All of ocdtrekkie's Comments + Replies

Why I Work on Ads

jefftk, you state you're open to being convinced that you're causing harm through your work. So let me take a crack:

Have you read about the "rehabs near me" incident that the Verge uncovered? https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/7/16257412/rehabs-near-me-google-search-scam-florida-treatment-centers

Yes, Google chose to act *after it became public*, but Google was operating a major market segment, where they had dedicated members of the Ads sales team working on fostering a business area that was... outright predatory. At a CPC of $230, big money was moving here.... (read more)

4Zolmeister1moNever attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. It sounds like the fraud involved was extremely sophisticated, as it was hiding behind state negligence [https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20170517/notorious-treatment-center-operator-chatman-gets-27-years-in-prison] . Google now requires these advertisers to be licenced by a reputable third party [https://www.naatp.org/resources/news/naatp-partners-google-and-legitscript/apr-17-2018] . In 2011 Google settled a negligence case [https://money.cnn.com/2011/08/24/technology/google_settlement/index.htm] regarding illegal pharmaceutical sales for $500 million. I find it hard to imagine this is true within reputable ad networks, though I agree that such content is endemic to online advertising.
1FireStormOOO1moIDK how many repeats you get or if you're looking for tools, but if so, consider setting DNS to one of the public DNS providers (e.g. OpenDNS) that provide some basic web filtering of malicious websites without otherwise breaking the internet too much. The Ghostery plugin for chrome/edge is also worth a look. Even without setting it to block ads or analytics, it shuts down shady behavior like multiple redirects that many of those bad ads rely on. Can be configured to do more but gets progressively higher touch. Both lowish touch free options.
9jefftk1moIt sounds like you're talking about ads on search results? I work on display ads and don't know very much about the search side of things. I don't have any internal information, but some thoughts on the examples you're listing: * Scammers placing ads is harmful, though not unique to advertising. The article you link describes a similar issue happening in the phonebook era. It's very hard to tell from this sort of investigation how well a service is doing at avoiding abuse. * "Google Ads are regularly hijacked, such that they present https://youtube.com [https://youtube.com] or https://bestbuy.com [https://bestbuy.com] as the destination, but lead to a fraudulent website" Is this actually common? Looking at your link, it's hard to tell what happened in that case but I think it was probably an open redirect on amazon.com [http://amazon.com]? * I'm not able to find any examples of ads against "MapQuest" searching on my laptop or phone in a couple different browsers; you don't happen to have screenshots? * "It's in the best interests of Google for the consumer to click on an ad, not a search result. So even if Google has the best search result, it's goal is to get the consumer to click on the ad." This misses that there's enormous value in giving users a good experience long-term, where they keep coming back. But again, I know very little about this kind of advertising, since I work in a completely separate part of the industry.