I am not sure if this is an expected feature, an expected ‘trick’ from the sponsored advertisements (SAds) of Google but to me its a surprise (shocking). These SAds are the links pushed with payments to the service provider, and are also termed as being part of Pay-Per-Click program. Google says – "No matter what your budget, you can display your ads on Google and our advertising network. Pay only if people click your ads."
Now what I didn’t know that if I hover over these links, the URL that appears in my browser status bar can be different from the actual one that redirect when I click on it. I know its a little confusing to understand, so here are some screenshots.
Example Image 1: Search "Jet Airways" and Hover Over a Sponsored Link
Here one can see when I hover over the sponsored link, I could see www.jetairways.com in the browser status bar. Now, let me click on the link and see if it really goes to the intended link.
Example Image 2: Click on the Sponsored Link and voila! I am on http://r.couponsglobal.com/?jetairwaysdo (ah! this is not what I got when I checked it with a hover-over)
Now, it may look very naive if you are aware of it, but to me I don’t expect it. What if I trust the link, and then on click it turns out to be something else (maybe malicious).