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As I said before, this is really starting to become a big, big PR problem — although some advertisers and SEMs argue it's a real problem. Coverage from Wired on the issue follows on the heels of recent WSJ coverage from Kevin Delaney.

There are two big problems: existing and potential PPC advertisers losing confidence (especially SMEs) and stock valuations taking a hit. The latter would be the result of the former or anticipation of the former by Wall Street analysts.

The engines/paid-search networks are going to have to go public soon with a strong PR push (and evidence) that they: a) take the problem seriously and are b) vigilantly and diligently protecting the integrity of the system and their advertisers' interests.

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  1. What's missing is a perspective on how the public Internet solves these problems. Adding proprietary auditing solutions to proprietary ad servers is unlikely to succeed. We're pursuing an open-source approach, trying to get phpadsnew over the hump into a full-blown open source movement, so that there is an open, vendor-neutral interface at which to plug in fraud solutions.

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