How trustworthy are Google Ads?

Doublingstocks.com promises untold riches for only $47.00. For less than the price of a coffee machine, you can get daily picks of penny stocks that promise to break trend and move up drastically, according to Marl, an automated "stock picking robot" that scans the market, analyses trends, and picks only the best stocks poised to breakout in a matter of days. Want more? You can licence Marl outright for $28,000.

Sound too good to be true? Well, apparently, it is. A group of people in a number of forums have investigated Marl and the claims of Doublingstocks.com, and found them to be, for lack of a better term, bunk. Mistlethrus, a commentor on skeltoac.com, bought the program and decompiled it to review the original source code to find that the program merely contains a database with two tables-- one with random stock symbols that scroll rapidly through the application with randomly applied messages such as "Good Buy!" and "Stock is Recounding," while the other table contains Marl's "pick of the day."

Many others chimed in as well with similar stories, including how it seems the stocks that Marl "picks" jump in value at the same time as the newsletter goes out, and quickly degrade after. Could the programmers of Marl be profiting from their advance knowledge that they will be sending this pick to hundreds or thousands of hungry penny stock traders? Apparently, Marl is also a good poker player. The same graphics and picture of the programmers (albeit, with different names) were featured on Pokerbobby.com, an automated online poker player, which is now defunct.

The good news is that the company they use to process payment, ClickBank, is not a fly-by-night. They honor refunds and stand behind the product, even if it does appear to be nothing more than a smokescreen to promote the stocks of companies that pay to advertise their shares.

The more disturbing aspect of this story is that Google seems to be, inadvertently, in on it. Allowing a questionable company like this one to advertise using Google Ad words dillutes their brand. If any fly-by-night scammer can pay a small fee to appear on every page on Google that mentions stocks or the stock market, or in a respected newspaper like the New York Times (The Stock Trading "Robot" was advertised on the Times business page today), how are consumers to trust other Google Ads?

Granted, most may not trust this ad, believing that what sounds too good to be true usually isn't, but what of the person who is taken in? A Google search does not point users to a fair assessment of this application. As an added twist, the creators of "Marl" have co-opted the "too good to be true" idiom in fake reviews that appear first in a search results list when you search for "doubling stocks scam" on Google. These links point back to the DoublingStocks.com site. By allowing unfiltered advertisements into its system, as well as no method for judging the trustworthiness of the companies behind them, Google is doing a disservice both to its customers and its brand.



They've had an android Philip K. Dick since 2005. At first it just repeated what it was programmed to say, but after upgrades installed to make it learn, it started writing. At first the books were derivative rewrites of PKD originals, some better than others, the most inventive going off on new, modern tangents, incorporating the latest technologies in the paranoid fantasies of Dick's old works. But most were long-winded and in need of a good editor. Lawrence Sutin, Dick's formal biographer, edited a few, but soon grew tired when they proved to be as popular as Dick's original works when they were first published-- that is, not very. Pulp didn't fare well in the 50's and 60's when Dick was writing and was even less popular in the 00's, with competition from movies with computer-generated graphics, video games, and the internet. It was only after the android completed rewriting all of Dick's work that it started to become noticed, particularly with the sequel to Dick's last work, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, itself the third book of a trilogy.

The sequel picks up 10 years after the previous book ends, and follows the lives of Angel Archer's fraternal twins, a boy and a girl, Philip and Mary, whose lives parallel what might have been the lives of Philip K. Dick and his unborn twin sister, had she lived. The book follows the twin's lives as they grow and separate. Philip becomes a failed novelist unable to publish more than one work. Mary is a successful public speaker, who speaks to a growing fan base of the links between science and religion. Mary ends up funding studies and experiments that attempt to bridge the gap between faith and fact, ultimately trying to build a telephone that talks to God. Philip, meanwhile, loses his apartment and ends up sleeping on the street, quietly resenting his sister as he sleeps under posters that advertise her latest speaking engagement. "How can she draw so many in just by talking," he wonders? As the story progresses, it becomes clear that Philip intends to kill Mary as he dreams of a life without a sister, where he is a successful author of novels blending science and religion. But before he can carry out his wish, in the final pages, as he confronts his sister in her office, the telephone to God rings and Mary encourages Philip to pick it up.

There is a lot more in the book. As in a typical Dick book, the lines are blurred between fantasy and reality. Philip's dreams of becoming a famous writer act as a pseudo-biography of Dick himself, complete with his yearning to know his sister who died at birth. Sometimes the real Philip can't separate himself from the dream Philip, and he wakes up depressed, believing he doesn't have a sister, then, seeing the poster of her above him, exists in a limbo state where he actually loves her and wants to get to know her, before he reverts back to anger and rage at her success.

There are religious facts and fantasies, including one that supposes that God talked to man regularly at one point in history. It is all very surprising and the book is greeted with wide success.