Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Something Advertisers Should Be Ashamed Of

Advertisers are using dubious methods to put your computer at risk!

Here's the problem
I recently updated my copy of the Calibre program - a wonderful bit of software against which I have no complaints, just praise. This is what I saw. I've set the screen capture to display what most people would see if they use a common screen size - 1366 x 768 pixels:
Now here's what they would see if they had a taller screen:
As you can see that large green download button isn't where you download Calibre - it's an advertisement and something the advertiser should be deeply ashamed of because it's designed to trick people into downloading something they would not normally choose to download.

In this case it tells you you are downloading 'Premium 7-Zip' but it doesn't tell you anything about the program. A search on the Web indicates it might be useful or might also contain a computer worm.

One such program I've seen people being tricked into downloading is 'BrowserSafeguard.' This is a browser extension which intercepts your searches at Google and sends back a list of five or so of it's search results before the real Google results. Nothing really wrong with that except, when I checked it, every single site they linked to was flagged by Web of Trust as being of dubious quality. It changes your proxy server settings to do this.
Can you imagine Google will be happy with that? Look closer at the images above.
See that little icon at the top right of the advert?

This means that this advertisement is being produced through Google's advertising service. Shame on you Google for allowing these trickster advertisements!

So what can you do to avoid being caught out?

  1. Use the scroll bar and make sure that download button is not an advert.
  2. Hover your pointer over it and make sure what the status bar tells you it is sending you to is not something unexpected.
  3. Refresh the page and see if you get a different advert where that download button was:

Maybe the ultimate answer is to demand that Google and other advertising firms forbid these adverts designed to trick us. Here's how to do that:
1. When you see one of these fake buttons trying to trick you look for the small X at the top left

2. Selecting it allows you to 'Report this ad'

3. Tell Google the ad was inappropriate

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1 comment:

joeh said...

One of many cheap annoying advertising tricks, and maybe the most dangerous (Thanks for the warning) I also hate the accidental roll overs and more...I think the problem is sites get paid for every ad view so they do anything to get a hit, even if it pisses readers off and actually works as a negative to the advertiser.