back to article Fraud groups ding Bing for illicit pharmacy promos

Microsoft's new search engine Bing is a haven for criminal enterprises operating unlawful online pharmacies, according to a report that estimates almost 90 percent of sponsored links advertising prescription drugs on the site are violating federal and state laws. The report, jointly prepared by two groups that monitor websites …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Ah well ...

    ... maybe there is a need for an Apple search engine thingie after all?

  2. Dunhill

    surprised ??

    I have no idea why those researchers get upset,

    illegal practices is the trademark of microsoft

    what else can you expect than ??

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    How much..

    ..does testing illicit drugs bought off the internet pay and where can you apply for the job?

  4. Anonymous Coward


    By your logic, nobody should be surprised if Microsoft is found to murder employees and burn their bodies for power generation - after all, 'illegal practises is the trademark of microsoft', right?

    Keep your hyperbole on linux forums where it belongs.

  5. Chris C

    Counterfeit in what way?

    "The researchers tested a sample of a drug that one of the online pharmacies claimed was Cialis and found it was counterfeit."

    Can someone please clarify what is meant by "counterfeit"? i would never encourage anyone to buy drugs online, quite the opposite, but this is an important question. Is it counterfeit in the sense that it is a generic version of the drug being sold under the brand name, or is it counterfeit in that it is something completely different? The former is definitely an issue to take seriously, but the latter is a major health problem which is much more serious.

  6. James O'Brien
    Jobs Horns

    @Ah well ...

    Well if Apple DID have a search engine we would lose all pron, have to pay for a crappy copy of each web page and make anyone who designs a web page sign a NDA so they couldnt talk about lack of support. Hmm come think about it.....

    Nah, started to feel the evil stirrings of St. Jobs in my soul.....*shudders*

  7. Trygve

    @Chris C

    Counterfeit in the sense of it's something completely different from the chemical you thought you were consuming.

    You don't seriously think that some random crim who's selling illegal pills to morons on the internet is going to spend serious money making actual pharmaceuticals, when they can just use a bit of food colouring, sugar and denture adhesive instead?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    So in the interest of science...

    ...did they carry out a control?

    i.e did they do the same research on Google and others to set a base line, or did they just single out Microsoft for a bit of MS bashing.

    Sorry, but unless a baseline is set, the survey is pointless. For all we know 99% on Google are illegal whereas only 1% on Yahoo are.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Chris C

    Don't take the risk, fella... just swallow your pride and go speak to your doctor about it.

  10. Paul 4

    Companys selling outside the US...

    Selling stuff that is illigal to sell in the US? It may be morraly wrong, and illigal in those countrys, but this is about them braking US law.

    The US (And ElReg reporters) realy need to realise that either non US governments have the right to tell US websites what to do, or the US needs to keep its grubby mits within its own boarders.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Toll roads

    In a report today, the Fraud Group claimed that Toll Roads were benefitting from tolls from stolen cars!

    "The report, jointly prepared by two groups that monitor websites for illegal advertising"

    Who, and what is their aim? I seem to recall the US drug industry got imports of their drugs banned from Canada, because the cheaper version of the same drug from the same factory was undercutting their inflated US price.

    Free trade is bad if it cuts into a cartel market apparently.

    Is this group, by any chance related?

  12. Anonymous Coward


    Most of the time the drugs arn't actually counterfeit. They are generics because the patent has run out so any company can manufacture them. They are only counterfeit because they copy a trademark.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    In other news...

    Promises of untold riches from former African dictators probably not true, say researchers...

    Who can be surprised by this? On the intartubes, nobody knows you're a dog. Or a fraud.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    @Paul 4

    Where did it say that they weren't selling in the US? And where did it say that the government was going to be taking some action against foreign web sites?

    Apparently your reading comprehension can use as much work as your writing comprehension...

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Counterfeit in what way?

    Or is it Counterfeit, in that, it's the same thing, but cheaper, cause you can import it though Canada? And the Drug Companies feel like there getting ripped off by these "Gray Imports"??

    Oh well back to the 'ol Drawing Table to design Microsofts' Genuine Drug Advantage, to make sure the Drugs you use are properly Licensed for use.

    And, no I'm not sure I'd want to know what the consequence of a Drug failing WDGA would be!

  16. Bilgepipe

    @David W

    People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Either that or you need to look up the word "hyperbole," which your post contained more of than the OP.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Companys selling outside the US

    > the US needs to keep its grubby mits within its own boarders

    Companies in (say) India can sell whatever they like and deliver it to India. But if they're going to ship a parcel of drugs to an address in the US then they need to follow US law.

    You might also find that the servers hosting these ads are in the US; so the owner of those servers (Microsoft) also needs to follow US law.

  18. JoeTheAnnoying

    An absence of liability...

    Where I live, Dr. Dean Edell has an hour-long radio show every day where he spends a great deal of time debunking medical myths. Unfortunately, the advertisements during the show are all for penile enhancement pills, cancer cures, and other quackery. In the U.S., as long as it's a "dietary supplement" instead of a "drug", you can say anything and everything and get away with it. The shysters advertise on Dean Edell's program because it gives them an air of legitimacy. The radio station sells the ads to the shysters because they get top dollar from them. And, according to U.S. law, it's all perfectly legal. (Though the shysters tend to get in trouble when they fail to provide the 'guaranteed results or your money back!')

    So Microsoft is doing the same thing. They have no legal duty to verify the claims of their advertisers. The usual, "We're just the hosts, we're not providing the content," argument.

    The researchers should really be asked, "So, is it your belief that a company should be responsible for verifying any claims made by advertisers before airing their ads?"

    Good question. Glad I don't have to answer it.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why exactly did they "target" Bing?

    From the brief description in the article, this doesn't sound like it took a team of 10 people 6 months to complete this investigation. More like something you could knock off on a quite afternoon.

    So why exactly was it targeted at a single search engine? And not the most widely used search engine at that?

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