AdWords Click Fraud Service Found Using Google’s Trademark, Promoting Itself On YouTube
How’s this for brazen? For at least two years, a Russian hacker has been running a cheekily-named click fraud service called GoodGoogle, promoting it in videos on Google’s YouTube and using Gmail accounts to correspond with customers.
Online security expert, Brian Krebs, recently brought the scam to light. The service enables advertisers to quickly run down competitors’ daily budgets on Google AdWords.
“Are you tired of the competition in Google AdWords that take your first position and quality traffic? I will help you get rid once and for all competitors in Google Adwords.”
For just $100, advertisers can use GoodGoogle to block three to ten ad units for 24 hours. For a flat fee of $1,000, advertisers can run down the daily budgets of a handful of competitors’ ads indefinitely. Payments are made up-front with virtual currencies.
The service has apparently eluded Google’s anti-fraud detection systems by using a dedicated network of hacked computers (a botnet) to automate the ad clicking and software that makes those clicks appear natural.
Without going into details, GoodGoogle referred Krebs via an instant message exchange to several forums “where I could find dozens of happy customers to vouch for the efficacy of the service”.
If it hasn’t done so already, Krebs predicts it will only be a matter of time before Google shuts down GoodGoogle and possibly identifies the operator behind it.