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Google Sues Dodgy Advertisers

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the we-said-don't-be-evil dept.

Google 71

angry tapir writes "Google is at its wit's end dealing with illegal sellers of prescription drugs that market medicines on its ad network, so it has decided to take some of these allegedly rogue advertisers to court. Rogue prescription drug sellers have increased in number and become more sophisticated in their dealings, and 'a small percentage' of them have been able to dodge Google's efforts to block them from running ads on its network, according to the company."

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Hello (-1, Offtopic)

design1066 (1081505) | more than 3 years ago | (#33673858)

First

Wait... (2, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#33673862)

How do I order?

Start Naming Names Why Not? (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33673908)

How do I order?

Talk to Dr. William E. Morrow of Layton, Utah who signed for thousands of prescriptions [cnn.com] that two of Kyle Rootsaert's pharmacies filled. From that article:

CNN's Special Investigations Unit first examined Rootsaert and Roots Pharmacy, the company he owns in American Fork, in 2008. CNN Correspondent Drew Griffin ordered the antidepressant Prozac over the internet without a doctor's prescription, and the pills were delivered by overnight express the following day.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and FBI are very very interested in all of this and as the article notes, Google is quick to show they're on the government's side regarding these pharmacies. Google faces very low risk (alleging breach of AdWords contracts allowing others to back out of contracts) while reducing its liability exposure by way of this lawsuit if any of the 49 "John Doe" owned sites face criminal investigation.

Are they giving up the money they make? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33673882)

It's just a show.

Re:Are they giving up the money they make? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33673914)

Yeah.. they should give back the money to the people they're suing.

Because with any other service providers, of any type, they give back money when the customer violates the terms of service. Oh wait.. they don't. They give you the boot, maybe take you to court, and keep the money.

Maybe you didn't think anything but "ZOMG GOOGLE! MUST BASH THEM!" If only we could put down the rabid trolls...

Re:Are they giving up the money they make? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33673952)

Where'd I post, "Give it BACK", you kneejerk moron.

Get Sergey and Larry's dicks out of your mouth. "Google is Great! Must worship them and suck their dicks!"

Re:Are they giving up the money they make? (2, Funny)

Ultra64 (318705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674090)

So they should give up the money..but not to any one in particular.

Are you retarded?

Re:Are they giving up the money they make? (2, Informative)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674332)

We're not talking about "giving the money back", as in returning it. The OP suggested google was "giving [the money] up", as in no longer accepting it. In stopping this sort of advertiser from posting ads, Google is denying itself a source of revenue.

Re:Are they giving up the money they make? (1)

Ultra64 (318705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674532)

How are they really going to prevent it from happening? They can stop it after they know about it, but they couldn't prevent it without requiring human review of every single ad is created.

Re:Are they giving up the money they make? (1)

Jeffrey_Walsh VA (1335967) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674688)

Spam filters are getting pretty good at identifying ads for pharmaceuticals, without human review of every single ad.

Re:Are they giving up the money they make? (1)

Ultra64 (318705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674892)

That's fine for text, but what about graphical ads?

Re:Are they giving up the money they make? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675614)

One word (sort of...) Captcha

Name any one of those "must prevent robots and low IQ humans too" type in what you see graphic programs and someone will be able to name a counter. Image recognition AI techniques are quite a bit more capable than most would believe.

Re:Are they giving up the money they make? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#33679414)

How are they really going to prevent it from happening? They can stop it after they know about it, but they couldn't prevent it without requiring human review of every single ad is created.

Protip: Every single fucking ad they push through their network SHOULD BE HUMAN-REVIEWED.

Why do you think the fucking internet is so insecure? 99% of all active shitware originates from MALICIOUS ADS.

Re:Are they giving up the money they make? (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#33683214)

Google already scans web pages for malware and bad stuff and warns people "this site could be dangerous".
If they aren't already running the "bad sites" database against the ad database (and blocking any ads that link to or reference content from a bad page) then they should be. Any ad web site that starts serving malware (either deliberatly or because of a hack) would have their ads removed from display until they fix their site to stop serving malware.

Legitimate-but-hacked sites would therefore have an incentive to keep their sites malware free or risk being blocked from Google Ads.

Re:Are they giving up the money they make? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#33688518)

There is a clear conflict of interest.

Google makes money by pushing ads through.
Every ad it rejects, every warning it throws up to users, and every advertiser it cuts off, means less money for Google.

We already know it is ABSOLUTELY NOT the case that:
"Any ad web site that starts serving malware (either deliberatly or because of a hack) would have their ads removed from display until they fix their site to stop serving malware."

Compromised sites are compromised in the first place because of malicious ads. Their incentives to keep clean are protecting the site itself from denial of service/information theft, and keeping users of the site happy.
Indeed, the best way to keep your site safe and secure is to NOT HOST ANY ADS WHATSOEVER.

Re:Are they giving up the money they make? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674704)

Well, what you should do is commit insurance fraud to really test that hypothesis. Then after you've been caught and convicted ask for your money back.

Re:Are they giving up the money they make? (0, Offtopic)

dziban303 (540095) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675604)

Get Sergey and Larry's dicks out of your mouth. "Google is Great! Must worship them and suck their dicks!"

I recently posted something in the Apple channel about fanboys getting Jobs' cock out of their mouths. My post was deleted. I guess it's okay to say the same kind of fellatiatic shit about Gates, Ellison, Brin and Page.

Re:Are they giving up the money they make? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674032)

Because with any other service providers, of any type, they give back money when the customer violates the terms of service. Oh wait.. they don't. They give you the boot, maybe take you to court, and keep the money.

Actually, for any service that's terminated, typically by law you are pro-rated on your payment. For example, I pay car insurance in 6mo increments. When I decided to switch insurers, by law, my former agency was not allowed to keep 5mo of payments. Even if I did something that caused them to terminate my policy. I was pro-rated on 5 of the 6 months I paid, and received a check for that amount.

If only we could put down the rabid idiots.

Re:Are they giving up the money they make? (2, Informative)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675824)

I would bet that if your car insurance was terminated because you torched your car to collect on your policy, the insurance company wouldn't have to refund you any part of your paid premiums.

Re:Are they giving up the money they make? (2, Informative)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677624)

In that case any refunds would get absorbed in fines.

Re:Are they giving up the money they make? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33694210)

In theory, GP is correct.

However, if you commit insurance fraud you're most likely going to be hit with more than enough fines to make up for any refunds the insurance company owes you.

Also, the policy may have a clause that causes forfeiture of unused premiums in the event of fraud.

Re:Are they giving up the money they make? (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697792)

Also, the policy may have a clause that causes forfeiture of unused premiums in the event of fraud.

I'm betting this would be the case, and I'd bet that any law obligating an insurer to reimburse premiums pro rata would have a similar exception. Of course, ymmv.

Request for urgent business relationship (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33673890)

Request for urgent business relationship

First, I must solicit your strictest confidence in this transaction. This is by virtue of its nature as being utterly confidential and 'top secret'. I am sure and have confidence of your ability and reliability to prosecute a transaction of this great magnitude involving a pending transaction requiring maxiimum confidence.

We are top official of the federal government contract review panel who are interested in imporation of goods into our country with funds which are presently trapped in nigeria. In order to commence this business we solicit your assistance to enable us transfer into your account the said trapped funds.

The source of this fund is as follows; during the last military regime here in Nigeria, the government officials set up companies and awarded themselves contracts which were grossly over-invoiced in various ministries. The present civilian government set up a contract review panel and we have identified a lot of inflated contract funds which are presently floating in the central bank of nigeria ready for payment.

However, by virtue of our position as civil servants and members of this panel, we cannot acquire this money in our names. I have therefore, been delegated as a matter of trust by my colleagues of the panel to look for an overseas partner into whose account we would transfer the sum of us$21,320,000.00(Twenty one million, three hundred and twenty thousand u.S dollars). Hence we are writing you this letter. We have agreed to share the money thus; 1. 20% For the account owner 2. 70% For us (the officials) 3. 10% To be used in settling taxation and all local and foreign expenses. It is from the 70% that we wish to commence the importation business.

Please,note that this transaction is 100% safe and we hope to commence the transfer latest seven (7) banking days from the date of the receipt of the following informatiom by tel/fax; 234-1-7740449, your company's signed, and stamped letterhead paper the above information will enable us write letters of claim and job description respectively. This way we will use your company's name to apply for payment and re-award the contract in your company's name.

We are looking forward to doing this business with you and solicit your confidentiality in this transation. Please acknowledge the receipt of this letter using the above tel/fax numbers. I will send you detailed information of this pending project when I have heard from you.

Yours faithfully,

Dr. Clement Okon

Note; please quote this reference number (ve/s/09/99) in all your responses.

No Problem (-1, Offtopic)

design1066 (1081505) | more than 3 years ago | (#33673926)

Buy Viagra at http://www.realpharmacyrx.com/ [realpharmacyrx.com] LOL

Re:No Problem (-1, Offtopic)

design1066 (1081505) | more than 3 years ago | (#33673930)

Gotta love forum spam

Re:No Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674016)

The problem with spam is that there seems to be a market for these products. Maybe if we develop a drug that increases self esteem, viagra won't be needed any more. Oh, wait...

google ads (2, Insightful)

jumpinp (1144189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33673982)

Google's ads have been pointless for a long time. I don't understand how they make as much revenue as they do with ads that no one, or at least not anyone I know clicking on them. The ads are mostly spam and scams. Their text format is bad too. I rarely click on ads but those that I do are usualy non flash banners, or I'll unknowingly read a paid for review. A few key word lines of text doesn't have the click me afpeal that oither ad options do. It is about time they cleaned up their advertisers and made them more relevent.

Re:google ads (1)

jumpinp (1144189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33673988)

I forgot about forum spam. I read a lot of that too.

Re:google ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674038)

...and made them more relevent.

Which is of course another issue that a lot of people have with Google, in that ad relevance is determined by gathering certain types of information about users.

Re:google ads (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674100)

Google's ads have been pointless for a long time.

That maybe your opinion, but it's not the fact.

I don't understand how they make as much revenue as they do with ads that no one, or at least not anyone I know clicking on them.

Because people are clicking on them, and they are anything but pointless and have been for a long time. Your denial doesn't change this fact.

he ads are mostly spam and scams.

That's such a dumb statement that it doesn't even pass the smell test.

Their text format is bad too.

You lost me there.

or I'll unknowingly read a paid for review.

Wait a second... you're clicking on ADVERTISEMENT and you're complaining that what you end up reading was PAID FOR?! /boggle

A few key word lines of text doesn't have the click me afpeal that oither ad options do. It is about time they cleaned up their advertisers and made them more relevent.

Again, you're clearly not either A) the norm or B) an expert on this subject. You're claiming your personal preference/opinion as fact despite your own boggled admission that it couldn't be true because they're making hand-over-fist in money. And you also claim they haven't been trying to 'clean up' their ads which is also a nice fabricated attempted at miss-information. Google has every business reason (and has said so many times in the past) to make sure ads are as effective as possible and as 'clean' as possible (in terms of fake/illegal/scams). If people stop trusting their system, they stop making money and Google has been working endlessly to make sure their ads are relevant and trustworthy.

That, of course, doesn't mean they're going to be effective for the advertiser.

I've tried Google ads for my company several times without seeing much effect. The problem could be what we're trying to sell isn't something that works well with PPC or it could be issues we have with our site and making conversions.

Regardless, as much as I ignore Sponsored Links on search engines, there are plenty of times I give them a quick scan when looking for a specific product.

Just a counter anecdotal to your own.

Re:google ads (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674914)

I have to agree with him tho. No one I know clicks the ads. They click the search results provided by google.

Perhaps it is like telemarketing where they only need less than .10% of the calls to be successful to break even. that's basically "no one".

Re:google ads (2, Interesting)

MisterZimbu (302338) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674158)

My boss will regularly click the "Sponsored Link" in his google search result thinking that it's a legitimate search result.

It's not out of the question that people click that Sponsored Link thinking it's a real result, finds that it is the solution to whatever problem they were having (albeit not the best or most cost-effective solution), and make the purchase.

Re:google ads (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674166)

My best site displays nothing but image and "rich media" ads.

Re:google ads (5, Informative)

monkeyhybrid (1677192) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674192)

Just because you and me, and I suspect most Slashdot readers, don't click on ads doesn't mean nobody does. The simple fact is that millions of people do click on ads and Google make an enormous amount of money from it.

On TV I see adverts for all sorts of thing which are never going to be of any interest to me, my friends, or family, but there are several million other people who will lap it up.

On another note, I'm actually finding some adverts I see on my Android phone to be much more relevant to me due to the location awareness that comes with a mobile device. Yes, I know Google gathers even more data about me when it also knows where I am, etc, but hey, I just saw my local pizza restaurant has 2 for 1 today. Now, that is useful. ;)

Re:google ads (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674508)

Rule of Slashdot #0: You and people like you are not representative of the larger population.

Re:google ads (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#33679448)

Rule of Slashdot #0: You and people like you are not representative of the larger population.

That's rule #17.

Rule #0 is http://goat.cx/ [goat.cx]

Re:google ads (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674590)

FWIW people do click on them, and buy the products/fill out the form requested. It's a similar volume to spam where only a small number of "impressions" get clicks, and only a small number of clicks get conversions to the desired target action.

Re:google ads (2, Interesting)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674646)

Do you have Google's tracking disabled some how?

I get very good targeted adds from NewEgg, Amazon, Stables, and other well known places via Google. And usually the the adds are targeted to what I'm searching and does a pretty good job at it.

Spam and scams? I didn't know Newegg was in the business of scamming.

Their text format is bad? The ads I see are extremely easy to read, stands out just enough to notice but not enough to annoy and a quick glance is all I need to see what the ads is for.

You rarely click on ads but the ones you do are non-flash banners? I haven't seen a Google flash banner in forever.

I can't understand how Google ads are sending you crap unless they're unable to correctly track you. I let Google track me and I don't get crap ads. Most ads are actually stuff that I want and limited deals that I didn't not now about something that I did want.

Re:google ads (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675116)

You do not count. Compared to other /. users ... sure, I can see you as a blithering fool spewing out text from your keyboard without a thought in the world to slow you down.
Compared though to the internet masses, even you sir are comparatively a genius.

Re:google ads (2, Interesting)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675282)

I do occasionally see ads I'm interested in, but sometimes they get a bit creepy.

For example, I'm looking for a house near where I live. I used a particular website to look for properties. The next day I go to youtube to listen to some music, and on the right it's got a flash ad from the property website, showing houses for sale exactly where I was looking and in the price range. I was actually interested in a few of the properties that it showed and click on a few. But the whole thing was a bit unnerving!

Re:google ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33676818)

Every time I post this it gets moderated as troll but I'll try again.

I had a small business. I decided to try Google. Using their automatic placement quickly resulted in as much as 40% of of clicks as fraudulent. I reported this to Google. They fixed less than 10%. All of the fraudulent clicks were extremely obvious they were fraudulent (dozen clicks of the same ad within a tiny time frame - obviously being farmed, and almost always on the same website which was completely unrelated to the Ad), whereby they were obviously way outside of the standard deviation of clicks elsewhere.

In a nut shell, based on my own experience, as much as 40% of all of Google's ad revenue come from knowingly looking the other way from fraudulent clicks. I found that the majority of fraudulent activity went away if you selectively pick where you want your ads displayed rather than allowing Google to determine who's fraud they'll favor. In fact, the way their auto selection algorithms work, it definitely favors those sites where fraud is rampant.

What I learned? Google makes no effort to refund or prevent fraudulent clicks despite it being incredibly obvious and easy to do so. Even worse, their "auto" algorithms favor sites which fraud is rampant.

Even with napkin math, Google is directly profiting tens, if not hundreds of millions per year by looking the other way from fraudulent ad clicks.

Re:google ads (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 3 years ago | (#33678990)

Google's ads have been pointless for a long time. I don't understand how they make as much revenue as they do with ads that no one, or at least not anyone I know clicking on them.

Hi, I'm a Slashdot reader, a computer hacker, and I click on Google ads.

Real example from this week: I search for Lightscribe DVD-Rs. Google shows me some ads from companies that sell them. I click the ads to check out their prices and selection.

Sure, I don't click on ads that appear randomly when I'm not looking to buy something, but why wouldn't I click on ads when I'm actually looking to make a purchase?

I KNEW it.... (1)

SpurtyBurger (1400111) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674030)

...Google has only one wit.

Re:I KNEW it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674064)

...Google has only one wit.

...which is still better than being witless.

Wrong way to do it? (3, Interesting)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674040)

From reading the article, it seems that they are suing for breach of the AdWords contract. This seems unlikely to me to shut down the illegal pharmacies, unless Google is paying investigators to actually do business with the pharmacies and track them down "in real life" --- in which case, why not just give the evidence they obtain to the applicable LEOs?

I suppose one doesn't prevent the other, but the article doesn't at all address this possibility, in fact, it spins the story like Google might be doing this for CYA in case law enforcement catches these guys all by themselves.

Re:Wrong way to do it? (3, Interesting)

koterica (981373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674136)

Does Google care about illegal pharmacies? It looks to me like they just don't want to be in the rather embarrassing position of advertising them.
However, it is pretty amazing that the response is a lawsuit. I would think that Google, of all people, would be able to filter them out.

Re:Wrong way to do it? (1)

MSojka (83577) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674376)

From reading the article, it seems that they are suing for breach of the AdWords contract. This seems unlikely to me to shut down the illegal pharmacies, unless Google is paying investigators to actually do business with the pharmacies and track them down "in real life" --- in which case, why not just give the evidence they obtain to the applicable LEOs?

Somehow, my brain read this as "... --- in which case, why not just use the evidence they obtain to sent them to an applicable LEO (as in, low-earth orbit)?" ...

Come on, Google! You can do it! This isn't rocket science, after all ...

Re:Wrong way to do it? (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675522)

Umm... I, for one, don't want a precedent where a big company VOLUNTARILY AND OF IT'S OWN VOLITION decides to send possibly incriminating data on a customer to the authorities, without any warrant or reporting duty.

Next thing you know, hosting providers will be scanning machines for the occurrence of the HDCP key on discs.

Re:Wrong way to do it? (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 3 years ago | (#33679070)

The problem is really no different from the spam problem ISPs have faced for years.

The crooks set up a company with a domain and address. They sign up for Google Adwords. Then they use their Adwords account to send out illegal ads, in breach of the contract they agreed to. Chances are they don't pay for the ads either. When Google yanks the ads, the crooks fold the company and start the whole exercise again.

Google have few options here. If they do nothing, crooks continue to abuse their service in this way, costing them money and leaving them open to possible legal liability.

By suing for damages, they hope to make it cost the crooks more to breach their Adwords contract than they can make by doing so. That's the only thing that will actually stop the crooks, other than jail time.

The only other option would be for Google to have to inspect and approve every single ad on their network. That would be the Apple approach, and it has its own problems, not least of which is high cost.

Nice! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674046)

A company that sues its own costumers?

Re:Nice! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674234)

Well to be fair, if I had a costumer I would probably sue him too. Having a costumer probably explains why I am always dressed in a clown suit or the like.

Editors ... (5, Informative)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674118)

... please do some editing! There is no need to link to another website when you can go directly to the source [blogspot.com] !

Re:Editors ... (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677314)

If the OP read the news from a site that links to the source, I would think it ethical to link to that site instead of directly to the source since the OP should be giving credit to the site that notified him of the story.

Re:Editors ... (1)

Frnknstn (663642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33679142)

Not at all. It is ethical and customary to credit your source, but link directly to the site.

AdBlock (1)

Halifax Samuels (1124719) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674344)

Stories like this always surprise me for a second because since I haven't seen hardly any ads in years I often forget they're there in the first place.

Not yet pulled searches.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674404)

They are taking them to court because it may no longer be profitable to allow them to continue, They have yet to pull the searches and ads from all these sellers, even the most blatant ones still show up when you search for any popular drug.

Google has "gone evil" years ago - search is a joke for most terms, filled with paid ads, scrapers and domain leeches.

Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674484)

...and maybe now they'll do something about the ubiquitous "Cut down on your belly using this one weird old tip" which redirects to Acai pills or some such bollocks, with a fake news channel report using a picture of a real French news anchor who's got nothing to do with the product.

Where is the law enforcement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674698)

It seems to me it would be easy to follow the money of these spammers with their V1agra spam emails and ads. All the FDA has to do is place an order and follow the credit card transaction backwards.

The simple reason why these guys still exist is because noone with the legal power has the balls to fight.

Sure, they are porbably offshore companies, but they must be guilty of importing controlled substances.

It's time we made our FDA stand up and give it to these guys.

Will Weight-Loss Ads Be Next? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674728)

Whenever I turn-off my ad-blocker, I get those annoying ads with cartoony images of before-and-after fatties, it aggravates me so much that I don't feel sorry for blocking these sites' revenues... I hope they get banned next.

When will Yahoo start policing their ads? (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674822)

I've seen a ton of dodgy ads for penny stocks and the like on their service lately.

Friend of mine buys this way. (2, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674852)

The price is 1/10th retail.

The drugs are effective and actually appear to be the real thing in real packaging.

So how can these guys sell this way at such low prices when my pills legitimately through mail order discount places run $2 to $3 each?

Have to be gross amounts of profit somewhere in the chain.

Re:Friend of mine buys this way. (2, Informative)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675526)

Stolen product is one thing that comes to mind. There's got to be a half-dozen ways to crack into the distribution networks of pharmaceuticals, either through armed robbery, burglary, hijacking, extortion or other methods. Pills aren't teleported to the thousands of pharmacies in the US and not everyone involved in that supply chain is honest or beyond influence.

It wouldn't also surprise me if more organized efforts hadn't been made to "get into" the wholesaling business whereby you'd have legal access to manufacturers or first-tier distributors, with a portion of the product diverted.

The other option is re-importation from places like Mexico -- my Dad buys medicine down there, and a lot of it requires no prescription and from what I've seen, appears to be no different than the drugs sold here in terms of packaging, etc, and Dad says most of it is dramatically less expensive.

But even though some of it may look legitimate, counterfeiting is getting much better. "Good" counterfeits may be the real drug, but packaged to appear to be from a major pharmaceutical supplier -- and may actually BE from there, as "after hours" runs or production overruns/seconds, etc. "Bad" counterfeits may be good packaging but bad product, anything from just expired ingredients, to tainted ingredients, to cheap ingredients that produce similar secondary effects as the real drug, to inert ingredients that do nothing (I wonder how many men get better erections on the placebo principal alone!).

Re:Friend of mine buys this way. (1)

Viceice (462967) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676828)

It may simply be from another country. It may be an alien concept to Americans, but a lot of countries subsidize essential drugs for the well being of their citizens.

Re:Friend of mine buys this way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677228)

It may simply be from another country.

Oh, that explains it. I always thought V14GaRA was some kind of way to get around spam filters, but that must be how you spell it in Canadian.

Re:Friend of mine buys this way. (1)

neminem (561346) | more than 3 years ago | (#33690314)

I 7hink i7'5 h0w y0u 5p311 i7 in in73rn37.

(I f331 dir7y.)

Re:Friend of mine buys this way. (1)

EXrider (756168) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677132)

Well we can all thank your cheapskate friend for supporting the spammers that flood our networks, servers and inboxes with junk.

Re:Friend of mine buys this way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33678950)

Various studies are ongoing regarding these products. I know of university that has an ongoing project to analyze the contents of these mail-order drugs - the unoffical score: some of them are unidentifiable pills taped to cardboard, some of them are sophisticated forgeries of actual drugs, down to fake lot numbers and foil seals, and less than 1/4 are the actual drug they claim to be. Even if the packaging looks legit, it could be a copy, or it could be a lot that was recorded as destroyed due to QC problems or improper storage temperatures.

Re:Friend of mine buys this way. (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 3 years ago | (#33688854)

From stories of people I know that travel and help in missionary trips, they've seen many name brand drugs that go for $100-$200 a pop go for $5-$10 in other countries and we're talking about buying from the same company, so not stolen.

Go to a poorer country and buy up drugs at an almost free rate and re-sell back to the USA.

Google needs dodgy advertisers. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677254)

Google's business model requires dodgy advertisers. Google has created and funded a whole industry of AdWords arbitrage, encouraging web spam. That's a big part of their customer base. How often do you see a Fortune 1000 company in a Google ad?

In 2004 and 2005, Google sponsored the "Web Spam Squashing Summit" [sifry.com] In 2006, Google turned to the dark side. They started sponsoring the Search Engine Strategies [searchengi...tegies.com] conference, the web spammer's convention. That's when "Don't be Evil" ended.

We track Google ads at SiteTruth [sitetruth.com] , trying to find the business behind the ad. For about 36% of Google ads (by domain, not hits) not on search pages, there's no identifiable real-world business behind the ad. We call those "bottom-feeders". The "John Does" Google is suing fall into that category. If Google kicked off all those "John Doe" advertisers, they'd lose a third of their advertiser base.

I volunteer at a public library. (3, Informative)

OnePumpChump (1560417) | more than 3 years ago | (#33679354)

I get people coming to the reference desk asking for information about various treatments for ailments. Sometimes actual science-based medicine, sometimes plausible alternative medicine, and sometimes outright quackery, and sometimes all three at once.

I usually turn the monitor around so that they can see what I am doing. (Sometimes I think this may be a mistake, because they don't understand what I am doing.) If I'm doing a series of Google searches, trying to narrow things down to what we're looking for, they'll stop me and point to the ads. Usually (almost invariably) selling some transparently bogus alternative treatment. (Remember, they're coming to me asking me to help them find out what's what, not necessarily looking for someplace to buy their radiation crystal magnets.) They'll say "OH, OH, THAT'S IT!" when they see a keyword or two in the ad that relates to what they're looking for.

There are a LOT of people who receive information completely uncritically. They can't tell an ad trying to sell them something from an informational article. They can't tell the difference between an emotional appeal or an argument based essentially on sympathetic magic from actual science. THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO CLICK THOSE ADS. They'll reject things if they've been inoculated against it, but only because they've been told that they should, and had that admonition connected to some deeply held belief. They won't do so because they have legitimately considered whether it could be true or false.

That is why advertisers, particularly on Google with its text ads, have the potential to do a lot of harm.

Go Google! (1)

meustrus (1588597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33682232)

I run an online community and I fully support Google in going after these assholes. They've been spamming our forums for the Google hits (the website has a surprisingly good Google presence despite its relatively small size) and there hasn't been much I can do about it. I'm planning a massive upgrade to new software, which has been long overdue, and I hope it will fix the problem. I'll bet it's the same guys that have been trying to circumvent Google. I'll bet there's some way to use the DMCA anti-circumvention rules for good instead of evil.
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