Facebook, Twitter, Google, AOL join new alliance to fight 'bad ads'

Ads Integrity Alliance launched by StopBadware, which already hosts a clearinghouse for sites that nurture malware

Facebook, Google, Twitter, and AOL have joined an alliance that has been set up to counter "bad ads," including those that deliver malware, direct users to scams, or try to sell counterfeit goods, said StopBadware, the promoters of the alliance.

The Ads Integrity Alliance was launched Thursday and has Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in New York also as a charter member.

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"No individual business or law enforcement agency can single-handedly eliminate these bad actors from the entire Web," Eric Davis, Google's global public policy manager said in a blog post on Thursday.

Since 2006, StopBadware has enabled many websites, service providers and software providers to share real-time information in order to warn users and significantly eliminate malware on the Web, Davis added.

StopBadware hosts the Badware Website Clearinghouse which lists websites identified and examined by partners such as Google as containing or linking to malware and related software, which the organization calls "badware." The nonprofit organization started as a project of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

The alliance has outlined general plans to develop and share definitions, industry policy recommendations, and best practices. It also plans to share information about "bad actors," and share relevant trends with policymakers and law enforcement agencies.

In 2011, Google said it disabled more than 130 million ads and 800,000 advertisers that violated its policies on its own and partners' sites, including ads that promote counterfeit goods and malware.

The problem is that when Google or another website shuts down a bad actor, that scammer often simply tries to advertise elsewhere, said Davis, while stressing the need for an industry-wide effort.

The other members of the alliance were not immediately available for comment.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's email address is john_ribeiro@idg.com.

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