Google wanted to know the identities of all companies profiting from injecting ads into its owned web site pages.
So it commissioned a study. The study was conducted by the University of California, Berkeley and Santa Barbara. The team, Google says, analyzed millions of page views on Google sites for more than three months last summer.
Ad injectors are malicious programs that insert unwanted ads in web pages. This trick costs companies millions of dollars every year and messes with people’s computing systems.
Now Google knows who the culprits are. It already knew that Superfish and JollyWallet from Radyoos Media are known ad injectors. But the study did pinpoint other high profile malefactors — specifically shopping ad networks like Dealtime, PriceGrabber, and Shopzilla/Bizrate.
“The researchers identified superfish.com as the top ad injector — with about 96 percent, or 49,127 browser extensions, and 97 percent, or 33,486 software programs. Half of extensions used at least two ad injection libraries and 80 percent of programs used at least four,” according to a comprehensive report summary from Media Post. “Tracking the ads revealed locally installed ad injectors interfered with 5,339,913 page views, or 5.2T of the total, which impacted 5.5 percent of unique daily Internet Protocol addresses that accessed Google’s sites.”
The most popular browser for this trick? Chrome. It was cited as the most commonly affected platform (between 5 and 8 percent of page views throughout the research).
“The ad injection ecosystem profits from over 3,000 advertisers, including Sears, Walmart, Ebay, and Target, which unwittingly pay for traffic from injectors,” according to Google’s analysis.
Google’s full report is available online now.