Google Cracks Down on Scam Ads

Google announced in a blog post that they would be fighting back against scam ads which trick users into visiting malicious sites using the Google ad network. This is great news for businesses who advertise legitimately, and also for everyday Internet users who will soon be able to click on links without worrying about Trojan horses, malicious tracking cookies or spy-ware infecting their computer.

In a series of blog posts which spanned the past couple of months, Google has been attempting to make the process behind fighting these ads more transparent. They’ve made improvements across the board; from improved ‘query watch’ to creating new ‘risk models’. In 2011, Google removed over 130 million bad ads, and the number of bad ads reduced by 50% on 2010.

This graph shows the increasing number of scam ads which have been removed by Google since 2008. It’s interesting to see that the number of accounts suspended shows a huge increase, which shows that Google is cracking down on repeat offenders. However, while this may deter the occasional offender, it is the repeat scam artist who will learn and keep attempting to post malicious ads.

So how do they keep the Google ad network scam free?

They use a ‘three pronged’ approach of detection which looks at the advertiser account, the advert, and the linked site. If any of these raises suspicion, then this will trigger a signal to ensure the rest will be monitored closely.

Why is this important?

The act of users clicking on Google ad links relies entirely on trust, Google has to be seen to be only allowing reputable websites advertise. In the same way that a regular bricks and mortar store is responsible for the fliers they allow in their window, Google is indirectly responsible for the links their search engine encourages you to click on.

If they didn’t take a pro-active approach to keeping out malicious content there would be no incentive for reputable companies to advertise on Google as the user’s trust would be lost. Hence their enormous campaign to stamp out scam ads.