TechSpot

The "top" ad links returned by Google search results don't work

By LookinAround
Oct 27, 2011
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  1. Hi People

    OK. Admittedly, I'm too lazy to want to try and figure this one out. I'm hoping someone out there knows the magic setting to get these links to work

    When i do a google search for products (e.g. tires) the top of their returned links are google's paid "ad" results. Which is fine. But if i ever click one (whether FF or IE) their ad link never works. I have to find the "direct" link to the company.

    Example:
    > If I google search tires (using IE or FF)
    > Top link includes one for Discount Tire but the link doesn't work. It's http://www.google.com/aclk?sa=l&ai=...cid=TC|5864|tire||S|e|5944032146&rct=j&q=tire
    > I have to find the http://www.discounttire.com link to get to the site
  2. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,421   +217

    FWIW, the google link you provided works for me. It takes me directly to the Discount Tire website. At the moment I'm using FF 7.01 on Windows XP.

    I also did a google search for "tires" and clicked the top paid link and it worked too.
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,369   +302

    check your filters for inhibiting patterns like *ads.*

    I've got a ton of these intentionally to block banner ads (nuisance and performance)

    [​IMG]
  4. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 8,366   +167

    Thanks for both your feedback but ARGHHHHHHHH.. Problem still not solved. I might just go back to "living with it". Based on both your input i checked a few more things out (but to no avail)

    1. The google ad links don't work on either FF (also v7.0.1) or if I paste them into IE (v8.0.6001.18702) running XP PRO SP3. But now that I think of it I'll also boot into my Win 7 partition and try there too (IE says "Cannot display web page. FF just hangs till i click something else)

    2. I just double checked all my FF addons/extensions (see below). No ad block. No luck :( And still odd that same problem occurs in both IE and FF

    3. I also tried turning off my antivirus, antispyware and firewall just to check (made no difference)

    Now i'm curious to check Win 7. Will post back later. Thanks for all input! :)

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  5. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,369   +302

    I'm now using Sunbelt Personal FW and now longer have the *ads.* filters, but I recall
    that Comodo had a means to filter URLs as a personal Black List.

    The example cited above is a pure domain block via the etc\hosts file and thus not a pattern matching technique (which I assume you are struggling with from Google Paid Ads).
  6. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,421   +217

    I once had a problem clicking on some links within posts in TechSpot forums. They would lead to nowhere. In my case I had Kaspersky and after I uninstalled it my link clicking problem went away. This does not necessarily apply to you but there it is FWIW.
  7. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 8,366   +167

    BINGO!

    Thanks guys! Every situation can be different so every bit of info helps!

    As it turns out in this case, jobeard's mention of /etc/hosts put me on the right path :)

    I navigated to look at C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts and i saw the file over 600KB! That led me to remember i used to immunize with Spybot which I can only guess was the source of all my /etc/hosts blocks. When i restored /etc/hosts to its default values, google ad links work. (Which at least now i can decide if that's a good or bad thing to have enabled :p)

    Thanks guys!


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