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Google AdSense Advertisers Forcing SpyWare Downloads

Lots of complaints from users who are being forced to download garbage

     
4:58 pm on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'm starting to get a lot of complaints from our users regarding advertisements on our google ads. They're saying that when they click on the ad, and go to the site, they're forced to download spyware, new toolbars, etc. Of course, the users who don't understand Google ads and how they work think that we are personally setting up these ads to load spy/adware and that of course isn't true.

I have been blocking a lot of these sites through the competitive URL filter, but it's starting to become a common occurrence.

Do you think Google is aware that their advertisers are doing this? Do you think they care?

Just curious

6:09 pm on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Do you think Google is aware that their advertisers are doing this? Do you think they care?

I'm sure they have no desire to expose users to malware (after all, Google Search specifically warns users against sites that may attempt to install malware). Unfortunately, they can't anticipate or prevent every nasty thing that an advertiser might or might not do.

In addition to blocking scumbag advertisers' sites with the competitive ad filter, why not show that you care by reporting the culprits to Google?

6:15 pm on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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why not show that you care by reporting the culprits to Google

I have, no responses yet however.

6:40 pm on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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New Google Adsense Publishers Using SpyWare

You are an AdSense Publisher
They are AdWords Advertisers

Keep reporting them by clicking on the "Ads by Gooooogle" image in your adblock, also emailing Google including in both the offending urls and type of infection, the beast is slow but not deaf.

1:56 am on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Keep reporting them by clicking on the "Ads by Gooooogle" image in your adblock, also emailing Google including in both the offending urls and type of infection, the beast is slow but not deaf.

Correct, only way to do it. Google aren't going to put their heads in the sand.

1:59 am on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Moreover, you likely will never get much of a response to a specific ad or advertiser or situation, for the sake of privacy. Which is as it should be.
2:39 pm on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I guess I'd assume if Google is being proactive on providing information on malicious sites in the search results, they'd at least look after their own inventory. When their adsense bots are crawling, it'd be nice if they could detect this garbage from the beginning so it doesn't drip down to users.

The intent of this wasn't to hate on Google, just get some understanding if it was happening in industries outside mine. Google is still the largest advertiser with us for the last 4+ years - and we're grateful for that.

3:02 pm on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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When their adsense bots are crawling, it'd be nice if they could detect this garbage from the beginning so it doesn't drip down to users.

Do you mean "AdWords bots"? We're talking about advertisers' sites, not publishers' sites. Also, any advertiser who's knowingly serving up malware could very well be using some kind of cloaking or other measures to fool the AdWords bot. Cybercriminals may be evil, but they tend not to be stupid.

ADDENDUM: This Wired article [wired.com] is about credit-card hackers, but it may provide some understanding of the kinds of people (and talent) that Google and other search engines or ad vendors are up against.

4:11 pm on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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If I came across an ad that I was sure was performing some kind of act of malware, I would probably first email AdWords direct (adwords-support@google.com) and make sure I include some urgency in the subject like MALWARE ADWORDS ADS, and then I'd probably also go over to the Google Help group and post it over there, because there are AdWords support people hanging out there, and probably would also post it to Twitter, cause there are some AdWords people there.

The main point being - there *are* ways to bring urgent situations to Google's attention.

And for something like this, you'll probably get there a lot faster if you go through AdWords and not AdSense.