A scad is a scam disguised as an advertisement, usually in reference to internet spam. The term (which is a portmanteau of the words scam + ad) has been used by the Alliance Against Bait and Click to describe scam ads that lure consumers to click on their site using a brand name or an outrageous deal while in turn providing suspect products and deals. This technique is called "bait and click" and has received significant press coverage from Consumer Reports Webwatch which has warned consumers to be wary of scads because they divert unsuspecting searchers from what they are looking for and waste their time. At worst, scads can send users to unsecured or malicious sites – exposing them to fraud, scams, viruses, exploits, trojans, malware, and spyware. Sponsored search results contain over twice as many risky sites as organic listings for the same search terms, according to a study by online security company McAfee. Scads exist in sponsored links and several have delivered Internet users to sites that charge for Firefox, a popular free web browser. One research study found that the display of a company's ads in response to searches for a competitor's brand name was not a widespread phenomenon.
- Ellison, David (August 18, 2008). "Don't get duped by back-to-school 'scad'". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-04-13.
- Brendler, Beau (July 24, 2008). "Protecting Brands from Bogus Sponsored Links". Consumer Reports WebWatch. Retrieved 2009-04-13.
- Finney, Michael (December 29, 2009). "Bait-and-switch scams move to Internet". ABC KGO-TV Seven On Your Side. Retrieved 2009-04-13.
- Edelman, Ben; Rosenbaum, Hannah (June 4, 2007). "The State of Search Engine Safety. McAfee Inc". McAfee Site Advisor. Retrieved 2009-04-13.
- Keats, Shane (February 3, 2006). "How Much Does 'Free' Cost?". McAfee SiteAdvisor Blog. Archived from the original on February 10, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-13.
- Rosso, Mark; Jansen, Bernard (Jim) (August 2010), "Brand Names as Keywords in Sponsored Search Advertising", Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 27 (1): 81–98
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