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Man Accused of Attempting to Extort Google

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the future-of-cybercrime dept.

The Courts 302

sandalwood writes "A programmer has been arrested on charges of attempting to "threaten Google with a software program he devised that creates phony clicks on pop-up advertisements delivered by Google. Google pays Web site publishers companies a certain amount for legitimate hits on those ads, but Bradley created a method that generates false clicks that appeared to be real Internet traffic, which would have repeatedly defrauded Google... Bradley contacted Google in early March, informing company officials that he had created the program and wanted $100,000 to keep him from selling it to spammers, according to an affidavit by a U.S. Secret Service agent." A harbinger of organized crime to come? That's a real nice website you have here... a shame if anything were to happen to it..."

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Or vice versa (4, Interesting)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633794)

Want to really annoy your competition ? Do the same thing actually on a google search page - just make it "search" 1000 times for words that bring up your competitions 'adwords' box, then "click" the adwords link. Google then bills your competitor for the maximum (s)he specified per day/week/month and, bonus!, your competitor then drops down the rankings for which google Adword to display...

Random words mixed in with the key ones, random delays between searches, random User-Agent, etc., etc. Seems like it would be easy to do, and hard to track...

Simon.

Re:Or vice versa (-1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633805)

Are you an "hyperterrorist" ?

Re:Or vice versa (3, Insightful)

Mr. Darl McBride (704524) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633840)

Want to really annoy your competition ? Do the same thing actually on a google search page - just make it "search" 1000 times for words that bring up your competitions 'adwords' box, then "click" the adwords link.
Presumably Google has something that filters excessive traffic by IPs not known to be proxies for places like AOL.

The problem comes in when there are all these databases of open web proxies and code in CPAN for accessing and using those. :/

Re:Or vice versa (4, Informative)

stonebeat.org (562495) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633911)

actually this will not work. Google use statistical data to stop the user from doing this. It will almost have to be a DDOS attack (i.e. have thousands of IP addresses click on the AD) to pull this off. In that case it would be much easier just to DDOS the website of your competitor. Just like what happened to SCO.com

Re:Or vice versa (5, Interesting)

walter_kovacs (763951) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634062)

Actually no, click fraud is a real problem with Google (and all other pay per click engines). There have been many times when my Adwords traffic has spiked, sales have plummeted and conversions gone through the floor, and I am 99% sure that it is click fraud - the logs are just FULL of proxies, and Google seems helpless to do anything about it, but still happily collects the money.

Re:Or vice versa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8634093)

Great, now we are gonna get virus's that go to google, do a search for a company and clicks is ad. And that means my work's IT staff in their infinate wisdom, will block google to help stop the spread of the virus... Wonderful.

Re:Or vice versa (5, Informative)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634118)

That's why the article mentions spammers. The (old) trick works by sending out spam that generates a click-through when someone opens the email. (Or previews it in LookOut.) That way it comes from a whole bunch of IP addresses of people dumb enough to allow HTML script to run in their email.

Re:Or vice versa (4, Insightful)

pinkUZI (515787) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634185)

um... guys,
maybe I'm out of line here, but this is not a good topic to brain storm. Why do we want to devises more deviant ways to spam?
And why hurt our precious Google!

Re:Or vice versa (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8633967)

OK, somebody help me out here. Why is Google paying for hits on ads they deliver? Shouldn't the company be paying them? Isn't that how ads work? I display your ad and if someone clicks on it to get to your site, you pay me money for bringing them there? What am I missing here?

Re:Or vice versa (4, Interesting)

psycho_tinman (313601) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633971)

Well, I don't see how this person could offer up a tool for extortion without figuring out how to spoof IP addresses, anyway. Surely, it would raise an alert if most, if not ALL of your clickthroughs came from a single small set of IPs ? Also, one nitpick about the article, since when does Google offer popup advertising ?

I'm quite certain plenty of programmers know how to fake clickthroughs, or they could sit down and figure it out. Spoofing IP addresses, on the other hand, would be slightly more difficult.. and there are only so many open proxies and so on.

On a slightly more depressing note, this sounds like a perfect scheme for all those zombie machines that are being spawned out there (with email worms). Instead of doing a Distributed DOS or sending out spam (which are their current uses, and can be easily traced back), if they were used to randomly send out a few million clicks, or to host a mini link farm for Googlebot's eyes only.... the possibilities for spamming become endless. Scary thought.

Re:Or vice versa (1)

merlin_jim (302773) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634055)

Random words mixed in with the key ones, random delays between searches, random User-Agent, etc., etc. Seems like it would be easy to do, and hard to track...

Don't forget random IPs... without that, the tracking becomes very easy

Re:Or vice versa (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8634108)

Rampant faggotry on Slashdot. [lugos.si]

Would you give money to these people?

Using Google to extort Google? ;-) (5, Funny)

ChaoticChaos (603248) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633797)

I wonder how long he had to Google before he figured out the technical details of how to do that? ;-)

Search terms: "how to extort" AND money AND "from google" ;-)

Re:Using Google to extort Google? ;-) (5, Funny)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633874)

Google...

The cause of and solution to all of life's problems

Re:Using Google to extort Google? ;-) (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633990)

Your search - "how to extort" AND money AND "from google" - did not match any documents.

Suggestions:
- Make sure all words are spelled correctly.

- Try different keywords.
- Try extorting money from Yahoo! They! have! lots! of! money!
- Try patenting PageRank and suing us.
- Ask the underpants gnomes. They know everything.
Also, you can try Google Answers [google.com] for expert help with your search.

No results, but five advert boxes (5, Informative)

blorg (726186) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634112)

Ironically, while that exact search does actually come up with 0 results, there are 5 'sponsored links' offering 'Secrets behind AdWords', 'Create AdWords Cash' and so on...

Blackmail (2, Insightful)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633811)

This is blackmail, plain and simple. It is just happening in cyberspace and the current laws are thankfully being applied in this new world. There is no genuine economic transaction being furthered by this man's program but to destroy Google's income. He doesn't have a leg to stand on in court.

Re:Blackmail (2, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634060)

Be honest, how old did you think this guy was, before reading the article? 12? 14?

Michael Anthony Bradley, 32

Probably still has his mothers umbilical cord attached. Sheesh.

Found him! (5, Funny)

Mr. Darl McBride (704524) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633812)

You can find articles about the fellow by looking at the top Google hits for "moron," "fucktard," and "what the hell were you thinking?"

Re:Found him! (5, Funny)

BabyDave (575083) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633881)

You can find articles about the fellow by looking at the top Google hits for "moron," "fucktard," and "what the hell were you thinking?"

He works for SCO?

Re:Found him! (1)

martingunnarsson (590268) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634083)

Here [badsamaritan.com] 's the top hit!

That'll teach him a lesson... (5, Funny)

LinuxInDallas (73952) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633820)

Next time, just go straight to the spammers.

Re:That'll teach him a lesson... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8633979)

1. Design a device that will trick Google's Ad program. 2. Contact the spammers and arrange a meeting. 3. Break the spammers' kneecaps with a baseball bat when you meet them. 4. Pro^H^H^HSatisfaction!

It's not fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8633829)

"defrauded Google"? No, clicking on banners is not fraud. When will this abuse of criminal terms ever end? It is a losing battle with the liars who says "copyright infringment = theft" already.

Re:It's not fraud (3, Interesting)

no haters (714135) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633895)

How is falsely inflating banner views and click-throughs not fraud? You are defrauding the company in order that they will pay you for advertising that was never "aired" to the public.

How IS it fraud? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8633957)

"How is falsely inflating banner views and click-throughs not fraud?"

You'd be better off asking if it IS fraud.

"You are defrauding the company in order..."

No fraud is possible doing clicks like this. The crime is the guy's extortion threat.

Re:It's not fraud (0, Redundant)

utlemming (654269) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633910)

RTFA -- he contacted Google and threatened to sell the program to spammers. It has nothing to do with Copyright Infringment.

Re:It's not fraud (2, Informative)

Moonpie Madness (764217) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633915)

He didnt click on banners and is not charges with doing so. He is charged with threatening to harm their ability to make money, the means to which are clearly wrong. He said 'gimme some money, or i release a nefarious program' that request is the crime, not the actions themselves.

RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8633937)

"He didnt click on banners and is not charges with doing so"

Read the article. It said that the "clicking" itself was fraud.

Re:RTFA (1)

Moonpie Madness (764217) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634008)

I know, I did read the article, i just am incoherent. The clicking itself is only fraud in virtue of the threat

It's still not fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8634033)

"The clicking itself is only fraud in virtue of the threat"

Clicking itself is still not fraud. Just like if you drive back and forth repeatedly over those black traffic cables strung across the road to increase traffic counts. It's something, but it sure isn't "fraud".

Re:It's still not fraud (1)

Moonpie Madness (764217) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634079)

exactly driving a car is not a crime, but if you drive a car over a person or away from the bank you robbed it is criminal clicking is not a crime, but threatening to click a bunch to ruina business unless they pay is criminal

Re:It's still not fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8634101)

"but threatening to click a bunch to ruina business unless they pay is criminal"

Certainly. It's extortion. However, the clicks themselves are not "fraud". If anything, it seems related to a DOS-attack.

The problem is in calling the clicks "fraud", which the FA did.

Re:It's still not fraud (2, Interesting)

Moonpie Madness (764217) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634142)

i understand what you are saying, but i still disagree. the clicks themselves are part of the problem. If I were stalking a girl, my talking to her on the phone would be illegal speech invirtue of what they were a part of. obviously speaking to others is not a crime, though when it is part of a pattern of harassment or extortion each action is a crime. and it is fraud, it is an attempt to impersonate a clickthrough human when in fact its a bot. This may not seem like much, but it is fraud in the literal sense

early post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8633838)

This early post is made in an attempt to extort slashdot.

Slashdot... (5, Funny)

martingunnarsson (590268) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633839)

That's a real nice website you have here... a shame if anything were to happen to it...

Isn't this what Slashdot is trying to do? No?

Or, putting that in terms we can all understand... (4, Funny)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633942)

  1. Find random website
  2. E-mail admin, and threaten to bring site down by posting story on slashdot
  3. ???
  4. Profit!!!

Very similar to the google case, I think step 4 only applies to the lawyers

Foolish criminal (3, Insightful)

msgmonkey (599753) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633843)

I'm amazed that this guy thought that google would pay out. If he was clever he would set up a few websites and rake the money in slowly over a length of time. I guess greed got the better of him.

Re:Foolish criminal (1)

dipipanone (570849) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634170)

If he was clever

Unlike you...

he would set up a few websites

...and then have Google advertise them via their advertising program...

and rake the money in slowly over a length of time.

Every time he clicks on a link to his own website, he -- as the website owner -- pays Google for it.

Now how do you suppose he's going to make any money at that?

he must have been (4, Funny)

squarefish (561836) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633852)

feeling lucky [google.com]

Re: Extortion? (-1)

Rabscuttle (597317) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633854)

So does this mean they finally arrested Darl McBride and the $CO gang?

Oh wait, wrong story.

What have we learned? (5, Insightful)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633855)

Next time don't go to those you are trying to extort. Just go straight to the competition. I'm sure the spammers would have paid him much more than $100,000 collectively and not turned him in.

Imagine, he could have licensed his software to the spammers and charged them an annual fee to use it. He could have been the "Microsoft" of the spamming industry.

Re:What have we learned? (-1)

Rabscuttle (597317) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633901)

way to piss off Google AND Microsoft...

Re:What have we learned? (4, Funny)

merlin_jim (302773) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634080)

Imagine, he could have licensed his software to the spammers and charged them an annual fee to use it. He could have been the "Microsoft" of the spamming industry.

I would like to point out that, due to dangerously unsecure settings on installation of their home software, Microsoft is already the "Microsoft" of the spamming industry...

Note: WinXP really is better. Win2003 is much better. But if we don't have Microsoft to pick on, just who ARE we gonna pick on?

Re:What have we learned? (1)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634133)

Imagine, he could have licensed his software to the spammers and charged them an annual fee to use it. He could have been the "Microsoft" of the spamming industry.

And just as noble!

Re:What have we learned? (1)

CGP314 (672613) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634198)

He could have been the "Microsoft" of the spamming industry.

I thought Microsoft [hotmail.com] was the Microsoft of the spamming industry.


-Colin

Hi. I'm Troy McClure (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8633858)

Hi. I'm Troy McClure. You might remember me from such search-engine fraud films as "The Altavistan Job", "The Great Dogpile Caper", and "Lycos Grifters IV: Electric Boogaloo".

Re:Hi. I'm Troy McClure (4, Funny)

ObiWanKenblowme (718510) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634061)

My favorite was "Dial G for Google"

Now if they can just ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8633860)

... arrest that jackass who was ego-surfing and didn't like what he found, even though it was more than likely true. That will make my week.

Any suggestions on what they could get him on?

I think slashdot just found... (5, Funny)

ph4s3 (634087) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633866)

...a new revenue stream.

Hi little guy, this is Cmdr.Taco... We're going to link to your site in an article. What? You say you can't handle the traffic? For the low low cost of $699 we can grant you a license to mirror your site on our finely tuned slashdot-proof servers.

Re:I think slashdot just found... (1)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633969)

The funny thing is, is if they are based on a per bandwidth basis, that would be more of an investment. 1,000,000 users * 54kb * $.05/Mb yeah... the math is obvious.

Re:I think slashdot just found... (1)

ph4s3 (634087) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634084)

I know. I was only half way kidding. Slashdot has a very large potential in the "let us host your site or you'll go down in flames" niche market.

If there wasn't such a potential for misuse, I think it would be a good idea.

IF THIS GOATSE LINK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8633870)

Re:IF THIS GOATSE LINK (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8633903)

sorry man. now that the domain name goatse.cx has been lost, the magic is just gone for me...

stupid... (5, Funny)

jwthompson2 (749521) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633886)

This guy tried to extort the search engine that allows you to find almost anything including almost anybody and he was expecting to not get caught?

Stupid!

Reason be damned... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8633892)

I say BURN THE HERETIC! ;)

Would this really bother them? (2, Interesting)

slavefishy (728826) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633893)

Apart from being threatened, surely Google have sufficiently intelligent engineers to figure out a solution to this problem?

No doubt the software would follow a particular pattern, which even in a large amount of data, could possibly be tracked and with regards to things like open proxies, it would surprise me if Google didn't already check for things like that.

Re:Would this really bother them? (0)

walter_kovacs (763951) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634131)

They claim that they do but they don't, or else their software is hopelessly ineffectual... click fraud is a real problem with Adwords.

Re:Would this really bother them? (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634203)

Apart from being threatened, surely Google have sufficiently intelligent engineers to figure out a solution to this problem?

Aside from saving themselves $100k, they get to avoid the arms race. Their engineers vs. this programmer and the spammers. Over and over again, measuers, counter-meaures, counter-counter measures, counter-counter-counter measuers ad infinitum.

Besides, if they get this guy sent to PITA prison, that will have a chilling effect on the next poor schmuck who is thinking of fucking with Google.

LK

GNAA CRAPFLOOD! Post 1 out of 10000! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8633902)

I warned you! Now prepared for the GNAA!

Google uses pop ups? (2, Interesting)

slash-tard (689130) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633907)

I havent seen any, I do use the google tool bar though.

BTW, I have also devised a program to simulate fake activity. Use any of the windows based graphical macro programs, load google, search, click the ad, save macro, repeat it in a loop. You could do this in multiple VMWare sessions if you wanted to increase your "productivity".

The fine line.... (4, Funny)

Kailden (129168) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633909)

For your Occupation, choose 2 of the following three:

1) Fun
2) Well-paying
3) Legal

This guy probably was legal up to the point of threatening Google. I guess that the fine line between the criminal mind and normal everyday greed.

Slashdot - weapon of mass debandwith (3, Funny)

Fullmetal Edward (720590) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633912)

"Come out with your hard drives up or we'll send in the slashdotters and Shaft!"

The way of the future... Just wait till Bush catchs on, Cowboy Neal and Taco will be billionairs with an army of geeks on hand...

TO THE SLASHDOT MOBILE!

Psst ... /. (5, Funny)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633917)

I figured out and wrote a perl script to increase my karma. Give me $1200 worth of ThinkGeek stuff, or I'll post it in the forums!!!!

Interesting (5, Funny)

SirLantos (559182) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633930)

A series of funny quotes come to mind: 'You want I should break your links?' 'Mario, I need you to 404 this site.' 'I will ping flood you so fast, you wont know what hit you.' 'I host your site. You've never google me. You dont visit my page. And now you want me to bring down this site. What am I supposed to think?' 'Johhny, I swear, I'll get you your page hits. I just need some more time.'

Who clicks on those insipid ads anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8633939)

If you want something that speaks volumes about the collective intelligence of internet users as the internet becomes more accessible, just look at how stupid, annoying, and intrusive ads have become, and then look at the statistics for clickthroughs on said ads.

I think it was Carlin that said, "Think of how dumb the average person is... Half the people are dumber than that guy." Scary.

What a daft bugger. (5, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633946)

Spammers don't need programs like that. People who have ads on their web pages and want to generate hits on the ads would want that.

Spammers, on the other hand, have now moved onto blogs lately. Fred Rodriguez [fredrodriguez.com] , a rider Emeryville, CA, for italian team Aqua e Sapone has spams for the usual penis enlargment, diet pills, cheap computer eqz, etc. on his guest book. Spammers got no shame, just like this fool.

Re:What a daft bugger. (1)

good(k)night (754537) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634095)

I think "Spammers" is a synonyme for "Bad people" nowdays

sloppy work (5, Funny)

The Clockwork Troll (655321) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633948)

He was very easy to track down. Apparently, a red flag gets raised at Google whenever anyone actually clicks on those ads. So, they eliminated the guy who needed ink jet cartridges and sent the police in.

Ha ha, but AdWords among most effective ads on net (3, Informative)

blorg (726186) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634202)

If I'm actually looking to buy something, and I see an ad that is *relevant*, sure I'll click on it. We advertise heavily on AdWords ourselves and get a phenomenal amount of traffic on them, with click-throughs over 25% on certain keyword combinations.

Maybe Linux Today can do it! (1, Funny)

Moonpie Madness (764217) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633951)

Maybe Linux Today can ask for money from major media outlets to prevent them from linking.

Googling (1)

kc0re (739168) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633954)

"How to hack google.com" AND "how to code"

This is done all the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8633955)

This - in reverse - is done all the times - by large corporations. They buy competing technologies just to kill them. Perfectly legal. The guy just wanted to offer them the technologie, instead of them buying him out.

Wacky myths (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8633989)

"They buy competing technologies just to kill them"

Are you one of those boobs who believe that GM has a warehouse full of "nutty professor in garage" designed 200 mph carburetors?

Re:Wacky myths (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8634042)

Check out when the car seat-belt was introduced. Exactly when the patent expired! It was offered to all car manufacturers to save lives - exactly none of them touched it, untill the patent expired and they did not have to pay for it.

Advertising on WebPages is a Joke (3, Interesting)

stecoop (759508) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633977)

Every SlashDotter should click on every advertisement that you see on Slashdot. Slashodot will get paid and the advertisers will get a heavy bill - everyone wins.

That would be a nice technology to add to Mozilla 1.x where it automatically hides the advertisement and treats it like a click through where advertisers get tired of paying out.

Re:Advertising on WebPages is a Joke (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8634069)

Better still pay the subscription

Re:Advertising on WebPages is a Joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8634088)

That would be a nice technology to add to Mozilla 1.x where it automatically hides the advertisement and treats it like a click through where advertisers get tired of paying out.

Damn straight. Then only those of us* who care about our favorite sites will pay for content and it'll be much better.

* Not a slashbot subscriber.

Been there, did this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8633992)

... and my program worked quite good: after 10 minutes runtime there were no "unfriendly" ads left.

BTW: It took me 1 hour and was written in perl.

Re:Been there, did this... (0)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634207)

It's him... quick... send in the feds!

Story Full of Errors? (2, Informative)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 10 years ago | (#8633996)

I've yet to see Web-based advertising of Google, much less pop-up advertising. This makes me think that the story is simply wrong, and reversed the roles.

* Google does not provide "pop-up ads". They provide text-based ads.

* Google does not pay website owners for AdWords. The owners pay Google to for advertising space on Google.

This is my 5000th post.

Re:Story Full of Errors? (-1)

They_Call_Me_Spanky (83478) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634052)

Since when did Google have to buy popups for itself?

Re:Story Full of Errors? (3, Informative)

Exodious (49817) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634184)

* Google does not pay website owners for AdWords. The owners pay Google to for advertising space on Google.
Not true. You can use their adsense program. I think /. uses it sometimes as well.
http://www.google.com/services/ [google.com] http://www.google.com/adsense [google.com]

robots as websurfers (4, Interesting)

nuffle (540687) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634005)

This brings up some other related concerns about having robots browse pages, even when the intent is not malicious.

Some ads on websites are sold 'per-view' and not 'per-click', but if a web-crawling robot hits it, should it count as a view? Are the authors of these bots stealing from the advertiser?

A while ago I wrote a bot that posts to slashdot. He even had decent Karma for a while, before getting a bit confused. In any case, my bot would usually post some links in his comments, which could have the effect of altering the target's page ranking on Google (this was not his purpose though). Am I somehow culpable for cheating Google?

Anyway, the point is that I think robots should have some limited rights to view pages and do human-like behavior on the net.

I don't understand... (1)

Serious Simon (701084) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634006)

...why he thought spammers would use this software to raise costs for Google? What would be in it for them?

Re:I don't understand... (1)

walter_kovacs (763951) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634111)

The idea is to push your competitors out of the competition by costing them tons and tons in click throughs, so you have the ad space all to yourself. You also pay less per click if there are no competitors for a keyword.

Anyone remember AllAdvantage? (5, Interesting)

cr@ckwhore (165454) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634010)

Anyone remember the company AllAdvantage (was that really the name?) that paid users to click on ads during the dotcom boom? I remember almost everyone was into it ... people were making hundreds, even thousands of dollers per month.

Of course, none of the ad traffic was legitimate! There were tons and tons of scripts and programs that would click the ads for you ... set it up to run all night, go to sleep, wake up rich in the morning. That's probably why the thing was so popular!

I remember the comany would implement anti-cheat methods every couple of weeks, even to the point of tracking mouse movements ... the idea being that if the mouse wasn't moving, but clicks were coming in, then it was a cheat.

Ok, well... as always, cheaters take things to the next level. The ultimate cheat was one that surfed the web from a pre-determined list of web sites, while randomly moving the mouse cursor around the screen, and clicking every couple of seconds. Worked like a charm!

No more AllAdvantage.

Google has more sophisticated technology than AllAdvantage though... its almost impossible to cheat google. Even if this dumb-ass really did write a program to click ads on his own sites, google would catch that. There's AdSense partners getting canned every day for suspicion of cheating, when sometimes it's only as simple as an innocent erroneous click on their own ads. It happens... check the adsense forums. I doubt this guy would have been able to execute much of his plan successfully.

Re:Anyone remember AllAdvantage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8634150)

That was the greatest program ever. I was making more money a month than what I could spend on pizza and beer, which in college was a considerable amount.

Was he also wearing. . . (4, Funny)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634020)



a pair of those blinking Nikes while running away from the cops?


-FL

this never would've happened... (5, Funny)

irokie (697424) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634023)

this never would've happened if they didn't offer google in "hacker" [google.com]

Am I missing something here? (2, Insightful)

Afty0r (263037) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634029)

Or is there no incentive for a spammer to use this? Who was this guy going to sell the software to, it has no value except to a person who specificaly wants to devlue Googles adspace.

Re:Am I missing something here? (1)

walter_kovacs (763951) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634087)

The idea is to push your competitors out of the running by massively inflating their advertising costs, so you have the space all to yourself, and thereby also end up paying less per click yourself.

Prior art! (2, Interesting)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634043)

I received spam that tried to generate fake click-throughs a couple years ago. I could dig out a copy of the LART I sent with the code used to the company that was being defrauded by the fakes. (I'm sure they were real impressed with the spammer.) Nothing new here.

Or is this like the "on the Internet" patents? "I have a spam scam that really works--on Google!"

Idiots (2, Funny)

screwballicus (313964) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634048)

If only the world's more malicious traders in contraband goods would use this method.

"See, I have this cache of weapons in my house, and I'll sell them off to criminals at some point if you don't give me the money!"

"Wait...SWAT Team? What SWAT Team?"

"Outside my house?"

Paddy Power. (2, Interesting)

Kiffer (206134) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634051)

A harbinger of organized crime to come? That's a real nice website you have here... a shame if anything were to happen to it..."

Allready happened in Ireland with Paddy Power

http://www.business.com/directory/media_and_ente rt ainment/amusement_and_family_entertainment/paddy_p ower_plc/news/
and
http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD /europe/02/23/online. hackers/

or just google for Paddy Power and hackers

The future of advertisement... (5, Interesting)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634066)

Does this mean Google will eventually have to resort to using CAPTCHAs [captcha.net] before the ads are clicked? Maybe you'll have to verify your humanity any time you want to search for something. Advertisers will then only be billed 1 time for any number of hits coming from that particular verification. If you want to spam-click other people's ads, you'll have to go through the CAPTCHA system the same number of times.

I just hope it doesn't have to come to that.

Perhaps not repeatedly billing hits from the same IP address range would be a more practical solution... until some company releases a virus that does it automatically and clicks on all the competitors' ads from a million different computers across the world.

Maybe I'm dense, but... (1)

Artifex (18308) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634104)

even though Google pays websites a certain amount per click, doesn't it also charge the advertisers placing the adwords at least as much?

Doesn't that mean it's not Google that would be defrauded, but the affected advertisers?

I did the same thing.... (4, Interesting)

DeionXxX (261398) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634134)

I uhhh... made the same program last year in January or so at a client's request. I was skeptical that I could defraud Google's AdWords, but I ended up being successful. Out of respect, I never gave the client's his program even though it worked and sent it over to Google and told them about their vulnerability.

Defrauding Google, is like defrauding a family member or something...

I'm glad this ass got caught.

-- D3X

Um,,, (1, Interesting)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634143)

Is this really illegal? Seriously.

I mean, he created a product. He was planning to sell it, but if Google is better served by that product not making it to market isn't it common sense that they might want to buy it?

For example, if I developed a way to run my automobiles using water as fuel or to get 200 miles per gallon of gasoline ,I'd offer to sell them to the big oil companies before I went to Ford and GM.

LK

Is this Extortion? (1)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8634167)

Sounds like capitalism to me.
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