Here’s One Thing Google and Facebook Can Agree On: Fighting Scam Ads

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. …

Read the full post at The New Persuaders.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong at TechCrunch Disrupt: Content Still Rules (and Will Make Money. Eventually)

Long an apparent candidate for permanent obscurity after its ill-fated merger with Time Warner, the now-independent AOL has been getting more interesting lately. That’s thanks to its high-profile acquisitions of prominent online brands such as TechCrunch and Huffington Post as well as some interesting services such as About.me. So I’m tuning into the livestream of CEO Tim Armstrong‘s interview with TechCrunch editor Mike Arrington at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York. Here’s what he had to say:

Q: Is any of this stuff going to work? Can you make money off all this content? Armstrong: Yes (what else did you expect?). I love the fact that people think content isn’t a good business. It keeps other people out of it and attracts people who believe in it.

Will you do other deals? Armstrong: Holding off for now, but there could be more. I have a list in my head and ongoing discussions with people in this space. I see five or 10 companies in this space that are interesting.

Q: Yahoo? Amstrong: Implies no, not surprisingly.

Q: What would you do to run Yahoo? Armstrong: We had a leadership meeting in California recently with Yahoo executives. We were talking about what it takes to be a great company. One is having a real clear vision for the future. Second is having a clear execution plan with metrics. Third is culture, a good culture.

Q: What’s the deal with all the Thursday night drinking parties, given AOL’s official rules against drinking on the job? Armstrong: Doesn’t answer. It doesn’t have to do with drinking. It has to do with the culture we’re trying to create.

Q: When will you start monetizing the products being developed in Brad Garlinghouse‘s group (in Palo Alto)? Armstrong: I’ve told Brad for the new products I’m not concerned about monetization. I’m concerned about consumer usage. We’re working on nailing the consumer DNA.

Q: Won’t AOL and Yahoo be the same company in a year? Armstrong: Why? Arrington: Both companies are struggling. Armstrong: We clearly know where we’re going. We have more work to do. But we’re making tremendous progress. On target to get to industry growth rate in the second half of the year. I don’t think there’s any competitive dynamic in the market that prevents us from being successful.

Q (from Google’s Don Dodge): Why don’t paywalls work and why does local content monetize terribly? Armstrong: Local content doesn’t monetize terribly. I think local is going to monetize at a great level. Paywalls do work. How you pay matters a lot. Micropayments? Our strategy has been free content but I am a long-term believer in paid content for the Web. We’re at the start of the next evolution for content.

Here Comes Google TV: The Fans (and the Skeptics) Weigh In

If there are many skeptics of Google TV, today at the Streaming Media West conference, a panel of (mostly) fans discussed the potential for the search giant’s newest obsession. On the panel were moderator James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research; Ashish Arora, VP and GM of Logitech‘s Digital Home Group; Christy Tanner, GM of TV Guide Online; Shalini Pai, group manager for partner solutions for YouTube and Google TV; and Jim Lanzone, CEO of Clicker.com. (For more from Google itself, check out my post on Google TV lead product manager Rishi Chandra’s keynote this morning at TechnologyReview.com)

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