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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Class action suit against more than 10 ISPs and Paxfire caught cookiestuffing
    I am a long-time lurker, but some recent news about unethical behavior from ISPs and Paxfire moved me to post

    Source: US internet providers hijacking users' search queries - tech - 04 August 2011 - New Scientist
    Quote Originally Posted by NewScientist
    Reese Richman, a New York law firm that specialises in consumer protection lawsuits, today filed a class action against one of the ISPs and Paxfire, which researchers believe provided the equipment used to hijack and redirect the searches. The suit, filed together with Milberg, another New York firm, alleges that the process violated numerous statutes, including wiretapping laws.

    The hijacking seems to target searches for certain well-known brand names only. Users entering the term "apple" into their browser's search bar, for example, would normally get a page of results from their search engine of choice. The ISPs involved in the scheme intercept such requests before they reach a search engine, however. They pass the search to an online marketing company, which directs the user straight to Apple's online retail website.
    Quote Originally Posted by NewScientist
    The Berkeley team has identified 165 search terms, from "apple" and "dell" to "safeway" and "bloomingdales", that are passed to marketing companies and then redirected to the appropriate retail website. The marketing companies include organisations like Commission Junction, a Santa Barbara, California, a firm that retailers pay to supply traffic to their websites.


  2. #2
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Moved to the Unethical Affiliates forum

  3. #3
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    List of ISPs that are redirecting some search queries

    Cavalier
    Cincinnati Bell
    Cogent
    Frontier
    Hughes
    IBBS
    Insight Broadband
    Megapath
    Paetec
    RCN
    Wide Open West
    XO Communication

    Charter and Iowa Telecom were observed to be redirecting search terms, but have since ceased doing so. Iowa Telecom stopped its redirection between July and September 2010, and Charter stopped in March 2011.
    Interesting. Anyone using these ISPs that can verify this?
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  4. #4
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Just received this from BrandVerity and received permission to repost:


    Greetings from BrandVerity!

    In the last week, New Scientist and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, together with researchers at the International Computer Science Institute at UC Berkeley, broke the news that ISPs representing ~2% of US users were using a company called Paxfire to actively redirect searches on Google, Bing, and Yahoo!.

    It seems that Paxfire targeted searches for 170 well-known brand names such as "Apple," "Dell," or "Bloomingdales." When a user typed one of those terms into a browser's search bar, instead of showing a page of search engine results, the ISP would redirect the search through an affiliate link. Paxfire, and potentially the ISP, likely received commissions for any sale made at the site to which the user was directed.

    It is unclear how much the ISPs knew about Paxfire's tactics, but in the last week all have ended the redirections. Commission Junction has also banned the company from their network, pending an investigation. Linkshare and the Google Affiliate Network, however, have not yet taken the same action.
    We have been unable to verify the hijacking or the IDs used, however BrandVerity did find the following affiliate IDs for Paxfire:

    Linkshare:
    Encrypted ID: 96XKDGZqfBQ
    https://dashboard.linkshare.com/Adve...id/2137445.php
    As well as this encrypted ID: yduvNjC9q6Y, which appears to be disabled at the moment

    GAN:
    ID: 21000000000285717
    http://www.connectcommerce.com/clien...5717&reltype=A

    Although it looks as though Paxfire has ceased hijacking in the wake of the publicity surrounding their tactics, BrandVerity strongly recommends that anyone running an affiliate program check to see if Paxfire is a member. While we haven't been able to verify the activity on these IDs in particular, we would strongly encourage you to consider removing them from your program. In particular, you were likely hijacked if their sales experienced a sudden drop this weekend when they ceased the tactic. Should you choose to keep them, we suggest extremely close monitoring of their actions and tactics.

    We have added our voice to the conversation with a blog post that goes into more detail about Paxfire's tactics, should you desire more information about the company and the hijack. As always, please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.

    Best,
    The BrandVerity Team
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
    Visit Greg Hoffman Consulting

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  6. #5
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Wonder what the Google, Bing, and Yahoo! have to say about this...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  7. #6
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    Greg, thanks for posting. We just received notice that GAN has deactivated the affiliate from their network.


  8. #7
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    LinkShare has also deactivated the affiliate.


  9. #8
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    Just intended to pop in here to check on something and pop out real quickly again but as usual somethin sidetracks me. lol

    Will sound like a dummy but am not sure I understand what is happening here.

    "broke the news that ISPs representing ~2% of US users were using a company called Paxfire to actively redirect searches on Google, Bing, and Yahoo!."

    Are they saying that these ISPs were affiliated somehow with the affiliate Paxfire and were redirecting searches then getting commissions for them??

    I don't know about the other ISPs mentioned but umm that 2% number seems to me like a similar thought I have when somebody tries to tell me a leak doesn't matter cos it only involves a small amount of visitors. That 2% number may be a small number but if you're the 2% it's happening to and that number makes up a large percentage of your entire amount.......then it isn't a small percentage to you.

    One ISP is in my area and although is not the largest in the area is quite popular. We were even considering switching to it since our neighbors have told us how satisfied they've been and is a whole lot cheaper than the other larger ISP in area.

    So. were these ISP's acting with Paxfire ?? or was Paxfire somehow just able to redirect on users computers that had those particular ISPs as their provider??

  10. #9
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    The ISPs were Paxfire customers. They had installed a Paxfire appliance in their network that conducted the hijack. Presumably Paxfire shared some of their affiliate revenue with the ISPs.

  11. #10
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    Thank you davenaff for answering my question. Made a search to learn more about this and weird thing is only one of the ISP's is being sued. Also said Paxfire is denying it and trying to get sanctions against the lawyers.

    Regardless what the outcome is, definitely not happy with my ISP after learning this.

  12. #11
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    I cannot understand how this is unethical? User can always pick another ISP

  13. #12
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pluver View Post
    I cannot understand how this is unethical? User can always pick another ISP
    In some geographical areas and or communities that may be difficult to do. There may only be one or two choices. For example, I have only one choice of "cable" provider and because I do not have a land-line phone connection in our home I don't have the option of DSL. Sure, that may be my choice to not have a land line - and we used to - but we found we were not using it - at all - and discontinued the service.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  14. #13
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pluver View Post
    I cannot understand how this is unethical? User can always pick another ISP
    This tread is 2 year old but............

    Really??? Are you an affiliate? If so are you a honest affiliate?
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!


  15. #14
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    I found an update here:
    Government Can Help or Hinder Entrepreneurship - Mark Lewyn - Voices - AllThingsD

    The guy actually tries to label his scheming tactic "innovation".. but it makes for some good reading. Delusional.

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