Google will eat itself in 202,345,117 years

Click bots shovel stock into secret Swiss bank


Update: After further investigation, it's likely the Google Will Eat Itself project is indeed ia hoax - though those behind it say that it's not.

A band of wily European performance artists say that for more than two and a half years, they have used an ongoing Google click fraud scheme as a means of acquiring hundreds of shares in Google stock. With this online ploy - dubbed Google Will Eat Itself - Hans Bernhard and his cohorts hope to eventually buy the entire company and turn it over to the people.

At the current rate, they say, the project will reach completion in about 202,345,117 years. But if you join the scheme, they insist, Google's self munch is all the closer. "If 10 million people start doing the same thing we're doing," says Hans Bernhard, a Vienna-based artist, "then Google would eat itself within a relatively short period of time."

Google Will Eat Itself

The Self Munch

Berhard calls Google Will Eat Itself an "auto-cannibalistic system." He and his pals claim that they run about 50 hidden web sites packed with Google ads and that they regularly generate clicks on these ads via an army of carefully-controlled online bots. "This isn't that hard to do if you have the technical skills. Google's system is not perfect." The trick, Bernard says, is to keep each bot below Google's click fraud threshold.

At the end of each month, Google forks over money for these clicks, they say, and they slip the money into a secret Swiss bank account. And when there's enough for another Google share, they buy another Google share. As it stands, they say, they've gobbled up 819 shares - a stake worth about $405,405.

Of course, ad funds coming from Google are first coming from Google advertisers.

"By short-circuiting Google's advertising system, we're having Google buy itself - though in the end we actually own the shares," Bernard says. "But this is not a criminal practice. We will give the shares back to the general public - general internet users."

Google acknowledges that at least 10 per cent of its ad clicks are fraudulent. Independent research firm Click Forensics says the industry wide rate is 16.2 per cent. And some victimized advertisers put the rate much higher. But you have to wonder if Google Will Eat Itself is just a bit of fun.

When we contacted Google, it said that it does not comment on individual AdSense users. According the Google Will Eat Itself site, the Mountain View search giant has turned off at least some of the group's click-generating sites ®

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Venezuelan cardiologist charged with designing and selling ransomware
    If his surgery was as bad as his opsec, this chap has caused a lot of trouble

    The US Attorney’s Office has charged a 55-year-old cardiologist with creating and selling ransomware and profiting from revenue-share agreements with criminals who deployed his product.

    A complaint [PDF] filed on May 16th in the US District Court, Eastern District of New York, alleges that Moises Luis Zagala Gonzalez – aka “Nosophoros,” “Aesculapius” and “Nebuchadnezzar” – created a ransomware builder known as “Thanos”, and ransomware named “Jigsaw v. 2”.

    The self-taught coder and qualified cardiologist advertised the ransomware in dark corners of the web, then licensed it ransomware to crooks for either $500 or $800 a month. He also ran an affiliate network that offered the chance to run Thanos to build custom ransomware, in return for a share of profits.

    Continue reading
  • China reveals its top five sources of online fraud
    'Brushing' tops the list, as quantity of forbidden content continue to rise

    China’s Ministry of Public Security has revealed the five most prevalent types of fraud perpetrated online or by phone.

    The e-commerce scam known as “brushing” topped the list and accounted for around a third of all internet fraud activity in China. Brushing sees victims lured into making payment for goods that may not be delivered, or are only delivered after buyers are asked to perform several other online tasks that may include downloading dodgy apps and/or establishing e-commerce profiles. Victims can find themselves being asked to pay more than the original price for goods, or denied promised rebates.

    Brushing has also seen e-commerce providers send victims small items they never ordered, using profiles victims did not create or control. Dodgy vendors use that tactic to then write themselves glowing product reviews that increase their visibility on marketplace platforms.

    Continue reading
  • Oracle really does owe HPE $3b after Supreme Court snub
    Appeal petition as doomed as the Itanic chips at the heart of decade-long drama

    The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Oracle's appeal to overturn a ruling ordering the IT giant to pay $3 billion in damages for violating a decades-old contract agreement.

    In June 2011, back when HPE had not yet split from HP, the biz sued Oracle for refusing to add Itanium support to its database software. HP alleged Big Red had violated a contract agreement by not doing so, though Oracle claimed it explicitly refused requests to support Intel's Itanium processors at the time.

    A lengthy legal battle ensued. Oracle was ordered to cough up $3 billion in damages in a jury trial, and appealed the decision all the way to the highest judges in America. Now, the Supreme Court has declined its petition.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022