Well-known spyware expert Ben Edelman has been doing some research on fraudulent Google Adsense ads lately. This is obviously a big problem in the P2P space as well. Many websites promise people access to programs like Edonkey or Kazaa and then charge them bogus membership dues just to forward them to worthless download sites.

Edelman thinks there is some serious money being made with such frauds. From his website:

"In January I estimated that Google and Yahoo make $2 million per year on ads for "screensavers" that ultimately give users spyware. Add in all the other terms with dubious ads -- all the ringtone ads, the for-free software downloads, ads making false statements of product origin, and various other scams -- and I wouldn't be surprised if the payments at issue total one to two orders of magnitude higher."

He believes Google should react by screening ads that promise free goods and services. But Edelman doesn't want to rely on singular complaints. He started a registry that allows anyone to submit and review rogue ads.

It's obvious that this problem is not only afffecting Google, but also other ad services. But that can't be an excuse for Google, says Edelman.

"As the largest search engine, and as a self-proclaimed leader on ethics issues, I look to Google first and foremost for leadership and improvement."

(via Crunchgear)

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