Google update to software downloads

Posted by on Mar 20, 2015 in Ad Injectors, Malvertising, Phishing

Google has a policy update on the way which is sure to impact the monsters that target vulnerable audiences with a myriad of deceptive downloads.

Dear AdWords Advertiser,

We’re writing to let you know about a change to Google’s advertising policies that might affect your AdWords account.

Around late April, the Google AdWords policy on unsupported content will change to include additional requirements related to free desktop software downloads. If you don’t promote free desktop software, this change shouldn’t impact you.

After this change, you won’t be allowed to promote free desktop software unless the ad explicitly names the promoted software and leads to the designated primary distribution source for the software.

If you advertise free desktop software, please make sure that your ads and landing pages meet the following standards:

— The ad includes the promoted software’s name

The ad directs to a landing page on the site that’s designated as the software’s primary distribution source

Google will be providing software developers an opportunity to designate their primary distribution source for use with these ads.

Advertisers will be required to comply with the new AdWords “unsupported content” policy around late April. After the new policy goes into effect, you’ll see details at


The Google AdWords Team

I love seeing updates of this nature because they have the potential to do so much good. Think of how many times you were almost caught by a free [& fake!]¬† flash/browser/java/<you name it>¬†download. This has the potential to do some real damage against the bad guys, of course it does depend on the developers of the free software working with Google to define what the designated primary distribution source above actually is. I can’t see this being too much of a problem though. These developers are just as concerned about protecting their own brand, so makes sense that they would invest in making this happen.

Since advertisers of this ilk generate big revenue, it’s seldom that you’ll see a network shying away from their business, so even though it’s early days I think this is a huge and positive step in the right direction. To the folks at Google that surely fought monsters themselves in trying to get this policy update out there, I say this: well done, well done indeed.

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