Archive for the ‘SEM’ Category

Content Testing Goes Mainstream

April 27, 2008

There is a good Google Blog post on the fact that you can now get Google Web Optimiser without using Adwords — just any Google account will do. They’ve also improved the workflow to make it easier and more effective to use.

Purple Motes points out that as your site gets larger and attracts more traffic the audience demographic may well change. Just using multivariate testing to optimise once may not be enough. The post has some good ideas on how to identify what it is really driving usage and what not.

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Is Google money laundering?

April 16, 2007

Alan Rimm-Kaufman says that based on some simple assumptions it’s likely that Google would have actually earned $40k-$200k from Clickbot.A, the virus in question. It was discovered by Panda, an antivirus company, not by Google itself. He rightly asks, when were the clicks made invalid? Similarly, how many other click frauds are going on that Google is not catching, and perhaps does not mind not catching.

A mate of mine just called up and asked “Why would Google really invest serious money in trying to stop click fraud?” (He, like me, is a cynic, which is probably why he is also such a good intrapreneur). At best, they are going to try to build themselves a solid case against class action suits in the plausible likelihood that down the line somewhere there will be clear evidence of Google malfeasance, the soft underbelly of an . This could be a few Googlers who actually participate in real fraud.

Not doing evil is one part, but doing no good is also pretty easy when you’re so big. Alan writes “One surmises the bot authors may not be native-born English speakers due to some awkward verb use: ”holded“, rather than ”held“ or ”on hold“, and ”ThisIPIsClick()“ rather than ”ThisIpIsClickable()“ or ”ThisIpCanBeClicked()“. Similarly, one surmises they’re not earning US rates for web programming talent — according to Google, this scheme didn’t generate much cash, even with 100k bots.” So, forget about the Patriot act: someone is paying crackers with poor English to build a virus, then getting all their funds back on Google cheques to a legitimate company. In this way, the scheme can just break even instead of making profit, because the value comes from money laundering. This is the more likely future scenario: running a monopoly, not doing a whole lot to stop criminals using it to convert dodgy money into safer money and paying you a hefty bribe at the same time.
Apogee Weblog calls the analysis of Clickbot.A ‘handwaving‘: leaking analysis to the press seems a lot easier than actually taking some action. Apogee suggests that there are some much more significant structural flaws to the Google network that require fixing and talking about sophisticated botnets is some great misdirection.

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Structure of a Click Fraud Botnet

April 15, 2007

Structure of a Click Fraud Botnet is an interesting introduction into how Click fraud can be perpetrated using a ‘botnets’. The more detailed technical paper explains that a clickbot is a software robot that clicks on ads to help an attacker conduct click fraud — i.e. earn money from PayPerClick advertising with ‘fraudulent’ clicks. Bad clickbots infect machines in order to get many different IPs to form a ‘botnet’. Many of the popular virus scanners did not detect clickbot viruses. One example grew relatively slowly but still at an impressive rate of just over a 100 machines in mid-May to more than 100,000 in mid-June.

(via LinkBlog)

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April 9, 2007

Plain text just seems to fall short for describing browse-experiences. I start with Nelson’s Linkblog and jump off to evan_tech to read about just how devious some hackers are in circumnavigating the large chunks of cleverness put in their way. Feeling a little down in the dumps and in need of some real deep hackiness, I dive yet deeper. This is a superb exposition: even with my basic background in heaps and garbage collection, it is remarkably easy to understand, with plenty of mini-tutorials along the way. I take a side exit and poke about a bit in evan’s life, where I enjoy an old classic Unix story. Looking at his livejournal, I enjoy the dual-language Siddhartha notes and I find a link to some obscene music lyrics.
Warning Will Robinson: I mean some REALLY obscene music
so if you are easily offended, do not following this link. I found the lyrics pretty gross, but what surprised me is an AdSense link to a Dutch mobile site. Do they really want to be associated with this kind of page? I’m guessing it’s an affiliate link but still… Alternatively, maybe this is exactly the yoof audience that they are after. Backing up I browse the Burg, but can’t get into and I swap back to the show with Zefrank, which is still amazingly good.

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