Microsoft is making a policy change on its search engine Bing as part of a effort to combat drug and alcohol addiction (via Search Engine Land). To do this, the company will require certification from LegitScript for all advertisers running ads on Bing for addiction recovery centers. In addition, the company will no longer allow lead generators for those services.
Bing's search engine competes primarily with Google's, and the decision puts it in line with the search giant's service, which already requires advertisers to be certified though LegitScript per their healthcare and medicines policy. Microsoft says it is continuing to evaluate its policies to "help insure a safe and engaging experience for all of its users," as mentioned on their Bing Ads blog post. "Drug and alcohol addiction are serious and sensitive topics, especially for those affected by the addiction either directly, or indirectly. Our users deserve the most helpful results we can offer when they are searching for addiction recovery assistance for themselves or a loved one."
Microsoft says its change will take affect in the middle of March as part of their pharmacy and health care products and services policy. This will give existing organizations and advertisers ample time to make the necessary changes to their ads, or those wishing to advertise in the future to get certification early.