Despite attempts to keep online advertising respectable enough to avoid federal regulation, shady ads keep cropping up and nearly begging lawmakers to intervene.
In the most recent example, ads falsely claiming that President Obama has created college grants and scholarships especially for mothers are littering the web and email in-boxes, ProPublica reported today.
"You see his picture, so I clicked on it," a laid-off, single mother named Nicole Massey told ProPublica. After entering her name, age and other information, school recruiters started emailing and calling Ms. Massey. But they didn't know anything about "the Obama loans," which don't actually exist.
Ms. Massey will be fortunate if misleading information is all she gets from the ad. Shady online ads are a leading conduit for malicious code that can install itself on host computers to harvest user identities or for use as part of a bot network.
The Obama loan ads seem to be coming from companies that sell prospective students' contact information to universities. The Federal Trade Commission already has the power to punish false advertisers, but ads like these still make online advertising look that much more shady.