Tips for avoiding bogus ads in search results

Dennis o'reilly By Dennis O’Reilly

Our Oct. 8 Top Story by contributing editor Susan Bradley reported that Google, Bing, and other indexes need to do a better job of policing the ads that appear alongside the search results.

Immediately after Susan’s story was published, describing malwareads that appeared alongside queries on security terms like malwarebytes, such ads temporarily disappeared.

Reader Bill Tone monitored the search-engine results after Susan’s article came out:

  • “Apparently, Google and Bing managers have read Susan’s article also. As of now — 10/8/2009 5:32 a.m. EDT — neither Google nor Bing shows any sponsored search results when I search for the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware utility (see attached pics). Isn’t that interesting!”
Google results minus malware ads
Figure 1. Soon after last week’s Top Story appeared, Google removed the malware ads that previously had accompanied results of Malwarebytes searches.

As Figure 1 shows, the sponsored links were indeed missing from Google’s results for a search of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware utility. Unfortunately, this policy may have lasted for only a brief time.

When I repeated the search earlier this week, a sponsored link to appeared on the right. (See Figure 2.) That program is listed by the Precise Security Threat Center and other security sites as malware that attempts to hijack your system and hold it for ransom.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2009-10-15: