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  1. #1
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    As I've mentioned in a couple prior posts, I have a video on hand showing Ebates Moe Money Maker software installed through security holes. I am now releasing this video to the public. My video and write-up are at the following page:

    Video: Ebates Installed through Security Holes

    For those watching the video: After I get infected (first couple minutes), there's some dull material as I browse the new programs installed through security holes. Ebates' directory and files are shown in the final ten seconds of the video.

    Comments welcomed.

    I wonder: What will the networks do? Now there's clear proof that 1) Ebates sometimes is installed without notice and consent, and 2) Ebates sometimes violates network policies (CoC and Addendum) as to overwriting other affiliates' cookies. Will the networks look the other way? Grant time for correction? Or take decisive action to see that merchants don't pay ill-gotten commissions?

    Feel free to cross-post to other forums as appropriate.


    Ben

  2. #2
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    Can Linkshare replicate the results?

    I SERIOUSLY doubt it.

  3. #3
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Great informative page Ben. You can bet the sleezeballs emulating eBates and all would never get mentioned at ABW if it weren't for your efforts to uncover the scumbags. We only hear about them after they havce milked our traffic and drained our merchants bank accounts.

    "Meanwhile, Ebates has inspired copy-cat programs with similar business models but even more controversial execution. I've recently made literally scores of videos of eXactAdvertising's CashBack by BargainBuddy installed through security holes, and also of TopRebates/WebRebates installed through security holes -- always without any notice or consent whatsoever. These programs remain participants in the Commission Junction and LinkShare networks -- presumably receiving commissions from these networks and their many merchants (CashBack merchants, TopRebates merchants). I'm surprised that so many merchants continue to do business with these software providers -- including so many big merchants, who in other contexts would never consider partnering with software installed without notice and consent.

    I think the core problem here is skewed incentives. Affiliate networks (CJ and LinkShare) have no financial incentive to limit Ebates' operation. Instead, the more commissions claimed by Ebates, the more money flows through the networks -- letting the networks charge fees of their own. In principle we might expect merchants to refuse to pay commissions not fairly earned -- but merchants' affiliate managers sometimes have secondary motives too. In particular, affiliate managers tend to get bonuses when their affiliate programs grow, which surely makes them particularly hesitant to turn away the large transaction volume brought by MMM's automatic commission system."


    ...." http://www.cashbackbuddy.com/merchants.php

    Registrant:
    eXact Advertising
    101 W. 23rd Street, PMB 2392
    New York, New York 10011
    United States

    Registered through: GoDaddy.com
    Domain Name: CASHBACKBUDDY.COM
    Created on: 17-Mar-04
    Expires on: 17-Mar-06
    Last Updated on: 31-Mar-04

    Administrative Contact:
    Adminstrator, Domain domains2@exactadvertising.com
    eXact Advertising
    101 W. 23rd Street, PMB 2392
    New York, New York 10011
    United States
    6462231227 Fax --
    Technical Contact:
    Adminstrator, Domain domains2@exactadvertising.com
    eXact Advertising

    or http://www.toprebates.com/cgi/shop.p...ge=a&showall=0
    Organization:
    TopRebates, LLC.
    Ed Yeh
    4546 B-10 El Camino Real, Suite 327
    Los Altos, CA 94022
    US
    Phone: (650) 989-6812
    Fax..: (650) 989-6812
    Email: admin@toprebates.com

    Registrar Name....: Register.com
    Registrar Whois...: whois.register.com
    Registrar Homepage: http://www.register.com

    Domain Name: TOPREBATES.COM

    Created on..............: Mon, Oct 22, 2001
    Expires on..............: Sun, Oct 22, 2006
    Record last updated on..: Wed, Feb 18, 2004

    NOW comes the real kicker Ben uncovered....

    ""Ebates may disable or uninstall any other product or software tool that might interfere with the operability of the Moe Money Maker Software or otherwise preempt or render inoperative the Moe Money Maker Software ... In installing the Moe Money Maker Software, you authorize Ebates to disable, uninstall, or delete any application or software that might, in Ebates' opinion nullify its function."

    Ebates is right to worry that a user can only successfully run a single automatic commission-claiming program. But this license language allows Ebates to delete far more than competing commission programs. For example, if Ad-Aware removes MMM as spyware, thereby "interfering with the operability" of MMM, then the license purports to give Ebates the right to remove Ad-Aware."
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  4. #4
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    Amazing. A drive-by install and ad-blocker disable. The affiliate managers must LOVE it.

  5. #5
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    This type of thievery cannot go unrewarded. I wonder what Linkshare will name the award they give ebates for this one.

    Chet

  6. #6
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> What will the networks do? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Well we can be pretty sure that CJ won't do a g#ddamed thing so long as the current staff (with you-know-who's strings attached to their hands and lips) remains in place.

  7. #7
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    What's with all the black-out?

  8. #8
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pete:
    What's with all the black-out? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> When I was making the video, I didn't anticipate seeing anything so notable that I would want to share the video with the public. So I happened to be looking at certain content (installed on my PC through a security hole, without my consent) that I don't currently care to discuss with the public. I used a video editor to cover that content with blackout. Other than that, the video shows exactly what was on my screen during the testing procedure.

    I apologize for making you all sit through so much dull stuff in the video. Those who are impatient can use Windows Media Player's fast-forward feature (which works quite well -- goes all the way up to 10x as I recall). Ebates software is shown in the final 10-15 seconds of the video.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Can Linkshare replicate the results? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>LinkShare couldn't sink the Titanic if they were trying to!

    LinkShare and CJ are able to replicate what they want to replicate. The videos here at ABW should serve as enough documentation as to what's going on. An expert would be able to tell easily enough if they've been altered.

    LS and CJ don't want to do anything about this...they're still making money...their affiliates (the honest ones) are the only ones being hurt by this practice.

    Andy

  10. #10
    pph Expert! Gordon's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> LinkShare and CJ are able to replicate what they want to replicate <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> This is absolutely spot on. The Networks have no intention whatsoever of removing this kind scum until the Law courts forces them to. They are perfectly at ease with the prospect of being the middle man and making money from others who are stealing from us. They are nothing but a bunch of thieves themselves.

    One day they will be called out on it and I hope to hell every bloody one of them gets a long sentence.
    One day parasites and their ilk will be made illegal, I bet a few Lawyers will be pissed off when the day comes.
    Mr. Spitzer is fetching it nearer

    YouTrek

  11. #11
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Ah.. sp2****ed.biz/coolsearch.biz was implicated in a major trojan incident last month.

    I'm guessing (although you're the expert here Ben) that it's some sort of affiliate install of eBates?

    Looks like a dialer on there too. Nice.

    Well, whoever's behing *that* is basically a criminal, but all the domain details seem fake. Hmph.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  12. #12
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    I agree that it's highly likely that the nonconsensual installations were made not by Ebates directly, but by some actor performing installations in exchange for commissions from Ebates. Is there a difference? Ebates staff probably lacked actual knowledge of what was taking place. On the other hand, big companies like Ebates could put in place compliance programs to assure that their disttributors use only permitted methods, and could design their installation programs such that "silent" installations are impossible in any event (just put some messages and confirmation in the installer EXE). So there's plenty Ebates could do to be more diligent in preventing these kinds of installations.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador qball0213's Avatar
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    Why would they even want too? It's the same situation the networks are in, in this case, these guys are probably getting ebates moe money on a lot more computers than ebates can do on their site alone. Who actually wants this stuff? Not many people, so ebates needs these guys who force it on pc's, because thiers is a numbers game. They won't get rid of them, I'd bet money on it.

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