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The Dark Side of Paid Search

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the is-the-darkside-stronger-no-no-quicker-easier dept.

125

Tough Lefty writes "A new study by McAfee's SiteAdvisor Web ratings finds that sponsored results from some of the biggest names in the search engine business contain spyware, spam, scams and other Internet menaces. The key findings were that major search engines returned risky sites in their search results for popular keywords and sponsored results contained two to four times as many dangerous sites as organic results. Overall, MSN search results had the lowest percentage (3.9%) of dangerous sites while Ask search results had the highest percentage (6.1%). Google was in between (5.3%). Check the comprehensive study for all the data."

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Dark side of the Paid Search? (4, Funny)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320566)

And if the spam breaks open many years too soon (whoa-ho-ho)
and if there is no room on my hard drive (whoa-hoa-hooooo)
and if your head explodes with scam site search results too,
I'll see you on the dark side of Paid Search (whooooaaaooo - hoooo whooaaaa-oh!)

Search Eclipsed (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320683)

I'll see you on the dark side of Paid Search

There is no dark side of the Paid Search really... matter of fact it's all dark.

Re:Dark side of the Paid Search? (1)

freshman_a (136603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320751)

Money, so they say,
is the root of all evil today.

Re:Dark side of the Paid Search? (1)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320940)

And if you click on the sponsored results... you have "Brain Damage"

The lunatic is on the grass.
...
Got to keep the loonies on the path.

Re:Dark side of the Paid Search? (1)

OctaviusIII (969957) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321533)

And by loonies, you mean Canadian dollars?

Re:Dark side of the Paid Search? (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321149)

Dude, start Dark Side of the Paid Search just after the third roar of the MGM lion at the beginning of the Wizard of Oz.

Click on dubious links... (4, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320573)

...get something you didn't bargain for.

Really, is this even remotely news?

Re:Click on dubious links... (4, Interesting)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320631)

...get something you didn't bargain for.

Really, is this even remotely news?


Percentage of paid search results makes this at least mildly intesting.

(mildly offtopic): Has anyone else noticed that when you click on a link in gmail, a new window opens entitled 'wyciwyg'? (before redirecting you to the link)

*heh* What you click is what you get! If only there was some way (that didn't involve liberal beatings) of getting that into your average user's brain!

Re:Click on dubious links... (2, Insightful)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320877)

And, the results aren't too surprising. MSN came in lowest, but at the same time, it's probably the least dependent on generating ad revenue. Google's the biggest, but has a repuation to maintain, so it probably does at least some filtering of advertisers. Ask keeps tring to reinvent itself back to relevance...

--Joe

Re:Click on dubious links... (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321347)

And something tells me that you could have easily come up with an explanation if the results had been different.

Re:Click on dubious links... (2, Insightful)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321440)

Perhaps. My main point, though I could've done better articulating it, is that the only "news" here is that "Some web search results are dangerous; don't expect (Google|MSN|Ask|whoever) to be your nanny." The fact that most of the search engines had differences that were near the noise margin means there's no real strong conclusions you can draw.

MSN's number is an obvious anomaly that could be explained multiple ways: Microsoft heavily vets its advertisers; advertisers don't think MSN's worth advertising on; and Microsoft doesn't seek advertisers as aggressively because it doesn't need them. All three are plausible, and perhaps the truth is a mixture of the three.

Re:Click on dubious links... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15322660)

If only there was some way (that didn't involve liberal beatings)

I think liberal beatings are a great idea. Every time they open their mouths.

Re:Click on dubious links... (5, Funny)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320637)

I just searched for "Babies" on Google and got this sponsored link in the sidebar:

Babies
Whatever you're looking for
you can get it on eBay.
www.eBay.com

Google is directing you to baby sellers! Alert the press this is EVIL!!

Re:Click on dubious links... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15320703)

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

Re:Click on dubious links... (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320722)

I just searched for "Babies" on Google and got this sponsored link in the sidebar:
Buy it Now: $300,000.00

Re:Click on dubious links... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15320773)

Not to burst your bubble- but you can do it with a ton of words, including some that are sexual. Get Pussy on Ebay. Whatever. Old joke.

Re:Click on dubious links... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15320859)

Right, but it's not like "buying pussy on eBay" is an inherently illegal act...

Peddling Pussy (1)

SeanDuggan (732224) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321083)

Right, but it's not like "buying pussy on eBay" is an inherently illegal act...

I think they restrict sales of live animals on EBay. Now if you sold stuffed pussy...

Re:Click on dubious links... (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320900)

Those are the most annoying ads: Meta ads that claim to have "everything you're looking for" and end up just being some crappy sort of meta page that has nothing immediately useful.

Ebay's pretty obvious when it comes up. There are others that are more annoying.

--Joe

That's Nothing.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15320936)

Shite
Save now on Millions of Titles.
Free Delivery on Orders Over £15
Amazon.co.uk/books

Re:Click on dubious links... (1)

JakusMinimus (49854) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321105)

i get ebay and amazon links for just about every goddamned thing i search for with google. they really need to clean up their ad system. maybe vetting advertisers or something would be the answer (hahahahah like that'd happen).

i hope something changes soon because i am getting tired of unscrupulous asshats poisoning my search results.

Re:Click on dubious links... (2, Funny)

slashdot.org (321932) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321468)

lol

The one for wife is funny too:

Wife for less
Looking for Wife?
Find exactly what you want today
www.eBay.com

I already have one, but one for less sounds very enticing.

exactly (2)

szembek (948327) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320675)

The 'obvious' tag bit me on the face when I read this.

Re:Click on dubious links... (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320812)

Define dubious. The article only names a few of the most egregious phrases. I read this to mean that links returned by search engines may be malicious.

Re:Click on dubious links... (1)

TrappedByMyself (861094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15322068)

dubious links?

How is clicking on the first result from a Google search dubious?
I have a mental filter which ignores those, but I was with an aunt who did a Google search and naturally clicked on the first result before I could yell "no, don't click those ones!"

How can you expect the general public to not think the first results from the best search engine aren't safe? That's like putting an exit ramp off of I95 (along the US east coast) which takes the cars off a cliff...then calling anyone who accidentally takes the exit stupid.

Re:Click on dubious links... (1)

spacefiddle (620205) | more than 8 years ago | (#15322695)

i think this is more to illuminate the idea Google and others try to spread that paid links != dubious links. Guess what, America! Nothing's more dubious than a bought-and-paid-for "looka me i'm beyond reproach" tag!

Re:Click on dubious links... (1)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | more than 8 years ago | (#15322702)

What makes it news is that someone in the corporate world noticed and actually said something about it. Many other corporations are too busy fleecing the suckers who click those links.

That's good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15320592)

As a libertarian I think any sponsored link is acceptable. If the link goes to somewhere deceitful, the consumer should be smart enough to see it as it is. I have absolutely no problem with people who sell firefox [google.com] , offer OpenOffice with a sketchy deal [google.com] , and rebadge Audacity as their own [google.com] .

Re:That's good. (2)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320663)

As a libertarian, you shouldn't care if someone's selling rat poison as viagra.

The market will sort it all out - the seller will eventual lose sales as his reputations goes downhill. The invisible hand and all that!

Re:That's good. (4, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320720)

As a libertarian, you shouldn't care if someone's selling rat poison as viagra.

Yea, who needs a centralized protection. It's all natural. See AIDS for example. It's not as if having no immune system affects your life or anything.

Re:That's good. (2, Insightful)

Foolicious (895952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320979)

At risk of naively responding to someone who posted something in order to make a point, libertarianism is a philosophy based on the principle that individuals should be allowed complete freedom of action as long as they do not infringe on the same freedom of others. I'm not a libertarian, but I'm guessing they'd lump poisoning (whether the victim is limp-penised or not) under the whole freedom of others thingee.

That said, the interesting part of the discussion (besides connecting the dots in order to equate putting spyware on a machine with poisoning someone) is finding out where exactly you draw the line in terms of determining real infringement. Maybe that's where "libertarianism" falls apart.

Re:That's good. (2, Insightful)

jumpingfred (244629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321199)

As a libertarian, you shouldn't care if someone's selling rat poison as viagra.

The market will sort it all out - the seller will eventual lose sales as his reputations goes downhill. The invisible hand and all that!

I don't think that you understand libertarianism. Selling rat poison as viagra is breach of the agreement between the seller and the buyer. As such the buyer or buyers heirs can instigate legal proceedings against the seller.

Re:That's good. (1)

carlivar (119811) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321609)

As a libertarian, you shouldn't care if someone's selling rat poison as viagra.

You obviously have no idea what a libertarian is. Libertarian philosphy can be summarized as "do whatever you want as long as you don't harm anyone else". Selling rat poison in a deceptive way is just as illegal in a libertarian society.

Re:That's good. (1, Offtopic)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320744)

As a libertarian I think any sponsored link is acceptable.

I've a gun, and as a libertarian, I believe I have the right to come sneak and shoot you in the back.

As my reputation goes bad, people will get used to growing eyes on their back to see me coming.

Re:That's good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15320880)

I've a gun, and as a libertarian, I believe I have the right to come sneak and shoot you in the back.
As my reputation goes bad, people will get used to growing eyes on their back to see me coming.


Dude, you were logged in when you responded. I've a gun, and as a libertarian, I believe I have the right to come sneak and shoot you in the back because you are obviously a menace to Society.

Re:That's good. (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320981)

Dude, you were logged in when you responded. I've a gun, and as a libertarian, I believe I have the right to come sneak and shoot you in the back because you are obviously a menace to Society.

I already have eyes on my back though.

Re:That's good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15321713)

Sorry, didn't notice. All that hair was in the way.

Re:That's good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15320982)

Libertarian: You keep using that word, but I do not think it means what you think it means...

Re:That's good. (4, Informative)

emurphy42 (631808) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320854)

people who sell firefox,

That [downloadfirefox.net] appears to be an innocuous "download Firefox with Google Toolbar" site. Perhaps you meant the typosquatter [downloadfirefox.com] parked next door?

and rebadge Audacity as their own

That [luxuriousity.com] seems to be dead. Ironically, it has a typosquatter [luxuriosity.com] parked next door as well.

There are still sponsored links in search results? (4, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320594)

I guess all these years of automatically ignoring and scrolling past the "sponsored" results has paid off.

Re:There are still sponsored links in search resul (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321568)

But no! You have only compounded your own ignorance. Because you have not paid attention to all the sponsored advertising links in your search results, you weren't aware that these links have a "dark side." Who knows what you might have blindly stumbled into, unaware as you were of the problem?

Re:There are still sponsored links in search resul (1)

Trieuvan (789695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321703)

really ? I should dump all google stock.

From TFA... (5, Interesting)

Foolicious (895952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320622)

"Users can't count on search engines to protect them; to the contrary, we find that search result rankings often do not reflect site safety" Are users really depending on search engines to protect them? Even foolish users?

Re:From TFA... (1)

dorkygeek (898295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320647)

Look, 90% of todays Intarweb population consists of fools and idiots. What do you expect?!

Re:From TFA... (1)

TheJediGeek (903350) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321155)

Look, 90% of todays Intarweb population consists of fools and idiots. What do you expect?!

There's so much truth in that it may end up in a sig sometime soon.

Re:From TFA... cf "do no evil" (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15322417)

>>> "Are users really depending on search engines to protect them? Even foolish users?"

No but some people don't expect Google to sell them down the river for a few bucks to some spammer/scammer. Can't anyone with money uphold there morals?

Paradox (3, Interesting)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320659)

We have a central organisation that handles domain use and the arising domain disputes.
Why we don't have a central organisation that bans spyware/malware sites? Unlike porn, where religious and all kinds of debates open, the worst cases of malware are obvious and good for nothing.

Wouldn't it seem odd to someone if drug dealers advertised their services in newspaper ads? Why isn't it odd they are allowed to reach audience via controlled ads on the search engines?

We also have Yahoo/Ask/Google's ability to filter and review their own ads and remove offensive ads. They also remove them now, but kinda sloow.. kinda lazy... you know... just enough not to hurt their revenue and not be blamed by the public they're doing nothing.

We also have Google eagerly promoting their typosquatting service for domains while saying they don't.

It's a nice example of what greed makes good companies do.

Re:Paradox (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320697)

Why we don't have a central organisation that bans spyware/malware sites? Unlike porn, where religious and all kinds of debates open, the worst cases of malware are obvious and good for nothing.

Because there will always be one sucker who is poerfectly willing to give up their spare processor cycles and demographic info in exchange for a taskbar icon that tells them what temperature it is outside. It's a sad argument, but a valid one for the purveyors of crapware.

Wouldn't it seem odd to someone if drug dealers advertised their services in newspaper ads?

Yes, it'd be odd that there's still a drug dealer out there that hasn't discovered Craigslist yet.

Re:Paradox (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320771)

Because there will always be one sucker who is poerfectly willing to give up their spare processor cycles and demographic info in exchange for a taskbar icon that tells them what temperature it is outside.

What kind of an argument is that? First if he can't access the site because it's filtered how he will install anything.

And second, if 0.001% of a population prefers to be robbed and tortured for fun, does it mean that robbery and torture should be legal for the rest 99.999% ?

Re:Paradox (0, Redundant)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320843)

What kind of an argument is that?

Not mine, certainly. I'm just playing devil's advocate, and that's the sort of uproar I believe some outside agency declaring their sites blocked would cause in that industry. (And it is an industry.)

Consider how much crapware is actively installed by users who click through the EULA without a second thought, completely missing the fact that they just provided some entity permission to screw their machine and/or privacy, of the sort that might actually stand up in court. The crapware companies don't have a license agreement expertly crafted by Lawful/Evil characters for nothing, they're passing the blame onto the fool who clicks "OK," and they would probably stand by that fact.

Re:Paradox (2)

TheJediGeek (903350) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321209)

Which serves to illustrate the problems with EULAs currently. It's gotten absurd that these things have gotten so out of hand that you agree to not make derrogatory comments about the company or its products. I guess I violated that one with SOE multiple times.

Isn't there something in contract law about agreements that force you to give up certain rights are not binding?
Yet, a company can draft a ridiculous EULA and it's taken as gospel truth and the law.
That really needs to change.

Re:Paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15321366)

And second, if 0.001% of a population prefers to be [...] tortured for fun, does it mean that [...] torture should be legal for the rest 99.999% ?
The BDSM community has been fighting for the right to do whatever the hell they want with their own bodies for quite some time.

Re:Paradox (4, Interesting)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321088)

Wouldn't it seem odd to someone if drug dealers advertised their services in newspaper ads?
People providing, for example, "medical" marijuana in California in violation of federal law (i.e., "drug dealers") do advertise in newspapers, particularly the free urban weeklies -- which, being free for "users" (i.e., "readers") to access, are pretty much the best dead-tree newspaper equivalent of free public search engines, as far as advertising. And let's not even get started on prostitution.
Why isn't it odd they are allowed to reach audience via controlled ads on the search engines?
You seem to equivocating with the use of "they" here; the article is not about drug dealers being able to reach users via paid search engine ads. Drug dealers are not the same thing as people who sites may provide the download of "dangerous" content, which is often (even if unwelcome to many users) not illegal.
We also have Yahoo/Ask/Google's ability to filter and review their own ads and remove offensive ads.
Offensive is subjective. People are offended by different things. You'd probably be a lot less happy if everything anyone found "offensive" was swiftly and immediately removed from every search engine. Sure, the stuff you don't like would be gone, but I'd bet you'd find much of the stuff you do like would be gone too.

The Mysterious Future? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15321438)

> You'd probably be a lot less happy if everything anyone found "offensive" was swiftly and immediately removed from every search engine. Sure, the stuff you don't like would be gone, but I'd bet you'd find much of the stuff you do like would be gone too.

There would be one website left, and it would say "Bring back all the porn!"

Re:Paradox (2, Funny)

rthille (8526) | more than 8 years ago | (#15322167)

If they paid attention to what I found offensive, everyone would have a much harder time finding information about Microsoft products...

Re:Paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15322757)

Thank you for that valuable contribution to this discussion. So informative, so topical. Didn't come across at all like a bizarre off-topic rant from a geek lunatic. Not at all.

Honey Monkey (1)

CSHARP123 (904951) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320670)

Overall, MSN search results had the lowest percentage (3.9%) of dangerous sites while Ask search results had the highest percentage (6.1%). Google was in between (5.3%). Check the comprehensive study for all the data."

Microsoft's Strider HoneyMonkey Exploit Detection System seems to be working.

Re:Honey Monkey (1)

DaHat (247651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320734)

I think that a pro-Microsoftie has taken over Zonk's account... he permitted something good to be said about Microsoft... on Slashdot!

hmm (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15320686)

Once again, MSN proves to be the superior choice when it comes to search engine

Re:hmm (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321384)

Or perhaps the sponsored links suck because nobody wants to be on MSN because nobody uses MSN because MSN sucks?

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15322827)

This time it was only a joke, but we appreciate your vigilance in staying on the alert for anything that might even resemble something not bad being said about MS. For that is the greatest threat mankind has ever known, and you have our utmost admiration for devoting your life to such a noble cause. While others may be concerned about things like war, or hunger, or AIDS, thankfully you've recognized what really matters.

Funny, I just got this in the sidebar from the BBC (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320708)

It would be nice if search engines would look for known exploits, and they should autocheck the top hits on the top searches.

Didn't realize McAfee bought SiteAdvisor (2, Interesting)

syphax (189065) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320741)


It's hardly surprising, but I don't trust the AV companies. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but they simply have an interest in keep in us scared about viruses and such so that we buy their products.

When SiteAdvisor was independent, I felt I could trust it (partly because they it founded by geeks). Of course, I had no idea how they planned to stay in business, but as a free service it was great. Now I have the perception, at least, that it could have an agenda beyond objective detection of spyware etc. (mainly, scaring the bejeezus out of us).

Re:Didn't realize McAfee bought SiteAdvisor (1)

Naurgrim (516378) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321490)

I was very unhappy when I heard that McAfee bought SiteAdvisor. I had recommended SiteAdvisor to a few clients who's kids were repeatedly screwing up thier machines, and it really seemed useful, seemed to help. I'm sure that McE will have SiteAdvisor all screwed up in a matter of months. Can't blame the guys that came up with SA, hope they got good money and retired to Tahiti or sumpin'...

It's a tough place to be - explaining to mom or dad why they are again paying me to scrape junior's machine. It's an honest and valid question from an end user - "what can we do to prevent this?"

Same old speach: use firefox, don't use any AOL products, don't download random crappy binaries, use AVG, maybe something like SpySweeper or even MS Antispyware / Windows Defender.

Sure, it's income, money for my employer to pay my salary, but it ain't clean money.

Re:Didn't realize McAfee bought SiteAdvisor (1)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15322204)

"what can we do to prevent this?" I tell them, I can install Linux, or they can buy a Mac, or they can run Bart PE from a CDROM. Only one lonely Linux convert so far, but lots of repeat scraping business. Most people want to suffer.

web 2.0 to the rescue! (3, Interesting)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320781)

Ok.. so we need an "anti-digg", where you bookmark a site and tag it with negative tags... then abrowser plugin to set your browser to have a threshold of allowed "badness".. the finally a "meta filter" on google to strip out results from crap you don't want.

Re:web 2.0 to the rescue! (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320926)

Maybe that'd be better formed as an anti-del.icio.us. Is y.uc.ky a valid domain?

Re:web 2.0 to the rescue! (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321122)

If not, atr.ocio.us certainly is.

Re:web 2.0 to the rescue! (2, Insightful)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321158)

As are na.use.us, fu.rio.us, and mal.icio.us. I like that last one a lot.

Re:web 2.0 to the rescue! (1)

baadger (764884) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321470)

errr del.icio.us already has the "icio.us" domain, so anything ending in -icious is out.

like OMG!!!!11 (3, Funny)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320801)

The most dangerous keywords include "free screensavers," "bearshare," "kazaa," "download music" and "free games."

OMG LOOK at those CUTE LI'L Puppies and Kittens on www.screensavers.com !!111 How can a website with LIKE SO MUCH Cuteness be evil ????!!!

screensavers.com just DESERVES it's top "Sponsored Link" spot in Google's results!!1

kthxbye!!

Seach engine filter (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320823)

It would rock if some search engine decided to not index content that had ActiveX controls on it. Or sites that SiteAdvisor (or some other heuristic) indicates is unsafe. It would cut the revenue stream from these sites fairly quickly. I would probably pay for such a service if it meant that it cut revenue from these jerks.

Not that any of this is any excuse for the foolish security flaws (IE,running as admin) and naive user actions (installing anything, ignoring EULAs, etc.).

Re:Seach engine filter (1)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15322227)

Why not just use browser that doesn't do Active-X?

Viability of the Ad Based Model (3, Interesting)

Goblez (928516) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320895)

Having been exposed to the Internet at a young age (for both it and myself), I've learned over the years never to touch Ads. Whether benign looking links in my Gmail to the annoying flash ads, there is no way I'm touching them. If I need a product, I find the manufacturer or vendor's website and do what I need to there.

So I pose the question, how long will the ad based revenue system remain relevant once your common internetite learns this lesson?

Re:Viability of the Ad Based Model (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321141)

So I pose the question, how long will the ad based revenue system remain relevant once your common internetite learns this lesson?
About as long as advertising-based revenue systems in TV, dead-tree media, and elsewher will remain relevant.

Re:Viability of the Ad Based Model (1)

BabyDriver (749379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15322073)

Having been exposed to the Internet at a young age (for both it and myself), I've learned over the years never to touch Ads. Whether benign looking links in my Gmail to the annoying flash ads, there is no way I'm touching them. If I need a product, I find the manufacturer or vendor's website and do what I need to there.

So I pose the question, how long will the ad based revenue system remain relevant once your common internetite learns this lesson?

I don't think they will learn TBH. If they do, well I would refer you to Phineas T. Barnum's comments about birth rates

Why Isn't Google Leading In This Area? (5, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320925)

Why isn't Google performing a value added function here of flagging all sites they've spidered for the following malware before presenting them as search results:

1: Virus
2: Attempted AdWare installs
3: Attempted Spyware installs
4: ActiveX controls
5: Java required
6: Anything else that it attempts to install when you visit
7: Sites that disable, or attempt to, your browser features like Right Click.
8: Sites that are only redirection sites.

and most of all
are you ready?

9: Sites that make themselves anywhere from hard to impossible to exit from afterwards without, at minimum, killing your browser process.

Flagging questionable, along with outright bad, sites would protect users, while likely reducing their traffic - which is what they deserve to have happen to them. More than twice I've used the Google cache to read a site's static content rather than risk visiting them directly.

And while they're at it, add an easily clickable link to tell Google that this site appears gone, or substantially changed from the search result summary and ought to be re-spidered ASAP would be nice too. Enlist your users in identifying bad search results.

Someone who does all this would have a strong hold on my search business.

Re:Why Isn't Google Leading In This Area? (1)

Larry Lightbulb (781175) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321203)

"And while they're at it, add an easily clickable link to tell Google that this site appears gone, or substantially changed from the search result summary and ought to be re-spidered ASAP would be nice too."

It would be good if that happened, Google is already wildly out of date for pages that have changed months ago.

Re:Why Isn't Google Leading In This Area? (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321482)

>5: Java required

That's not malware. Hushmail, for example, makes legitimate use of Java to do the encryption/decryption on your own machine so that plaintext never touches their servers.

Re:Why Isn't Google Leading In This Area? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15322093)

That's not malware. Hushmail, for example, makes legitimate use of Java to do the encryption/decryption on your own machine so that plaintext never touches their servers.

That still doesn't mean I wouldn't like to know about it before I go to their site.

Cut 5% of their profits? (1)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321566)

It's all about the money. Google gets this money. It's 5% or so of their profits. How can you expect them to be a good company? Oh, that whole be nice and crap and "do no evil"(tm) mumbo jumbo. It's do no evil, unless it affects your profits.

Re:Why Isn't Google Leading In This Area? (0)

zero1101 (444838) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321715)

I like the idea. I wonder if Google could manage to buy WebSense, who already has that type of information available.

Re:Why Isn't Google Leading In This Area? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321935)

Google Safe Browsing does have features to identify phishing sites. But attempted downloads are, really, something your browser ought to defend you against; a browser that will download and install software without you giving specific permission (or actively disabling sensible behavior) first isn't the search engines fault, and Google shouldn't protect people from sites that present them the possibility of installing software. Nor should it be primarily Google's job to evaluate the software available for download.

Of course, Google Co-op [google.com] provides a platform for anyone who wants to start an adware/etc. (or anything else) tagging system to deploy it in Google's search engine.

Re:Why Isn't Google Leading In This Area? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15322109)

Google shouldn't protect people from sites that present them the possibility of installing software.

Not protect, but inform you ahead of time. There is a difference.

Re:Why Isn't Google Leading In This Area? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15322413)

I still don't see why that's Google's responsibility at all. Sure, it would be a nice feature to have (though its probably also not hard to prevent Google's spider from knowing that, in the first place, so outside of sponsored links, where conceivably active ongoing review is possible, though expensive, I don't see it working as an automated system.)

Still, I think the Google Co-op approach is a far more comprehensive way of addressing this and a whole host of other content-information problems holistically, rather than addressing each kind of potentially bothersome content by its own top-down, one-source's-judgement initiative, by providing a common platform that interested third parties can use to deliver any kind of content labels they want, where users can subscribe to whatever content-tagging services they choose.

Re:Why Isn't Google Leading In This Area? (1)

_Neurotic (39687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15322665)

Google doesn't have to do everything you know.

Site Advisor [siteadvisor.com]

ya, i saw that ad (0)

moochfish (822730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320955)

I become a milli0naire in just one wEek! You too can jo1n my elite circle off close personel frieNds by folowign my "Guranteeed for Success" pamplet. Clik h3re for more detai1s.

Economic Costs (1)

irimi_00 (962766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15320962)

These are generally blatantly obvious to a decently technological savvy person. It is totally irresponsible for search engines not to totally reject these, and probably costs the economy lots of money.

They should have some sort of reporting program...
Find our sponsors useless and noxious?... report here.

This will probably be a natural evolution, however.

Duh (2, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321008)

From TFA:
The most dangerous keywords include "free screensavers," "bearshare," "kazaa," "download music" and "free games."
Er, so the results on searches specifically for products that include spyware are particularly likely to include spyware. Well, duh.
Users can't count on search engines to protect them; to the contrary, we find that search result rankings often do not reflect site safety.
Again, duh. The purpose of search ranking (particularly outside of sponsored results) is rather overtly to reflect relevance. Since relevance is pretty much orthogonal to (in cases where the search is for "kazaa" or "bearshare", perhaps opposed to) safety, it should come as no surprise that search rankings don't have any particularly consistent relation to safety. Expecting that it would is like expecting that you can use the price of a vehicle as a proxy for its gas mileage.

Couldn't they provide a ranking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15321010)

for the trustworthiness of each result?

If you like ask.com, but are worried about their results, you could use http://www.trustwatch.com/ [trustwatch.com] . They present ask.com results with a ranking system for each hit.

I'm not sure if anyone else is doing this kind of thing for the other search engines.

No sh*t, Sherlock (1)

AriaStar (964558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321098)

Scammers and spammers make an incredible amount of money, and a lot use internet users seem to think that a willingness to pay for advertising equals credibility because so few people fall for it! But in actuality, 3-7% of phishes are successful. And the info garnered from spyware is worth a great deal more than the cost of advertsising.

Take McAfee research with a pinch of salt (1)

dredre123 (962507) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321133)

Has a Mcaffee sponsored "comprehensive survey" ever yelded non-fear mongering results?

Have they ever come out and said: "This problem we're investigating... turns out not to be so bad after all, nothing to be alarmed about".

They have a serious conflict of interest. They are worse than investment banks publishing research on companies they own shares in.
An apt comparison may be to pharmaceuticals publishing forecasts for the spread of diseases for which they hold the patents for the cure.

Until I'll see independent research on this, I won't be swayed.

All your link are belong to us (1)

EntropyXP (956792) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321204)

I was backseat surfing with a friend the other day and we're on google searching for whatever, when he clicked on the sponsored link. I quickly slapped him with a trout.
I think most people must click on those things.
This is the same guy who pays me $100 to fix his PC each time it gets fooked. Hehe. I should have him clicking on this links all the time. ;-)

click here (4, Interesting)

esmrg (869061) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321246)

sponsored results
OK, it can cost a bit of money to get placed in sponsored results. So where does this money come from, when the sites paying for this high visibilty purportedly offer content for free?

We all knew the answer to that, before this article.

So how financially naive do you have be to click on a sponsored link with 'free' in the description - and not assume there is a hidden string attached?

That is like giving a $20 bill to the guy selling gum on the street in mexico and expecting change. In fact, I knew someone who did something similar to that in thailand. He didn't understand the language or the currency system, so he gave the peddler on the street his entire wad of bills and asked him to take what he owed him. The peddler took the money and ran off. That was his entire budget for the trip.

If clicking sponsored links is commonplace on the internet, common sense has degenerated to moronic levels.

-- "Common sense is for common people." - Dr. Piche

So why don't you change your browser? (1)

moria (829831) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321315)

It is not the search engines responsibility to filter websites having spyware/adware, but your browser's responsibility to not let it function.

Re:So why don't you change your browser? (1)

EntropyXP (956792) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321415)

That is why I love Opera. Hmmmmmm...... opera.

WTG MSN!!! (1)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 8 years ago | (#15321714)

Now, is it because no one bothers to pay MSN to place their dangerous site in the search? Or is it because MSN filters better?

Freeways Cause Automotive Crime (2, Funny)

Carcass666 (539381) | more than 8 years ago | (#15322645)

Representatives from the automotive insurance industry released a self-authored report yesterday that confirmed most freeways lead people through areas that are heavy in traffic, subject to increased probability of colissions and even vandalism and crime.

"I was shocked that people would create a place to drive my car without making sure there was no possiblity of me or my vehicle getting injured," stated a randomly selected driver.

Auto insurance representatives questioned for the story said the frightening study proves that their product (which provides no guaranteed protection against auto collisions) is absolutely essential to safe driving. When asked why they spend millions of dollars to make sure they are not held liable in all but the most obvious of cases, insurance representatives had not comment, but reminded everybody how dangerous freeways are, and suggested that people should hold the state liable for offering such questional places for people to drive their cars in the first place.

And In Other News... (1)

Esion Modnar (632431) | more than 8 years ago | (#15323070)

it's been discovered that predators prefer to hang out near watering holes, where all the zebra go.
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