Kevin Delaney over at the Wall Street Journal has a short article about a recent SiteAdvisor study of potentially malicious web sites. According to the article, SiteAdvisor claims that about 2% of regular web sites may expose surfers to “risks or nuisances,” while the number for search results is about 3% and the number for search engine ads is higher.
I could pick nits about this study (for example, SiteAdvisor’s definition of a bad site includes asking for email addresses), and it’s quite rare for me to hear complaints about badware on Google. But I do hate scuzzy behavior, especially in our search results.
In fact, several weeks before I found out about this study, we added a new provision to Google’s webmaster quality guidelines because of the WMF vulnerability:
Don’t create pages that install viruses, trojans, or other badware.
I’ve said that before, but it’s nice to make it official. Just as an aside, I’m surprised no one noticed this addition. I thought SEOs watched our quality guidelines with eagle eyes? Gary Price, I miss your uncanny ability to notice changes on a website.
Google’s statement to the WSJ made it clear that we don’t want junk in our ads, either:
Google Inc. said in a prepared statement that it prohibits ads that promote spyware, viruses and other malicious software and removes them when it becomes aware of them.
That’s a fine response. But given how much I hate web pages that install malicious software or abuse browser security holes, I’d like it if we did even more to protect our users.