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.

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