Search Engines Need to Take Responsibility for Sponsored Links
Opinion: It turns out that sponsored links often point to dirty sites. Shouldn't search engines take some responsibility for them?Call me naive. I was surprised to read that sponsored links on search engines are far more likely than conventional "organic" links to lead to hostile sites. The study, by researcher and activist Ben Edelman and the McAfee SiteAdvisor team, found that 8.5 percent overall of sponsored links on Google, Yahoo, Microsofts MSN, AOL and Ask.com point to sites rated as "risky" by SiteAdvisor. Specifically, these risky sites merit either red or yellow status by SiteAdvisor, and its worth repeating the exact definitions:
- "Red" rated sites failed SiteAdvisors safety tests. Examples are sites that distribute adware, send a high volume of spam or make unauthorized changes to a users computer.
- "Yellow" rated sites engage in practices that warrant important advisory information based on SiteAdvisors safety tests. Examples are sites that send a high volume of "non-spammy" e-mail, display many pop-up ads or prompt a user to change browser settings.
Click here to read more about the search engine study.