stands out when the ‘just’ of the ICO is right there, top of the page and stated clearly. What is your product and what real world problem will it solve? Why is it awesome? Make it clear and precise. I shouldn’t have to read a thirty-page white paper to figure out exactly what you are trying to build and why.

Beyond looking awesome and futuristic, and clearly stating your objectives with well written content, your website needs to be fast. Google has announced that as of July 2018, page speed will become a ranking factor in search. Google suggests site speeds below 2 to 3 seconds. You can check your website’s web performance at Google’s Page Speed Insights to see what Google suggests to increase the performance of your website.

Think SEO from the beginning of your website design. Your URL’s need to be easily crawlable and should describe as closely as possible what your website/ICO is about. Keep URL’s under 100 characters, use keywords but don’t keyword stuff and separate words with dashes instead of underscores. Carefully craft your headings and meta descriptions using a well thought out keyword strategy. Keep it precise, inviting, conversational and use primary keywords without keyword stuffing.

Consider the emerging importance of Voice Recognition Search when writing your website content. More and more people are using personal digital assistants to get information from the internet. They ask questions in a regular, conversational way, for example – ‘what is the best ICO to invest in?’ instead of entering into a search bar ‘best ico’. You need your website content to answer the questions being asked the way a human would respond – ‘the best ICO to invest in is (insert name of ICO here).’ To make sure you are making the best SEO effort for your website look at Schema markup, xml & video sitemaps and perform a mobile SEO audit.


Banner ads are going to get MORE expensive on, the already costly, ICO calendar listings and cryptocurrency websites. If they don’t charge for calendar listings now, after the Google Adwords ban takes effect, June 2018 AA, they will. Ad spend, once used on Adwords, will be redirected to industry websites like CoinTelegraph, TokenMarket, ICOAlert, CoinSchedule, CoinGecko, CoinStaker, and other websites and forums.


Having a presence on Reddit and Bitcointalk BAB (Before Adwords Ban) was already important  but now it’s UBER important. You may want to get started building karma, etc on Reddit and Bitcointalk as soon as it looks like your project is starting to come together if not sooner. Also check out BitcoinGarden.org and http://forum.bitcoin.com.


Team members and advisors should have active LINKEDIN profiles and be active in various online groups and communities. Source your advisors carefully and make sure that not only are they are credible but that they will actively promote your project. Many advisors are just ‘paid for’ and don’t even vet the projects they are advisors on. They just want to get paid. It’s unfortunate because it casts an additional cloud over an already spotty industry due to proliferation of elaborate scams. Find advisors that truly believe in your project and will want to talk about it any chance they get. It will be interesting to see if and when, there will be a rise, in the importance of verifiable, American Advisors. Due to US federal regulations Americans have more risk.

A public statement from the SEC titled Statement on Cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings by SEC Chairman Jay Clayton states –
“I also caution market participants against promoting or touting the offer and sale of coins without first determining whether the securities laws apply to those actions. Selling securities generally requires a license, and experience shows that excessive touting in thinly traded and volatile markets can be an indicator of “scalping,” “pump and dump” and other manipulations and frauds. Similarly, I also caution those who operate systems and platforms that effect or facilitate transactions in these products that they may be operating unregistered exchanges or broker-dealers that are in violation of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.”

Also posted on Nov. 1, 2017, the SEC urged caution around celebrity backed ICO’s. A statement by the SEC Division of Enforcement and SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations states“Any celebrity or other individual who promotes a virtual token or coin that is a security must disclose the nature, scope, and amount of compensation received in exchange for the promotion. A failure to disclose this information is a violation of the anti-touting provisions of the federal securities laws. Persons making these endorsements may also be liable for potential violations of the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws, for participating in an unregistered offer and sale of securities, and for acting as unregistered brokers. The SEC will continue to focus on these types of promotions to protect investors and to ensure compliance with the securities laws.”

Does this mean American advisors and team members have more skin in the game as opposed to those from countries where there is no accountability and it is easier to ‘disappear’?


It’s not what you know but who you know.

There is networking in industry arenas and then, there is networking in investor circles. The right investor is a great gateway to more investors. If you have a great project you only need one great connection to get the ball rolling. Ask around, ask for introductions, research VC’s, Angels and investors that have participated in successful ICO and or blockchain developments.


Is this statement too obvious? There are many ICO’s. How is yours different? Is it a blockchain product? Does it need a token? What world problem are you solving? Is someone else already doing something similar? Prior to Google banning ICO ads, the ICO landscape was already getting more competitive as investors were getting more savvy in distinguishing good projects from bad. What sets your project apart?
The sky is not falling. The end is not nye. The apocalypse is not upon us. If you have a great, legitimate, blockchain project and you’ve been sitting on the fence about it – it’s time to get off the fence.

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