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  1. #1
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    quote:
    The tactic is in the spotlight in a little-noticed legal dispute unfolding in Seattle. Caribbean-based ad company Avenue Media last month accused New York-based DirectRevenue of using competing software to detect and delete Avenue Media's Internet Optimizer program from its customers' computers.

    According to the Nov. 24 complaint, DirectResponse's software detects Internet Optimizer and then sends a command to "kill" the program, a process that deletes its files from the PC registry and from the computer altogether. Avenue Media said DirectRevenue's tactics have caused it to lose about 1 million customers--about half its installed base--and as much as $10,000 a day in revenue.

    "DirectRevenue, knowingly and with intent to defraud, exceeded its authorized access to users' computers...by automatically uninstalling Avenue Media's Internet Optimizer upon installation or update of DirectRevenue's competing browser," according to the complaint, which was filed in a district court in Seattle.

    ....

    Founded in 2002, DirectRevenue makes software to monitor Web surfing behavior and send targeted ads while people are at a particular Web site. For example, it might deliver a Hertz ad while a visitor is at the Web site of Dollar.

    DirectRevenue acknowledges that it may uninstall competing applications in its user license agreement: "You further understand and agree, by installing the software, that the software may, without any further prior notice to you, remove, disable or render inoperative other adware programs resident on your computer."


    Source



    Funny, but really sad point of the matter here is who DirectRevenue is ... remember IPInsight? The guys who did the Off screen pop-ups last year? Dan Kaufman and company, who redirected the commissions through a network of 20+ sites ... well that's them - The new Direct Revenue Guys. BTW- in case no one knows, these are all ex Dash guys.

    The funny thing is that I'm working with a newsweek reporter on a story about Direct Revenue.

    From April 04, 2003 04:57 PM in one of the private forums I postd ...

    quote:
    Symptoms:
    ========

    Navigating to a retailer website by any publisher's link or advertisement causes an instance of Internet Explorer (IE) to open with a co ordinance outside of the user's viewable screen area. This Window makes a call one or more URLS which include but may not be limited to http://xads.cliks.org, www.offeroptimizer.com www.vx2.cc and send detailed version information about itself to transctl.vx2.cc These sites returns a random publisher affiliate ID and launches an additional IE Window off screen that navigates that window to the same merchant with the provided affiliate code, thereby replacing the cookie value of the original publisher responsible for the navigation and causing the originator to loose there affiliate fee revenue.

    In an apparent effort to avoid detection, every aspect of this applications function seams to be randomized. The time and consistency of infection varied. Once infected, the number and frequency of the initial popup varied. Following those popups, the number and frequency of navigation interception varied. Of those navigations intercepted, the affiliate code used to overwrite for any specific retailer varied. In other words, when commissions are stolen, they are spread out among various publishers. (6 specific PID's supplied to networks)

    Origins and cause:
    ============

    Clean computers were used for testing. The version of IPInsight that is currently bundled with the Morpheus application was installed. Mostly test computers where purchases were made became infected with a file named msview.dll. The call for this file is made by the IPInsight technology, and possesses the EXACT create date and time (to the second) as the IPInsight ini files that this application typically installs and updates.

    The IPInsight technology is a variant of the same parent as msview. www.doxdesk.com is quoted saying, "IPInsight/Ipinsigt is another parasite adapted from the Transponder/ Msview/VX2 code base". More detailed information can be found at http://www.doxdesk.com/parasite/IPInsight.html




    ... and here are links to some specific threads on that issue:


    http://abw.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&...9&m=2586021703 (TD Forum)

    http://abw.infopop.cc/eve/ubb.x?q=Y&...9&m=8226092703 (CommissionJunction Forum)

    http://abw.infopop.cc/eve/ubb.x?a=tp...9&m=4866047233 (Linkshare Forum)
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  2. #2
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Wouldn't it be nice to wake up one day and find the network offices and servers were raided by the Feds and they had to cough up stats and records for several years. Following the stolen money trail would be great for the career path of Eliot Spitzer (NY DA's office). He needs the votes from New Yorkers coming from busting the computer hijacking rings and their commission fences.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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  3. #3
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    DirectRevenue seems to be having a rough week!

    1) My write-up of their uninstallation of competitors -- I happened to see this, and record it on video and with a packet sniffer, on multiple occasions last month. My site reports targeted programs, shows the method of targeting, etc. I also note the personal information they transmit, including users' MAC Addresses, and Windows Product IDs.

    2) Is This Software On Your Hard Drive? - the Newsweek article Haiko mentioned, quoting both him and me, among others. Lengthy (3000+ words) but well worth reading -- perhaps the best spyware article I've read in months. I was particularly interested in responses from DirectRevenue staff and from the VC providing funding.

  4. #4
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    This is becoming a not so uncommon practice with these apps. I've seen other do the same thing and the 'disclosure' in their EULA's.

    I have to wonder what type of precedent this could set however if they win their case. Would this open to door for the parasites to sue the anti-spyware removal apps for lost revenue?

  5. #5
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    It was indeed one of the best articles I've read in a looooong time, Brad did a grea job! I reccommend that all read it ...

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6689667/site/newsweek/
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  6. #6
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Wonder how many times a wekk the Linkshare folks and other network wanks lunch with this Adwhore operation.... "While companies like Claria, WhenU and 180Solutions have been big targets for consumer advocates, Direct Revenue has mostly flown under the radar, probably because it has called itself so many different things over the years. Yet it is one of the largest companies in the industry. Direct Revenue’s ad server, OfferOptimizer.com, hits users with so many pop-up windows that the ranking site Alexa.com considers it the seventh-most viewed site on the Net, just ahead of America Online. Sources familiar with the company’s marketing pitches say it claims more than 1.5 billion ad impressions per month. Industry sources also say they believe Direct Revenue has its adware on more desktops than both WhenU and 180Solutions."

    Peddling privacy info and making spyware into a household name makes these 4 heros at network functions... "Another site registered to Direct Revenue was TrueData.org. In mid-2001 the site declared that TrueData software “tracks every site visited, every keyword entered into search engines, every transaction completed at the top 500 merchants” while calculating the user’s physical location. The company then claimed to sell all that info to direct marketers. “If you believe that a complete understanding regarding what millions of consumers are doing online might help you target your offline direct mail promotions, you should be testing the marketing lists of TrueData,” the site proclaimed."

    Great article with names, places and schemes. Like the one to destroy the eraning potential of all domain bound affilkiates while double dipping merchants on non-commissable BHO actions... "Direct Revenue tried one other business model in early 2003: collecting commissions when users with its adware went to the major e-commerce merchants. Caught in the middle of this plan were the three companies that rewarded Web site operators with commissions for sending traffic to sites like eBay and 1800Flowers.com, the so-called affiliate marketing networks. At the time, they were BeFree, Commission Junction and Linkshare (BeFree and CJ have since merged)."

    The tip of the icebery where the networks and merchnats like TigerDirect are caught clueless.... Hidden overwrites of all clicks from any affiliates clicks to 500+ merchants... "A week after the accusation, each of the three networks shut down 26 separate accounts that had been opened on their systems and which were linked to the IPInsight software. (Sources at the two remaining affiliate networks speculate that the multiple accounts were designed so IPInsight could spread the commissions around and avoid detection.) The names on the accounts sounded like typical, dot-com-era Web portals. MyWebCoupons, ShopWithUs.net, BestMerchants.com, Dealorama.net and ThinkingMedia.net were among the 26. A source at one of the affiliate networks says that before he closed the accounts, he called all the phone numbers associated with them to alert their owners to the accusations of fraud. “If they’re innocent, they will call you back,” he says. “We never got one call. None of our voice messages were returned.”
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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  7. #7
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Way to go Ben and Haiko... Help OUT the buggers.

    "He discovered that when users are sent to Xpire.info—sometimes involuntarily when other sites open up invisible links to it—multiple strains of unrequested software, including AbettterInternet, are directed onto the user’s PC through a security hole in Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s popular Web browser. Edelman also found that when users download XXXToolBar.com, a porn-search tool, they agree to see advertising from several companies—but there is no mention of Direct Revenue. Nevertheless, its software installs. “It is not what a company that claims to be as laudable and honorable as Direct Revenue should aspire to,” says Edelman, who plans to post videos of the illicit downloads on his site (benedelman.org).
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  8. #8
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    And now it's been slashdotted!

    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?s...tid=185&tid=95

    Thank you for approving it Michael
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

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