Is Google at risk in search?

comScore’s April Search Engine Rankings report, “Google Gains U.S. Search Market Share For Ninth Consecutive Month

comScore’s April Search Engine Rankings report, “Google Gains U.S. Search Market Share For Ninth Consecutive Month”, further confirms Google’s search dominance. Google may not be invincible in search, however. Vulnerabilities in the search advertising platform and business model are showing, and Google may face the greatest risks, much as it has been reaping the greatest rewards.

CLICK FRAUD According to a report by Help Net Security, "Panda Labs has detected a network of computers infected with the bot Clickbot.A, which is being used to defraud ‘pay per click’ systems…the scam is exploiting a global network comprising more than 34,000 zombie computers…controlled remotely through several Web servers…The system used can evade fraud detection systems by sending click requests from different, unrelated IP addresses."

HARMFUL SEARCH ADS According to a study by McAfee's SiteAdvisor, "sites that pay to have their links pop up on search engine result pages are nearly three times more likely to harbour spyware or adware, or hassle users with spam than URLs generated by the engine's algorithms…the search industry made US$1.1 billion from risky sponsored links last year."

SECURITY BREACHES & HACKING According to a report by Computer Partner, "Using search engines to find systems vulnerabilities…hackers can use carefully crafted searches to find things like open ports, overly revealing error messages or even password files on a target organization's computer systems…The persistence of these caches is impossible to manage."

USER PRIVACY According to Lee Shaker’s “In Google We Trust,” "Google maintains server records for every search term used, every Web site visited, and the IP address and browser associated with these actions…Google’s resistance to a consumer–friendly privacy policy is well documented and suspicious…reading the privacy policy makes it clear that it is a document to protect the company’s interests first, to reassure users second, and protect users lastly."

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