Search Engines Accused Of Being Soft On Scammers - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News
News
10/9/2006
06:52 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Search Engines Accused Of Being Soft On Scammers

Search engines are getting away with running deceptive ads, says spyware researcher Ben Edelman.

A spyware researcher charges that Google and other major search engines are running ads that "push and exceed the limits of ethical and legal advertising."

Researcher Ben Edelman issued a report on pay-per-click advertising Monday, which also noted that search engines aren't liable for distributing false and deceptive ads. Under the Communications Decency Act, "Google, as a provider of an interactive computer service, may not be treated as the publisher of content others provide through that service," Edelman writes. "Even if a printed publication would face liability for printing the same ads Google shows, it appears that Google may invoke [the CDA] to distribute such ads online with impunity."

Google says it fights deceptive advertising.

"When we become aware of deceptive ads, we take them down," a Google spokesperson explained in an e-mail. "According to the Google AdWords Editorial Guidelines, 'If your ad includes a price, special discount, or 'free offer,' it must be clearly and accurately displayed on your website within 1-2 clicks of your ad's landing page.' We will review the ads referenced in this report, and remove them if they do not adhere to our guidelines."

Google's AdWords Content Policy also details at length the kinds of ads it forbids, such as pitches for spamming services, drugs, and prostitution.

But as Edelman sees it, Google isn't doing enough, despite the apparent lawfulness of its practices. "Google created this mess—by making it so easy for all companies, even scammers, to buy Internet advertising," he writes.

The ads Edelman takes issue with are offers for software that is supposedly free but isn't and pitches that attempt to deceive consumers about the identity of advertisers or products, in effect violating trademark law and Federal Trade Commission rules.

Edelman concedes that Google has been making some headway in this area by implementing systems to enforce its ad content policy, but urges the company to do more.

A likely consequence of more aggressive enforcement, however, is loss of revenue. And that's not something most companies pursue with much enthusiasm.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
News
Can Cloud Revolutionize Business and Software Architecture?
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  1/15/2021
Slideshows
10 IT Trends to Watch for in 2021
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  12/22/2020
News
How CDOs Can Build Insight-Driven Organizations
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  1/15/2021
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll