A UNC student asked and received help from a librarian on how to use the card catalog. In a little while, the UNC student approached the librarian again, wanting to know how to spell "tequila." "T-e-q-u-i-l-a," spelled the librarian, as the girl thanked her and went back to her search. A short time later she came to the desk, looking quite distraught. "I just can't find it." she said. "What book are you looking for?" the librarian asked. Replied the UNC student, "Tequila Mockingbird."
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A woman meant to call a record store but dialed the wrong number and got a private home instead.
"Do you have 'Eyes of Blue' and 'A Love Supreme'?" she asked.
"Well, no," answered the puzzled homeowner. But I have a wife and eight children."
"Is that a record?" she inquired.
"I don't think so," replied the man, "but it's as close as I want to get."
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. --2 Timothy 3
Yahoo Used in Spyware Click-Fraud Scheme By Jim Hedger, StepForth News Editor, StepForth Placement Inc.
Through its Overture pay-per-click search division, Yahoo has been found facilitating fraudulent clíck activity generated by known spyware makers including 180solutions, Intermix, and Direct Revenue. The Spyware - Click-Fraud Connection -- and Yahoo's Role Revisited, (Apr. 4, 06), shows how at least a dozen different spyware firms redirect Internet users searches through their servers, inserting Overture ad links on unrelated websites or with pop-ups triggered by those sites.
Ben Edelman is a researching PhD candidate at the Department of Economics at Harvard. In his follow up to a Sept. 5, 2005 paper, How Yahoo Funds Spyware, Edelman documents a web of relationships between Overture and, "... a startling number of notorious spyware programs."
A recent graduate of Harvard's Law School, Edelman lays out his argument methodically, briefly explaining what constitutes click-fraud and ways in which it happens. He also notes that Yahoo has tried to sever its relationships with the offending firms, often unsuccessfully, as they (spyware makers) continue to include Overture code in their spyware programs. "When Yahoo terminates one fraudster, that fraudster's partners find another way to continue operations."
A few paragraphs down, he notes, "After I highlighted these vendors in my August report, it seems Yahoo attempted to terminate its relationships with them. Yet 180 continued not just to show Yahoo ads, but also to perform click-fraud, as documented." Eliminating spyware click-fraud is likened to a game of Whack-a-Mole. When Yahoo moves to shut down one channel, another is immediately opened.
Edelman calls the methods outlined in his study, Spyware Syndicated PPC Fraud. "Suppose X, the Yahoo partnër site, hires a spyware vendor to send users to its site and to make it appear as if those users clicked X's Yahoo ads. Then advertisers will pay Yahoo, and Yahoo will pay X, even though users nevër actually clicked the ads."
Using four detailed case studies, conducted between Dec. 17, 2005 and Apr. 2, 2006, Edelman traces traffïc generated on test PCs known to be contaminated with various spyware products. Using packet logs, screenshots, images and video, Edelman effectively demonstrates how each of his conclusions was drawn.
In one case, he shows a link inserted on a New York Times document anchored to the word "prime minister". The link was placed by Qklinkserver and would not appear on an uninfected PC. It was placed without permission from the Times. When clicked, the link sent traffïc through Overture to a PPC advertiser.
The study names, Intermix, 180Solutions, Nbcsearch, eXact, Ditto, Look2me, Ad-w-a-r-e, Improvingyourlooks, Qklinkserver, Srch-results, Claria, InfoSpace, SurfSideKick, TrafficEngine, HotBar and IBIS, as companies directly involved in spyware click-fraud.
Edelman goes on to note, "Yahoo's problem results from bad partners within its network." Because it distributes advertising to third parties who might in turn syndicate those ads to others, Yahoo has no real control over how its ad codes are used to generate clicks.
The problem of click-fraud is an ever-present danger in pay-per-click advertising, one that troubles Google as well. David Utter at WebProNews quotes Google CEO Eric Schmidt saying, "Believe me, as a computer scientist, we have the ability to detect the invalid clicks before they reach advertisers", juxtaposing the quote against the $90million settlement Google reached in the Lanes Gift and Collectables class action.
Edelman closes his study with a realistic but stern warning. The problem is not going to go away. In fact, it is likely to get worse. The market for spyware vendors is drying up, mostly because consumers are aware of the problem and corporate advertisers no longer want to be associated with it. The spyware makers are increasingly turning to more complex systems, including the money-rich PPC market, to find susceptible targets.
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Sign Up Today - Receive 3 Bonuses Valued at $90 Spyware makers have long been known leaches on the Internet. Some, such as Claria receive support from large venture capital firms such as US Venture Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures. In some cases, they have become parts of much largër companies, including some of the world's largest advertising firms. For example, Intermix is a division of News Corp and owns the social network MySpace.Com.
Now that several noted spyware makers have been shown to be involved with click-fraud scams, Yahoo and Google should be moved to immediate action. Aside from protecting the integrity of their PPC programs and maintaining the trust of their advertisers, they must be aware that the New York Attorney General's office is watching.
In a speech sponsored by TRUSTe and the International Association of Privacy Professionals, Ken Dreifach, chief of the Internet bureau in the New York State Attorney General's office, said that entities such as Google and Yahoo can be held accountable for how their affiliates use their content.
In an article published by MediaPost, Shankar Gupta quoted Dreifach saying, "You don't want to ever assume that the existence of intermediaries, whether it's two or six, is going to immunize you from liability."
About The Author Jim Hedger is a writer, speaker and search engine marketing expert based in Victoria BC. Jim writes and edits full-time for StepForth and is also an editor for the Internet Search Engine Database. He has worked as an SEO for over 5 years and welcomes the opportunïty to share his experience through interviews, articles and speaking engagements.
I have a friend who teaches special education at an elementary school. She has encountered a problem common to any classroom or family in which there is more than one child: the children want to constantly tattle on each other. As humans, we are far more sensitive and cognizant of the wrongdoing of others than we are of our own. And children who may bend the rules for themselves and press every boundary laid for them often want their peers to be strictly judged by the letter of the law.
To cut down on tattling, my friend devised an ingenious solution. Rather than allow the children to verbally complain throughout the day, she instructed them to fill out a "tattle form," a detailed questionnaire, if they wish to report the offenses of their classmates. Her hope was that the time and trouble it takes to fill out the form would make them less quick to tell on minor infractions.
To her surprise, she found the children quite ready to complete the forms, and over the course of several days a stack of tattle forms will accrue for her attention. But the tattle-form policy has nevertheless had a very positive effect on the classroom environment. Because she gives diligent attention to each complaint registered, administering discipline when necessary, and, when it isn't, signing the form to show that she has looked into the matter, the children's craving for justice is satisfied. The process confers the fundamental dignity of being heard even upon those whose plea is ultimately rejected.
You may have noticed that the writers of the Psalms do a fair amount of tattling themselves. The psalmists are always being confronted by enemies, wicked men who wish them harm, who often seem to prosper. Complaints such as this one from Psalm 56 are typical:
"All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me. They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life. On no account let them escape; in your anger, O God, bring down the nations" (Psalm 56:5-7).
Just as it offends a child's sense of justice when his classmate wrongs him, we are often confused and dismayed when those who run after evil seem to prosper. Why does God allow others to injure us? Why doesn't He protect his own from harm? These are good questions. The psalms were written several thousand years ago, and we are still wondering about the same things. Our enemies may not often hunt us down to physically harm us, but many times we face the same feeling of being pursued by evil.
In Psalm 109, David calls upon God to bring about justice:
"O God, whom I praise, do not remain silent, for wicked and deceitful men have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues. With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause" (Psalm 109:1-3).
This psalm, like the others, does not answer the question of why the wicked have not been brought to justice. But after David has poured out his heart to the Lord, he is able to give Him thanks and praise:
"With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord; in the great throng I will praise him. For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save his life from those who condemn him" (Psalm 109:30-31).
You see, God doesn't always answer the "why" questions in this life. But when we bring our concerns before Him, we can rest assured that our grievances have been heard by a just God. Just as the child feels secure when his teacher has taken full notice of the grievance troubling him, we can be comforted that God is attentive to our plight. Charles Spurgeon put it this way, "Because God is the living God, He can hear; because He is a loving God, He will hear; because He is our covenant God, He has bound Himself to hear us." We can rest in the knowledge that, though the wicked may prosper now, their fate and ours lie in the hands of the God who hears.
---------------------- Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) "A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words of challenge, words of truth, and words of hope. If you know of others who would enjoy receiving "A Slice of Infinity" in their email box each day, tell them they can sign up on our website at http://www.rzim.org/publications/slice.php. If they do not have access to the World Wide Web, please call 1-877-88SLICE (1-877-887-5423).