Sponsored Links - necessarily legit?
January 1, 2006 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Google Sponsored Links - are they necessarily legitimate?

How much due diligence does Google have to undertake regarding companies who show up as a "sponsored link?" Have there been cases where a company that shows up as a sponsored link turns out to be scam?

Obviously an outfit that advertises through google is less scummy than one that fakes a higher siterank, but...
posted by PurplePorpoise to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)

Response by poster: Assuming that the computer is uninfected by trojans or anything else that hijacks what the browser returns - are outfits that google accepts and displays as a "sponsored link" from their search page necessarily legitimate?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 10:57 AM on January 1, 2006

Searching for popular digital SLRs results in too-good-to-be-true Brooklyn shops. So I'd say "no."
posted by Kwantsar at 11:45 AM on January 1, 2006

Best answer: Google Adwords has an editorial team that looks through submitted sponsored links to check whether the advertiser meets certain guidelines. Some of these guidelines must be met immediately upon submission of the ad, such as punctuation and capitalization guidelines. Also, certain copyrighted brand names will be caught by the automatic filter.

Ads go live as soon as they pass through the initial editorial process, but the editorial team checks the ads within a few days to ensure that they are legitimate.

If the link is invalid, or if the ad leads to something other than what is advertised in the text of the ad, the editorial team will pause the ad and alert the advertiser. The ad must then be altered to meet Google's guidelines.

In other words, if a sponsored link leads to a page that automatically attempts to load a virus onto your computer, it may go undetected immediately by the Adwords system, but it should be caught by the editorial staff within a day or two. It would be removed from the system until the advertiser makes the appropriate changes to remove the automatic download from the ad's landing page.
posted by sellout at 12:15 PM on January 1, 2006

(And no, I don't work at Google. I just have to use the Adwords interface on a daily basis.)
posted by sellout at 12:16 PM on January 1, 2006

I'm hardly an expert, but I have followed a number of dodgy-looking Google ads, out of curiosity, and can confirm there are indeed a number of dodgy-looking websites using Google ads (including number 1 sponsored links).

Mostly pyramid/affiliate scams and the like. Though I haven't encountered anything overtly nasty such as spyware/trojans and whatnot. Yahoo is much the same.

I don't know if you would define these as legit, as they are probably legal websites, but they are certainly scams or fronts for scams (such as the camera ads noted above intended for the old bait-and-switch).

Bottom line do not assume anything when it comes to net ads. Same probably goes for magazine newspaper ads to a large extent.
posted by MetaMonkey at 12:33 PM on January 1, 2006

I'm confused. Why should ads on Google be different than ads anywhere else?
posted by winston at 1:01 PM on January 1, 2006

Because it's Google.
posted by puke & cry at 1:24 PM on January 1, 2006

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