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    Seems like web ads are becoming worse for publishers and viewers more and more over time.

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      Pray I don’t alter it any further.

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      When you pay the mafia to protect your business, you’re not just paying them to not burn down your shop: you’re paying them to violently discourage anyone else from trying to shake you down. But on the internet nobody can break my kneecaps for threatening someone who is already protected.

      So does this scam collapse when nobody pays because everyone’s trying it, or do we end up in an exciting new world of organized cybercrime?

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        I love the creativity.

        “Hmm, we can’t black market SEO because google blocks sites our bots try to traffic. OOH!”

        That said, this shouldn’t be too hard to resolve on the google side. Hell, they could probably parse the ransom emails to predict these attacks because the recipient is almost certainly using gmail.

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          I’m no longer a Googler, so I can reply to this, if I’m careful.

          Google will certainly detect this in some instances, but it’s not simple, it’s an ever-escalating arms race. If Google were to use ransom emails as a signal, they would take the risk that somebody would notice that they were doing that, and then the spammer would send themselves fake ransom emails to increase how long they could get away with sending spam traffic to their own sites before being cut off. (Was that clear? I could draw a sequence diagram…)

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            That was clear, thank you. I didn’t necessarily mean automatically resolve the issue, that part was mostly a jab at Google parsing user emails, I mostly just meant that site owners should of course not pay these ransoms. And yeah, it’s always cat-and-mouse detection and avoidance.

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              Sure. I agree that it’s always better to not pay a ransom, as long as you can afford the cost of not paying in the short term.

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                I think Google isn’t too unhappy about this – this let’s their own adword account ban practice (close account of a certain size shortly before payout) to fly under the radar for a bit longer. :-)

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            Maybe Google should show only ads to people using the Chrome browser while being logged in to their Google account. Would become easier to stop fraud and would leave the rest of us alone! :-)

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              If you think about it, at the moment Google has a significant incentive to get people to use chrome while logged in, and most people from “the rest of us” group mostly see it as misaligned with values and ideals we would prefer and criticise a lot of their decisions. Thinking about your suggestion a few steps into the consequences of pushing that incentive much further in the “wrong” direction is really quite scary… maybe now is already them relatively leaving us alone 😬