Monday, April 30, 2007

Don't Click that Ad

Apparently, Google technology is good enough that it's being taken advantage of even by people seeking to install malware on your computer. According to this article from CNET, there has been a coordinated effort to purchase ads which link to the web site (no link for obvious reasons). When people clicked on the ads, the smarttrack web site would attempt to install software which would capture passwords from their systems.

The interesting question this raises though, is what responsibility Google has for placing the ads. The Google brand is based on a reputation for providing people with content that they actually want (e.g., good search results, or targeted ads). If what Google provides is not only not what people want, but is actually harmful that could, at very least, damage the brand which is the basis for Google's incredible market capitalization. At this point, Google has stated that they are "are also evaluating...[their] systems to ensure that the appropriate measures are in place to block future attempts." Whether those measures will be successful (and what will happen if they aren't) is another question entirely, which is important not just for Google, but potentially for anyone who places targeted internet content.

No comments: