Search Industry Makes Billions Off Risky Sites

Dennis Faas's picture

Recent Studies have shown that the sponsored links of major search engines are more likely to have harmful downloads.

For example: web sites that "pay to have their links pop up on search engine result pages are nearly three times more likely to harbor Spyware or adware, or hassle users with spam than URLs generated by the engine's algorithms", research claims. It is estimated that the search industry made $1.1 billion from risky sponsored links last year. (Source:

The study evaluated major search engines using 1,300 different keyword searches. It found that about 5 percent of links appearing in the first five pages can infect computers or plague users with spam.

The research concluded that MSN had the lowest percentage of risky sites compared to all five engines that were tested (at 3.9 percent).'s percentage, meanwhile, was almost double that at 6.1 percent. Google, Yahoo, and AOL fell in the middle, with 5.3, 4.3, and 5.3 percent, respectively. (Source:

One of the most shocking conclusions learned from the study was that non-paid results are safer than the sponsored links paid for by advertisers. Only 3.1 percent of non-paid links were judged risky, compared to 8.5 percent of paid links. (Source:

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