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To compare my conversation with the Starlite teacher with another conversation on the same topic, a few months ago, I'd met a friend I hadn't seen for a few years for lunch. He has a small IT support business, but business has been slow. In general, he would like to resume flying, but he doesn't have the money. He had a web site dedicated to flying that he was running as a hobby, but had no idea how to make money from it. At first I hesitated bringing up the subject of AdSense with him, but then I figured why not; he's been around the net for almost as long as I have, so (hopefully) he'll know what to do in case of fraud. So I told him about how web publishers are able to make money by putting ads on their sites. I figured his site was a good candidate, since it had been in existence for several years, and would (hopefully) not be marked as a "Made for AdSense" (MFA) site and possibly penalized in terms of earnings. But when I asked him if he knew how Google made money, he didn't know. When I explained to him how AdSense worked, his response was kind of funny:

"I don't believe it. Everyone would click on their own ads."

(Note similarity to the Starlite teacher's answer.)

So I wonder how many people, if they really stopped and thought about how online advertising works, in particular pay-per-some HTTP exchange, would identify the flaw? And of those people, how many would be concerned about potential loss of advertiser ROI?

As an aside, I find it interesting that my friend "got it" right away (after the payment model was explained to him). In the continued vein of my wanting to understand how people solve problems, I wonder what factors go into developing an aptitude for identifying security holes, backdoors, etc?

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