June 15, 2012; Source: Tech News World

Online advertising is constantly expanding, but what can we do to stop bad ads (i.e., those that bring “scams, spam [or] malware”) from taking over? Social and online media leaders Facebook, Twitter, Google, AOL and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) have teamed up with the nonprofit StopBadware to form the Ads Integrity Alliance, which will target online scamming ads and aim to make the Internet a safer place for all. StopBadware initially launched as a project at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. The project split off in 2010 as a nonprofit and, on its website, StopBadware touts itself as “the only not for profit organization focused on protecting the public from badware websites.”

The Ads Integrity Alliance will work to diminish bad ads by promoting best practices to policymakers, advocating for policy initiatives and providing a platform for outreach and awareness regarding malware. StopBadware is managing a community forum,, which will allow online strategists and webmasters to start dialogues and learn from security professionals. The organization will also be publishing malware data to alert network providers of trends to prevent and take action on.

Advertising has become a crucial form of revenue for companies and many nonprofits, but social media strategist Ernest Barbaric tells the E-Commerce Times that these social and online media leaders are not banding together with the nonprofit for purely unselfish reasons. “Bad ads—leading to scams, malicious or untrustworthy websites—actually lower the possibility of online ads, in general, being clicked,” Barbaric says. “And this has a direct impact on the bottom line for all of these companies. So the true reason this is being done is to protect revenue and keep people clicking on ads.” –Aine Creedon