From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:
Google recently has stepped up a drive to stop ads that hawk counterfeit goods or send people to sites that try to scam them or install malicious software on their computers. But up to now, Google and other companies from AOL to Facebook have attacked the problem individually, leaving holes in their defenses.
On June 14, the nonprofit group StopBadware, backed by Google, PayPal, Mozilla, and others, will launch the Ads Integrity Alliance to present a more united front to scammers and also educate policymakers on potential legal or legislative remedies.
StopBadware was formed in early 2006 as an experimental anti-malware project at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and since spun out into a nonprofit group. Executive Director Maxim Weinstein says bad ads are a natural extension of the mission, partly because malware often is distributed via online ads. “It’s a similar threat in that it undermines trust in the Web,” he said in an interview. “Those ads are what pay for all the services on the Web.”
Although Google and no doubt others spend millions of dollars a year to fight bad ads, scammers continually exploit automated and human safeguards and loopholes in site policies. “The more companies can learn, the better,” says Weinstein. “Once you get to a consistent set of principles, the bad guys find it harder to squeeze through.”
At least that’s the hope. …