Blackspot

Unclick Google

We can force Google to stop their privacy violations while ridding the internet of advertising ... by clicking ads.
Google is keeping logs of our private lives. (Picture source)

On March 11, Google revealed its latest plan to violate your privacy: they will now record the types of websites you visit in order to gather a behavioral profile of your interests purportedly so that they can send you targeted advertising.

This policy is in addition to their current policy of keeping a record of every single web search you have ever made along with as much other personally identifying information as they can gather. Of course, these behavioral profiles and detailed search histories will also be made available to law enforcement personnel upon request. The disregard for user privacy is a long standing tradition at Google and one that should be challenged. Just as Facebook was recently forced to cave after protests, Google too can be made to backtrack from their creeping violations of our privacy. Every company has their weak point, for Facebook it is the fear that users will stop using the site, and for Google it is the necessity of increasing their advertising revenue. I propose that we collectively embark on a civil disobedience campaign of intentional, automated "click fraud" in order to undermine Google's advertising program with the goal of forcing Google to adopt a pro-privacy corporate policy.

As every internet user knows, the web is inundated with advertising. Many of these ads are generated automatically by Google. Unlike advertisements in newspapers or on billboards which are priced per impression (the more people that see an ad the more expensive it is), Google's ads are priced per click. Therefore, every time you click on a Google AdSense advertisement, some advertiser must pay Google. If the ad you clicked on was displayed on a website other than Google's then Google must also pay that website. As you can see, if ads are being clicked on automatically then the whole house of cards upon which the AdSense system is built on crumbles. Advertisers will refuse to pay Google and Google will refuse to pay websites.

Because Google ads are targeted, certain advertisers are willing to pay top dollar for clicks. Some keywords such as insurance, refinance and "IRS problem" are rumored to be worth more than $10 per click. Click fraud can very quickly do major damage to Google and its advertisers but the fact is there is nothing Google can do to stop it, if we work together.

The system I propose is quite simple and is accomplished in three steps:

  1. Install Firefox and restart Firefox
  2. Install GreaseMonkey (a useful plug-in for Firefox)
  3. Install the Blackspot Google GreaseMonkey script or if you are on a slow network install the Blackspot Google Randomly script which will only click on one ad randomly.

Now, whenever you use Google your computer will automatically click on all the AdSense advertisements sending a message to Google to stop their privacy violations.

Note: If you are a techie and want to get involved with this campaign, we need a version of this script that will both remove the ads from our sight and click them automatically. The best would be integration of this script into Adblock Plus. Unfortunately, this script does not work with Adblock Plus so if you want to use Adblock Plus (you should!) then you must disable it on google.com in order to automatically click their ads. If you are a programmer, post your upgraded version of this script below. (Update: One person has already posted an updated version, but I haven't tested it yet.)

Special thanks to Alf at Hublog for designing the prototype of this script four years ago which I upgraded to work today.

The debate is raging! Read the March 13 follow-up to this post for further discussion of Unclick Google

Micah White is a Contributing Editor at Adbusters Magazine and an independent activist. He can be reached at www.micahmwhite.com or micah[at]adbusters.org

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240 comments on the article “Unclick Google”

Displaying 211 - 220 of 240

Page 22 of 24

Anonymous

http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/scraper.htm Google scraper. no cookies. no search-term records. access log deleted within 48 hours.

Anonymous

http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/scraper.htm Google scraper. no cookies. no search-term records. access log deleted within 48 hours.

Dan D.

I second the previous comments regarding the hypocrisy of how you feel about Google and what you want to do to them and their customers versus your own use of Google Analytics.

Dan D.

I second the previous comments regarding the hypocrisy of how you feel about Google and what you want to do to them and their customers versus your own use of Google Analytics.

Anonymous

@10 heart, 1 for effort You're either terribly misguided or a blatant shill for google and its fanboys. Obviously google has to reduce rates and lose revenue when (not if) "click fraud" becomes obvious and widespread. They already claim to have the problem under control, but obviously they don't care about it. They make just as much money off fraudulent clicks as they do legitimate clicks. However, if 50 clicks per minute per distinct IP come in for every google ad they serve that IP, they can't very well just charge those advertisers for the clicks - they have to eat it. Oh, and you "poor advertisers" - cry me a river. You're the people that are trying to destroy the web with your garbage content, the only worse spoilers are the spammers. Everybody knows that people with broadband want to watch porn and download free content, while viewing as few ads as possible. Anyone else saying "who is gonna pay for it" - that's horsecrap. Most of the web is NOT advertising driven, it's a cooperative effort based on altruism. Besides - you don't worry about who pays for anything you get "for free" (incidentally, another fallacy since you pay ~$40/month to your ISP). You same people were whining about copyrighted content on the web two years ago, today you watched 3 YouTube videos with copyrighted music without even thinking about it. Next you'll be telling me "don't drive on roads because taxpayers pay for those". Taking some money out of google's pockets (plenty deep, don't worry fanboy) is the best way to force them to change their policies. Setting up a scraper for google (like froogle, but it could be anything else) is the best way to beat their relatively insidious and moderately successful business model. Final point - perhaps the author of this article is selling google stock short and trying to lower share price. I don't care if he is, as long as he does something more useful than google with the money he makes!

Anonymous

@10 heart, 1 for effort You're either terribly misguided or a blatant shill for google and its fanboys. Obviously google has to reduce rates and lose revenue when (not if) "click fraud" becomes obvious and widespread. They already claim to have the problem under control, but obviously they don't care about it. They make just as much money off fraudulent clicks as they do legitimate clicks. However, if 50 clicks per minute per distinct IP come in for every google ad they serve that IP, they can't very well just charge those advertisers for the clicks - they have to eat it. Oh, and you "poor advertisers" - cry me a river. You're the people that are trying to destroy the web with your garbage content, the only worse spoilers are the spammers. Everybody knows that people with broadband want to watch porn and download free content, while viewing as few ads as possible. Anyone else saying "who is gonna pay for it" - that's horsecrap. Most of the web is NOT advertising driven, it's a cooperative effort based on altruism. Besides - you don't worry about who pays for anything you get "for free" (incidentally, another fallacy since you pay ~$40/month to your ISP). You same people were whining about copyrighted content on the web two years ago, today you watched 3 YouTube videos with copyrighted music without even thinking about it. Next you'll be telling me "don't drive on roads because taxpayers pay for those". Taking some money out of google's pockets (plenty deep, don't worry fanboy) is the best way to force them to change their policies. Setting up a scraper for google (like froogle, but it could be anything else) is the best way to beat their relatively insidious and moderately successful business model. Final point - perhaps the author of this article is selling google stock short and trying to lower share price. I don't care if he is, as long as he does something more useful than google with the money he makes!

Fred

You state "However, if 50 clicks per minute per distinct IP come in for every google ad they serve that IP, they can’t very well just charge those advertisers for the clicks - they have to eat it. " If I were Google, I'd spot you and your 50 clicks a second then simply blacklist your IP, and either :- A stop sending you ads for a predetermined period (say a month until you gave up your pointless campaign) or B disregard more than N ad clicks per period deeming it as suspicious (I imagine they'd have a good idea of normal usage with their billions of users as a study group). Your methods of getting at them are pointless anyway, all of this is something Google will have tackled along time ago as it is at the core of their business. The accuracy of their usage is important to them and the advertisers so they know they are getting value for money and to prevent click fraud from people trying to get more money out of ad-sense than they deserve. For the record I'm not a Google fanboy. I use Google for only one thing, search. I'm happy they have been the end of those horrific flashy banner ads that invaded my screen in the not to distant past. Having ads for things I might want can actually help when when I'm looking to say buy something. Good luck with your pointless campaign against the only large corporation with the motto of "Do No Evil". If you want a refresher of their philosophy check out http://www.google.com/corporate/tenthings.html.

Fred

You state "However, if 50 clicks per minute per distinct IP come in for every google ad they serve that IP, they can’t very well just charge those advertisers for the clicks - they have to eat it. " If I were Google, I'd spot you and your 50 clicks a second then simply blacklist your IP, and either :- A stop sending you ads for a predetermined period (say a month until you gave up your pointless campaign) or B disregard more than N ad clicks per period deeming it as suspicious (I imagine they'd have a good idea of normal usage with their billions of users as a study group). Your methods of getting at them are pointless anyway, all of this is something Google will have tackled along time ago as it is at the core of their business. The accuracy of their usage is important to them and the advertisers so they know they are getting value for money and to prevent click fraud from people trying to get more money out of ad-sense than they deserve. For the record I'm not a Google fanboy. I use Google for only one thing, search. I'm happy they have been the end of those horrific flashy banner ads that invaded my screen in the not to distant past. Having ads for things I might want can actually help when when I'm looking to say buy something. Good luck with your pointless campaign against the only large corporation with the motto of "Do No Evil". If you want a refresher of their philosophy check out http://www.google.com/corporate/tenthings.html.

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