Google Aggressive In Tracking Down Scam Ads

by , May 25, 2012, 8:03 PM
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Google continues its fight against scam paid-search ads. The company on Friday released statistics on advertising scams across its company sites and those of AdSense partners.

In 2011, Google shut down 824,000 advertisers, as well as disapproved 134 million ads for violating policies -- up from 248,000 and 56.7 million, respectively, in 2010. Tens of millions of dollars, and hundreds of engineers and policy experts, went into building systems and tools to detect violations in Google policies. When the company finds one scam ad, the advertiser is banned from working with Google.

Automated systems monitor the content of ads, as well as scan the advertiser's Web sites before serving them up on search engines or Web sites. The technology looks for misleading claims, ad spam and malware.

Another method that Google uses to test the success of its efforts relies on "human raters to tell us how we're doing," Google Director of Engineering David Baker wrote in a post. "These human raters review a set of sites that are advertised on Google," he explains. "We use a large set of sites in order to get an accurate statistical reading of our efforts."

Google also weights the sites in a statistical sample based on the number of times a particular site was displayed --so if that site serves more frequently, it's likely in the sample set, Baker explains.

Earlier this month, Google began notifying half a million people whose computers or home routers have been infected with a form of malware known as DNSChanger that aims to prevent the computer from accessing the Internet in July.

Google also recently released a transparency report that shows the URLs and requesters who asked for removal of the content. All the deletions allegedly point to either copyrighted or pirated material. There have been nearly 1.3 million URL removal requests made in the past month. Some 24,129 targeted domains, 1,296 copyright owners, and 1,087 reporting organizations. A Web page details the requests and amount of URLs. Clicking on the requester's name provides a list of sites, URLs, dates, and other information.

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