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Advertising Crime Google Stats The Internet

Google Says It Killed 780 Million 'Bad Ads' In 2015 (cio.com) 92

itwbennett writes: According to a new Google report, the search giant disabled more than 780 million "bad ads," including include ads for counterfeit products, misleading or unapproved pharmaceuticals, weight loss scams, phishing ploys, unwanted software and "trick-to-click" cons, globally last year. This marks a 49 percent increase over 2014. For perspective, it would take an individual nearly 25 years to look at the 780 million ads Google removed last year for just one second each, according to Google. If the trend continues, Google's team of more than 1,000 staffers dedicated to killing spam will be even busier in 2016, and they could disable more than a billion junky ads.
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Google Says It Killed 780 Million 'Bad Ads' In 2015

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  • Me too (Score:5, Funny)

    by swimboy ( 30943 ) on Saturday January 23, 2016 @09:35AM (#51356585)

    I bet I killed at least that many by installing AdBlock.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I tried Firefox recently, after many years of using Chrome, and I was very surprised when Firefox started showing me "sponsored" tiles on the new tab page!

      The problem with this is two-fold:

      1) Firefox built the ads right into the browser.

      2) Firefox labeled them as "sponsored" instead of being honest and labeling them what they are: advertisements.

      I hear that they've come to their senses and are going to remove these ads, but the damage has still been done.

      How the hell can I trust Mozilla and Firefox after th

      • by Anonymous Coward

        1) Firefox built the ads right into the browser.

        1) right now they are limited to the default start page, something I barely even notice that it exists

        2) I have only seen static adds, no Flash, no JavaScript, just static images. That reduces the exploit surface quite a bit and limits the annoyance.

        3) I am more annoyed at pocket since it belongs into an add on that can be disabled/removed.

        How the hell can I trust Mozilla and Firefox after this debacle?

        The other big browsers are directly controlled by big names in the data mining / advertisement business. AFAIK Chromes plug-in API is crippled in how and when it can inte

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        How the hell can I trust Mozilla and Firefox after this debacle?

        You can't, like many other people can't trust them either. And that's one of the continuing reasons that their market share is declining. Though one of the ex-CEO's chased off by regressive whiners over their private decisions, is making a new browser that looks good. [brave.com] Though we'll have to see if that's the case in a few months or not. Source is here of course. [github.com]

      • 2) Firefox labeled them as "sponsored" instead of being honest and labeling them what they are: advertisements.

        What do you think sponsored means?

        • 2) Firefox labeled them as "sponsored" instead of being honest and labeling them what they are: advertisements.

          What do you think sponsored means?

          Yeah, that puzzled me too. OP apparently doesn't understand English.

        • 2) Firefox labeled them as "sponsored" instead of being honest and labeling them what they are: advertisements.

          What do you think sponsored means?

          Sponsored means supporting someone financially or some other way. It does not have to involve advertisement, that is a particular case of sponsorship, but "sponsored" sounds posher.

          Sponsor : "One who enters an engagement on behalf of another." - according to the Shorter Oxford Dictionary.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I bet I killed at least that many by installing AdBlock.

      Install ublock. AdBlock no longer blocks everything, they white list advertisers who pay them a generous fee.Google it for more info.

      • by swimboy ( 30943 )

        Just because AdBlock *can* allow "non-intrusive advertising" doesn't mean that my copy is configured that way. AdBlock absolutely blocks everything when you tell it to. I concede that it sucks that it's not configured that way out-of-the-box, and ublock may be better, but saying that AdBlock no longer blocks everything is patently false.

  • by theodp ( 442580 ) on Saturday January 23, 2016 @09:40AM (#51356597)

    ...did it deliver? :-)

  • The only good ads are dead ads, so these 780 million are arguably better than the ones that Google spared.
  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Saturday January 23, 2016 @09:41AM (#51356603) Homepage

    including include ads for counterfeit products

    You do know typos make the site look stupid and unprofessional, right? But you just don't care?

    Posted by timothy

    Never mind.

    • Timmay!!!!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They do it on purpose to increase clicks by people like you.

  • I download a number of mods for a popular open source game for members of the family. The mods are hosted on adfly and this site does a very poor job getting ride of malicious ads. There are literally four or five 'Download' buttons that try to trick users into clicking on them to download the hosted file. A person in the family accidentally did this once and it resulted in installing four malvertizing programs. I wold highly recommend using an ad blocker.
    • I download a number of mods for a popular open source game for members of the family. The mods are hosted on adfly and this site does a very poor job getting ride of malicious ads.

      Doing a "poor job"? No, they are doing exactly the job they are paid to do. adfly, and others like it, exist for the sole purpose of delivering malicious and/or fraudulent advertising. I have yet to see adfly display an ad that WASN'T malware or completely fraudulent.

      • I'd never even think of clicking on something with a name remotely like "adfly". Are you kidding!

        Names like that lead, at best. to clickbait crap. Funny, so many scummy enterprises have urls that are like the bright coloration on the most toxic critters, a warning of the perils of proximity.

  • In other words, about 10% of them.

  • by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Saturday January 23, 2016 @10:47AM (#51356763)
    Love or hat google, in my experience their ads rarely if ever are spammy, malware laden trash. Meaning they do a fair job of policing tier ad network. If they had a nearly 50% increase in the number of bad ads removed, it stands to reason that the other ad networks may have more (as the spammers know to use them and not Google).
    This is why the use of adblockers is exploding. Annoyance is one thing. Outright fraud and malware is another. When maybe 10% or more of ads are dangerous in some way, a person that browses 50 pages in a day, each with multiple ads will be exposed at least once, if not much more often to potential junk.

    These aren't just shady overseas viagra and porn sites either, it is coming from mainstream sites. My local news station's website was delivering an ad that targeted nexus users with a scam that replaced their news page.

    I am just afraid we will see lot's of good content die with the ad networks.

  • The harder people push back against ads, the more arrogant and "Fuck You" the advertisers become. It's really getting to the point where finding information on the internet is looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack because of all the advertising pitfalls, page rank gaming, etc.. and the search engines simply aren't up to the task of sorting out what you need anymore. It's all noise.

    My effective, useful Internet has shrunk to about five websites. Every time I open the door to another website it se

    • The harder people push back against ads, the more arrogant and "Fuck You" the advertisers become. It's really getting to the point where finding information on the internet is looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack because of all the advertising pitfalls, page rank gaming, etc.. and the search engines simply aren't up to the task of sorting out what you need anymore. It's all noise.

      You figure the advertisers are going to win after the internet becomes unusable? I'm not going to turn off my adblocker to look at sites that won't let me in because I'm using one. It isn't the right solution. If the customer becomes the enemy, then the advertiser shouldn't be too surprised if the customer treats them like the enemy.

      I have no responsibility to break through my smartphone's data cap just because someone thinks I should be forced to see ad's about what some housewife in Pennsylvania discove

  • by ugen ( 93902 ) on Saturday January 23, 2016 @11:36AM (#51356919)

    Yep, I noticed that. I am running an ad for my (very small, independent) software product. It's essentially a hobby - sales are barely break-even with related hosting, and AdWords bring about half. I don't have much time to deal with AdWords so ads are mostly fixed. Occasionally (about once a year) I shuffle a few words in the text. Sometime early this year I did that again - and suddenly my ads were blocked "due to policy violation". Automated email requires you to review policy and edit ads for compliance - but there is no policy as such (at least nothing is clearly explained in writing). So I did my best guessing what they may want, edited ads again and resubmitted - same result. I re-edited the ads to original text, resubmitted - and at that point my ads were blocked again and then my entire AdWords account was blocked for "repeated violations"
    Through that time I attempted to contact AdWords support through online form (they don't expose direct email). I received several pointless replies - none of which directly answered my questions. Once account was blocked - I started calling. Most calls end up in the Indian call center, where reps seem to have neither desire nor ability to help, nor do they know what the actual rules are. I've been given several (perhaps 6?) different versions of what needs to be changed in the ad, on the web site and in the product itself. Examples include - "put EULA directly on the download page", "provide product removal instructions on the download page" (mind you, product removal instructions are - "drag application into the trash folder", quite literally). My favorite was a demand to "provide direct email for users to email my support on the download page", this is from AdWords that go to great lengths to hide their own email and allow only un-trackable contact through the web site. For comparison, I run a proper support ticket system - but there was no convincing them.

    As far as I could tell, Indian associates had no authority to deal with issues whatsoever and themselves had to contact a 3rd party (with unknown degree of authority) for answers or clarifications. Even when I made required changes, and resubmitted account for review (as they suggested) - either nothing happened at all or an automated message would come a few days later restating account and/or ad blocking for "policy violations". The cycle of response was running at 1 week per question.

    In parallel, to provide at least some visibility, I had to put ads on Bing. That's a whole another story, but suffice it to say - Bing payment vs. click rates did not make sense and I had to stop in about a month.

    The final demand was to put the name of actual software package into the ad. Back 8 years ago when I started, I picked a fairly long name for a product - it seemed fun at the time. Putting that name into character-limited ad would leave no space to say anything useful about the software. I suggested that software name could be placed in the URL (which normally references company name, they are similar but not the same). Customer reps. stated that this is not going to help - the name must be in the text. Nevertheless, I decided to try. I registered a new domain that matched software name and resubmitted the ad. As soon as I did - ad was approved and remains so.

    I suspect that through the entire process there was no connection at all between the (likely automated) review of ads and customer service. Ads marked as "bad" are probably left in that state forever, regardless of advertisers actions. By the time I changed the url either the giant push to "remove bad ads" was over or something's changed in automated rating, so the "new" ad passed. Curiously, ads for competing products (same industry, same type of software) ran unimpeded throughout the entire period, even though they do not comply with any of the requirements that were given to me. Perhaps they were smart enough to make no changes to ads during that time :)

    In conclusion - I am sure a V-level manager at Google reported

    • To me this was yet another proof that Google became too big for what it is, and on an individual level dealing with Google is harder and less pleasant than dealing with a cable company.

      I don't think 'too big' is a good description for the fundamental problem. The real problem is that Google's business model has always relied on razor thin margins, and so it only makes a profit if it automates all of it's business processes. This works well for the vast majority of use cases, but when you get an edge case, such as yours their systems just aren't set up to to deal with it.

      Rather than increase the complexity of their business processes they have made an explicit decision to just not care abo

    • To me this was yet another proof that Google became too big for what it is, and on an individual level dealing with Google is harder and less pleasant than dealing with a cable company.

      ^^^ THIS, times a million billion.

      Google is nearly impossible to deal with. They don't let you contact them directly (which is infuriating all by itself) and when you do finally get to someone, 98% of the time they can't or won't help you.

      Google has become a victim of its own success, a behemoth that is so desensitized that it's like a battleship cruising down a country lane...it doesn't even notice you as it ambles along, crushing everything in its path, oblivious to the fact that the tiny little humans a

  • I want to disable all these stupid "dynamic HTML" ads. I also don't want to video ads because even if they're not auto-playing they could be pre-loading the video file in the background, wasting bandwidth.

  • "...killed 780 million bad ads"

    So they got about 10% of them, is that what they're saying?

    It's nice to know, but it's not really a problem for me, since I use Adblock and Noscript.

  • No mention of "politically unreliable" messages having gone missing. Yet.
  • With my Ad Blocker.
  • There a non-bad ads?

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