Should We Trust Google’s Sponsored Links?

I must confess to a certain weakness for the sponsored links alongside Google searches. But are they harbouring ne’er-do-wells and other malware vendors? Some folk think so:

A posting on Annoyances.org – MSINFO nuisance (Windows 98 Discussion Forum) says of PC MightyMax, which popped up on a recent search of Windows DLL files I was doing:

I suggest removing it, and avoid sponsored Google ads like the plague. Most of those are rip-offs and don’t do what they claim.

I’m looking more into PC MightyMax and programs like it that show up on Sponsored Links:

Links

(The second one put me off because, while the program itself — BugDoctor — is spelt right, the website — http://www.bugdocter.com/ — isn’t.)

It’s a tough one: Some folk seem to have had problems removing PC MightyMax, while others report very good customer support (link doesn’t always work: Here’s the Google cache in case it doesn’t. I’m going to keep digging.

It does raise some interesting questions though:

  • Is everything spyware unless proven otherwise?
  • How can folk know whether what they’re getting is good or bad? There are lists of ‘rogue anti-spyware’ — programs that pretend to do good, but do evil, but that is in itself an inexact science.
  • Connected to this, is the question: Should Google be responsible for the contents of the sponsored links?

16. February 2005 by jeremy
Categories: Scams, Software, apps | Tags: , | 2 comments

Comments (2)

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  2. I lost faith in Google’s AdSense when I saw a link on my blog to a site offering Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince in electronic format. The BBC had an article a couple of days later exposing it as a fraud. That means that Google’s advertiser “authentication” program has a few cracks in it, doesn’t it?