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You probably have heard of "scumware" programs. They are programs that get installed when you download programs like BearShare and AudioGalaxy. Sometimes these scuzzy programs just spy on users and report where they go. The worst programs actually target users with pop-ups. They appear at random intervals, or target users based on what they type on any website.
Most of you already know this, and I know that lots of you despise these scumware products. Jim over at SEF actually started www.scumware.com to combat this junk. The most persistent question that we get at Google is "When did you guys start showing pop-ups?" It's really discouraging because we *don't* show pop-ups and never intend to. We work hard to make Google a useful, fast site for users, and I hate that other companies are abusing our reputation for their own profit. A lot of these scumware products target your websites all over the net, too.
Sometime in the next few days, I think we're going to put a promo line on our home page. It will say something like "Google does not show pop-up advertising. Here's why" with a link to a background page. It will explain our position against pop-up ads, tell how to uninstall scumware, and mention how to complain to the FTC.
So why am I telling you about this in advance? Basically, we're on the same side against scumware, and it would help if other websites took action too. If you dislike scumware that highlights links on your site without your permission, or triggers pop-ups, please help us out. Put anti-scumware messages on your pages, or write the FTC, or just spread the word about scumware. I'd also be curious if you have other suggestions for stamping out scumware.
thanks in advance for anyone willing to help,
For example the help page states:
If you feel you were deceived when you installed a program that creates pop-ups, you may want to take action.
Why don't you mention how scumware monitors user's actions? If you are going to tell them they were deceived you might as well explain it ALL to them.
What if the scumware tracks users' keywords entered into Google? Wouldn't Google's users like to become aware of how their surfing patterns are being matched?
I'm just wondering why Google does not clearly point out that some programs do this behind the scenes without letting the user know. What if the program does not serve pop-ups and just sends the data along? Wouldn't users want to know about this as well?
The message i got from Googleguy's posts is that they are getting flak because popups pop up when people are surfing their site. from scumware. People dont understand that this does not come from Google. And Google's key brand perception is of uncluttered uncommercilly biased results.
GG is quite honest I think that the motivation is quite selfish. They have to keep their strong brand name.
In encouraging others to follow their lead here, .. it's a secondary consideration though laudable...
This also addresses msgraph's question too I feel. The key damage done to Google's brand is in the pop-ups, not information gathering.
Why not try some community service at the same time as saving your brand from damage..? I'm all for it..
No doubt about it, google's just having the same problem any publisher has. And, I might add (cynically), these pop-ups do compete with adwords. Still, google is right to assume that they are being tarred. Backus found an example of that here, dating back to late Nov. (thanks Backus) subtitle: Has Google really gone and stooped to that? [webmasterworld.com]
2002 is shaping up as an interesting search engine year.
I don't think Google can stop all scumware programs, but it seems worthwhile to educate users about the ones that are sneaky enough to do pop-ups wherever you go. So far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, so I hope that we're doing a good job of bringing users up to speed about these issues.
I have a fair idea, since I wrote it.
But still, it does detect some of the commoner parasites (including my "favourite" VX2), and it doesn't slow down page loading or anything, so it's an overall 'win' in my admittedly biased book. :-)
I'm happy to let anyone link, copy or alter the script. If Google wanted to use a variant of it, you'd probably want to take out the entries for things like Onflow and BDE, though, since although they are stealth-installs with possible harmful effects, they do not generate pop-ups.
On this page: [google.com...]
you have written about the possible reasons a user may
see a pop-up when browsing google. One of the common
reasons which is missed is 'onunload' pop-ups which are
being triggered when you leave a web site. So, if you're
browsing one of those sites and then enter google you'll
see one of those ads.
A good example:
Browse: [anvari.org...] and you wont see
any banners. Now, type [google.com...] in your
browser's address bar and you'll see a pop-up!
Last time I looked, they load a pop up for visitors leaving your site.
On my site over 60% are Google searches (I know that should be lower) therefore if these people clicked "back" after coming to my site and I used exitfuel, you can understand why people would think Google is showing pop ups
If that sounds reminiscent of "weblogs", well Im sure that the weblogging genre owes much to Hunter S Thompson. Many weblogs are "on-line gonzo", and some are credible and substantive extensions of the Hunter S thompson style to the on-line world.
On the other hand, for some reason the term got picked up by marketers (Hunter would have a fit about this and reach for the substances kept by his lawyer Raoul in his suitcase, seeing he was the epitome of ant-establishment and left wing causes). The term was badly misused by the marketers, and it has suffered so much that now the term gonzo is just marketing hype.
The editor in the category has refused my submission on the grounds that popups are tedious (they are in fact). I have tons of original and useful content for teachers (I am now getting about 4000 page views per day) but I can't get listed in the directory because I allow Burstmedia to show popunders sometimes. The popunders happen about 20% of the time and they are not to obnoxious.
The thing is all these "geo-targetted ads" are for the US when Im in the UK. I asked someone from the US to see my site and they were attacked by pop ups
Ive just got one pop up able to be run now, thus eliminating the fact, perhaps you might want to do the same!
But, I think looking at them as revenue earners is a short term view. The less people I make angry with them translates to more repeat traffic. This in turn means more revenue from lower paying banner ads. (I hope).
If you go to your "ad profile" and manually select, you can choose what ads are shown. Click on "ad exec" and you will get you choice of ads. Something like the top five for me are pop ups, so I just picked the first, highest paid one :)
apart from that, I dont go below .50CPM and choose only relevant CPC campaigns. Any flashing / annoying banners are out the window. This way, ensuring that your ads are 'ok', page views go up and you have a bare minimum income until you find something better :)
hope this helps