A Google study released in partnership with the University of California-Berkeley and Santa Barbara has found that 5.5 per cent of unique IPs, which constitutes millions of users, have accessed Google sites that include some form of injected ads.
Ad injectors, a symptom of unwanted software, are programs that insert new ads or replace existing ones into pages on the web.
According to Google, the company has received more than 100,000 complaints about the ads just this year.
These ad injectors pose a problem for advertisers because they end up unknowingly paying for traffic to their sites.
In a Google ‘Online Security Blog’ post discussing the findings, the company states: “The ad injection ecosystem profits from more than 3,000 victimized advertisers—including major retailers like Sears, Walmart, Target, Ebay—who unwittingly pay for traffic to their sites.
“Because advertisers are generally only able to measure the final click that drives traffic to their sites, they’re often unaware of many preceding twists and turns, and don’t know they are receiving traffic via unwanted software and malware,” it said.
It also states that publishers are not being compensated for these deceptive advertisements.
To battle the problem, Google has taken a number of actions to eliminate ad injectors. It has removed nearly 200 Chome extensions that affected millions of users with ad injections from the Chrome Web Store.
It has also improved protections to flag unwanted software and has alerted advertisers that have been affected by the ads.
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