Nearly three years ago, a man was arrested for trying to blackmail Google over clickfraud. It was an amazingly brazen attempt. The guy had created a software program that he claimed could click ads without detection from Google, and then asked the company for $150,000 to keep him from releasing it. Google invited him to their offices for a meeting, where the guy even joked that "this feels like a blackmail session." Of course, law enforcement listening in one room over felt it actually was blackmail and charged the guy. However, Business Week notes that prosecutors quietly dropped the case two weeks ago, noting that while no one will talk publicly about it, the main reason may have been Google's reluctance to reveal much information for the case. Basically, the article contends that for Google to show that there were damages, they would have to explain how this program could successfully engage in clickfraud. Google may have then been concerned that revealing any of that info could either help other fraudsters, or give more ammo to various advertisers who are intent on suing Google over being charged for ads that are fraudulently clicked. However, on the flip side, the article notes that this admission that Google will let such obvious cases drop may encourage more people to engage in clickfraud, knowing that the risks aren't as high. It's still not clear why Google isn't somewhat more upfront with clickfraud. The company claims they don't want to help those engaged in the practice, but the more secretive they are, the more people question how successful they really are. It seems like there should be some middle ground where they can reveal some details without revealing how to beat their anti-clickfraud attempts.
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