A report criticizes Microsoft's handling of sponsored search results in its Bing search engine, some of which lead to illegal pharmacies, according to KnujOn and LegitScript. Nearly 90 percent of the sponsored pharmacy results lead to sites that engage in illegal activity, such as selling counterfeit medicine, the report says.
A report released Aug. 4 found that nearly 90 percent of Microsoft
Bing's sponsored search results for prescription drugs and pharmacies lead to
authored by anti-spam outfit KnujOn and online pharmacy locator LegitScript,
found that 89.7 percent of the pharmacies paying for ads on Microsoft's search
engine are engaged in illegal activity.
here to read about rising abuse of Google and Yahoo by cyber-crooks.
Some of the pharmacies are linked to Russian and Eastern European organized
crime syndicates and allow people to purchase prescription drugs without a
prescription, according to the report. Other medications sold through the dubious
pharmacies are counterfeit, the researchers said.
For its part, Microsoft
says it has rules in place to deal with rogue
pharmacies. The company requires online pharmacy advertisers to have
certification. LegitScript certifies the legitimacy of online pharmacies as well.
"We take these claims very seriously and are currently investigating
this issue," a Microsoft spokesperson said. "Microsoft's guidelines
clearly require online pharmacies who advertise on Bing to adhere
to U.S. laws.
Still, officials at LegitScript contended that the study shows companies are
profiting from the illegal sale of medication with the appearance of Microsoft's
"We identified serious
in Microsoft's online advertising program, allowing a rogue
Internet pharmacy like store.k2med.com to
advertise under the name of a domestic, U.S.-licensed pharmacy but redirect
traffic to the no-prescription-required fake Website," said a company post
on LegitScript's blog.
happened in several cases, which is bad news for Bing.com's advertisers."
"LegitScript and KnujOn are releasing this report in the hope that it
will encourage Microsoft to discontinue
allowing such Websites to participate in Bing.com's online advertising program,"
the LegitScript blog entry added.