Saturday, January 28, 2006

Pushing spyware through search

Ben Edelman points out how Google is a major player in the distribution of spyware by accepting paid advertising from companies that distribute it. The data is now easily available, thanks to SiteAdvisor.com, about which sites are distributing this crap, and if Google really wants to not be evil, they should start refusing the money of these sleazy companies.

This is a parallel situation to Internet providers who provide connectivity to known spammers. I am pleased to work for a company that has a strict acceptable use policy (which I helped write, and which my organization is responsible for enforcing), which allows us to take appropriate steps to keep spammers off our network and quickly terminate contracts and access of those who manage to make it on. But too many are unwilling to say no to the money, and look the other way when their contracts are violated, which unfortunately includes the big guys (SBC, which is now part of AT&T, and MCI, which is now part of Verizon, are two of the very worst offenders out there).

2 comments:

Mike Linksvayer said...

if Google really wants to not be evil, they should start refusing the money of these sleazy companies.

Or they could include siteadvisor icons in their paid listings. If malware advertisers still want to pay such ads, more power to them.

Network use is not visible. I can't think of a comparable way for ISPs to take spammers money and retain some dignity.

Jim Lippard said...

Hey, Mike, thanks for the post.

I don't think I agree with you--I think a responsible business, whether it's an ISP or a webhosting company or a search company, should refuse to do business with companies that are involved with such nefarious tactics as the distribution of malware.