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  1. #1
    Roll Tide mobilebadboy's Avatar
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    Report Claims Yahoo May Gain From Adware Click Fraud
    Harvard researcher Ben Edelman on Tuesday released a report tying Yahoo Inc. to adware vendors that he claimed were displaying pop-up advertising that appeared to commit click fraud.

    The online report, "The Spyware -- Click-Fraud Connection -- and Yahoo's Role Revisited," traces what appears to be click fraud that starts with the adware vendor and eventually leads to Yahoo. In between are online marketing companies that sell advertising.




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  2. #2
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    I'm here and following this thread. Happy to answer questions if anyone has any...

  3. #3
    Member Kevin Collier's Avatar
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    Hi Ben. Thanks for being here.

    Can you give any specific instructions as to what publishers can actually do to help in this fight? The facts that you present are quite concise and beefy enough for just about any of us publishers to be able to get a grasp on what is really happening here....right before our eyes.

    Other than avoiding the questionable programs..... what else can publishers really do that would make a difference in this battle?

    Four years ago I was making a fairly good income with affiliate marketing and today my income is less than half of what it was back then. Due to the fact that I have expanded my business 10-fold I can only attribute my decline to the prolific increase of adware fraud.

    Also, do you know of any class action type lawsuits that are currently underway that would pit internet publishers against advetisers that use questionable tactics?

    Thank you,
    Kevin Collier
    :warning: If we don't get some cool rules ourselves.... pronto... then we'll just be bogus too..

  4. #4
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    So Ben, if I am interpreting this correctly, this is a way for the adware companies to get user's money even if they don't buy, via redirected ppc ads. Worse yet, the user does not even have to click on the ad, correct?

    How can Yahoo allow this? It is out and out theft! I have long ago abandoned their PPC. This is more reason to not ever try them again.

    Should not the FTC or some other regulatory agency be enforcing some sort of legal standards? If a brick and morter company did what these adware folks (and their willing partners) are doing, the whole lot of them would be behind bars.
    This World is Not My Home
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  5. #5
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    Ben - I see six distinct problems with the Yahoo practices and partners at issue.
    Click fraud, Untargeted traffic, Self-targeting traffic, Failure to label sponsored links as such, Low-quality traffic, Unethical spyware-sourced traffic
    Your article is an eye opener. Thanks.

  6. #6
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    Sadly, I think there's not much affiliates, publishers, and other PPC advertisers can do to help resolve this problem. You can complain to Yahoo, of course, and if you think you're suffering from click fraud, you should. You're right to think litigation may offer you some benefits in the future, but it's not obvious how individual advertisers can benefit from that in the very short run.

    Cheesehead, you're absolutely right: this click fraud lets adware companies get an advertiser's money, eevn if the advertiser doesn't buy ads from adware vendors, so long as the advertiser buys Yahoo PPC. And, yes, the adware vendor gets paid even if users don't click the ad. I agree that this is clear violation of Yahoo's PPC rules. But this is what happens when the rules aren't enforced.

  7. #7
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    This is the exact reason I no longer have an Overture account. I am sure that some of this goes on with all PPCSEs, but Overture/Yahoo seems to be eaten up with it and has been for a long time.


  8. #8
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    Wow, this is great information. Thanks for the post and the article.

  9. #9
    Yup, Sure ... now let me check ... Cagles Mill's Avatar
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    As if this isn't bad enough news, even the process of researching it results in advertisers being charged for fraudulent clicks. The poor advertiser just can't win.
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  10. #10
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Contextual advertising syndication is the root cause of the broken promise of PPCSE keyword advertising. Very nice proof of concept presentation Ben. It does show the networks turning a blind eye to, or rewarding normal affiliate cookie stuffing, led to automated PPCSE click fraud from all contextual BHO affiliates. These incentive contexual BHO Adwhores always practiced force cookie stuffing. Now they're branching out into PPCSE click fraud.

    Want to see the current NY Supreme court case study and testimony about how Direct Revenue and their syndication partners perform the nasty on us and the network merchants? http://www.oag.state.ny.us/press/200...20Brookman.pdf

    Take a typical drive-by and hidden bundling Super Affiliate SkyHorn and see how they're branching out til Spitzer and the FTC take them to task ... http://www.skyhorn.com/index-2.html notice the scumbag programs they built to spread spyware/adware at the bottom. You'll find some CPA networks pushing these programs and a bunch of cookie stuffing BHO syndication partners.


    SKYHORN.COM, INC.

    We distribute SKYHORN Media only to users who have been given the opportunity to review and accept our End User License Agreement (EULA) and this Privacy Policy before downloading any free software or content and thus before the SKYHORN Media is installed. If you believe you have received SKYHORN Media without having accepting the EULA, please let us know at customer-support@support.myiefavorites.com.

    By downloading, installing, or using the free software or content containing SKYHORN Media, you agree to receive advertisements from SKYHORN.COM's business partners and associates. The ads may be displayed as "pop-up" and/or "pop-under" ads, or in other formats. SKYHORN Media may also add enhancements to your computer, such as the redirection of 404 pages, modification of your default Internet Explorer search page, and alternate links on certain html text links. By accepting the terms of the EULA, you agree that we have the right to run such advertisements and promotions without compensation to you. Your business dealings with, or participation in promotions of, advertisers found on or through SKYHORN Media, including payment and delivery of related goods or services, and any other terms, conditions, warranties or representations associated with such dealings, are solely between you and the advertiser. You agree that SKYHORN.COM will not be responsible for any loss or damage of any sort incurred as the result of any such dealings or as the result of the presence of such advertisers with the SKYHORN Media network.

    Personal information (your name, email address, mailing address, general profile information, preferences, and similar information) may sometimes be collected, on a voluntary basis, for special promotions, contests, and surveys. That information will only be collected with your consent. We may share, rent or sell personally identifying information you provide us to third parties.

    In addition, we may collect the following information from your computer:

    Click-stream data
    HTTP protocol elements
    Web sites/pages viewed
    The amount of time spent at some Web sites
    Response to the Advertisements displayed
    Standard web log information including IP address and system settings
    What software is on your personal computer
    Information about the hardware of your personal computer
    Search terms used
    System data
    Your usage characteristics and preferences
    Your first name, last name, and zip/postal code
    Other data at SKYHORN.COM's sole discretion
    The information we collect may be used for any or all of the following purposes:

    Completion and support of the current activity
    Technical administration of the web site
    Research and development
    Customer administration
    Marketing
    Other purposes at SKYHORN.COM's sole discretion ... http://www.myiefavorites.com/privacy.html

    Ben pointed out how Yahoo's efforts to cut off one BHO bad actor click fraudster was circumvented with a simple deal to Ditto.com http://www.ditto.com/partners.aspx opening up all the other sleazy Adwhore operated BHO search bar hijacking wanks. www.hotbar.com and www.go2net.com are Netorious drive-by installers performing PPCSE forced click fraud.


    Look at this cyber-criminal operation setup entirely for PPCSE fraud. http://www.qklinkserver.com/ hopefully both Yahoo and Google closed them down. Back when the BHO Toptext began putting cookied network links in anyones pages based upon contextual Spyware these industry darlings have corrupted all who touched or promote them. Solution to keep affiliate PPA marketing legit ...ban all contextual and incentive marketing affiliates.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  11. #11
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    Remember yahoo's anti-spyware bar that ignored claria and adware at first? Of course they fixed it later when there was outrage, but still.

    Claria was overture's #1 advertiser by far. Seems yahoo built their ppc system on the back of adware. While their revenue stream is more diverse than google, what happens to yahoo's stock if this house of cards falls apart? I thought that a significant amount of their revenue was from overture, does anyone have the numbers?

    Chet

  12. #12
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    it's in the sec filings for Claria...

    see paragraph 16 or 17 here (old news):
    http://clickz.com/news/article.php/3403391

  13. #13
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    What is news is that Ben revisited the issue and little has changed.

    Yahoo is so stupid for playing this game - liability issues, reduced ad spend by their overture users (lower roi will do that!), bad press that will linger, sharing critical info with crooked partners and, in my opinion, bad karma as well.

  14. #14
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    And allowing these bad apples to monetize their malware and mal-intent, means they have the financial resources to encroach further. As Yahoo (and others) allow this fraud, the bad players committing definitive fraud Ben has captured on video, spread further and deeper because NOBODY fears being cut off. Malware already targets direct type ins and banners and more at yahoo.com, so the reduced roi (and accompanying artificial revenue ceiling FOR YAHOO ITSELF!) that it creates, is a much larger issue than just secondary ad distribution.

    In addition, erosion of trust by paying advertisers, will be a costly injury to yahoo in the long run - and self-inflicted at that.

    They should respond to Ben's findings and state their plan for fixing an obviously known problem. Right now, their silence is deafening!

    Ben, any public replies from Yahoo yet?

    Related-topic article titled:
    "How Click Fraud Could Swallow the Internet: Pay-per-click advertising is big, big, big business. So are bogus hits on Internet ads. It's search giants against scam artists in an arms race that could crash the entire online economy."
    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.01/fraud.html

    These fraudsters are big enterprises, not some bot hacking trannies working from their hostels. The article above calls it an arms race... lots of truth to that.

    For me, it's simple. Yahoo is like McDonalds or Burger King and Ben just showed (again) that some of their locations are serving fecal coated french fries. Their brand is in jeopardy and they need to announce action and start pouring bleach all over the place! Consumers collectively are learning that Yahoo's (and others) passivity / inaction is allowing this shitaki to spread and affect the public's safety. At times like these, inactivity is both disastrous to your brand and work done to build it AND an invitation for someone else to come along offering safe and edible french fries.

  15. #15
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Donuts the BHO's, 3rd party AM firms all have their network insiders feeding them aggregrate clickstream keyword conversion data. Don't downplay the impact of Botnet zombies who get pointed at thousands of domains to force click the PPCSE Ads. These cybercriminals behind the 3rd world PPCSE's and search bar hijackers are graduating from just running commission stealing BHO's The friggin merchants and PPCSE advertisers are so stupid they are natural born rubes for the criminals getting tipped daily by those working for( or with) the major affiliate networks.

    I just reported similar fraud click operations being run on the Google Adwords syndication networks. Discovered over 53,000 keyword rich or expired domains all served by the same outfit. Hitfarm and Neosearch

    use http://www.ratite.com/whois/whois.cgi for Hitfarm and Neosearch and see these 2 are twins
    Name servers for these 54,000 Adwords bilking domains:

    NS1.HITFARM.COM 72.51.27.54
    NS2.HITFARM.COM 64.40.102.32

    http://www.neosearch.com/
    http://www.hitfarm.net/
    http://www.danfogleberg.com/

    5 MYCAPITOLCARD.COM HITFARM.COM
    6 MKBIZZ.COM HITFARM.COM
    7 MILWAUKEEBREWERSBASEBALL.COM HITFARM.COM
    8 LNLYWVS.COM HITFARM.COM
    9 LACADENADELAVIDA.COM HITFARM.COM
    10 INSTANTCHARGE.COM HITFARM.COM
    11 INFINITYMOTOR.COM HITFARM.COM
    12 IDSA.COM HITFARM.COM
    13 HUDSONSAVINGSBANK.COM HITFARM.COM
    14 HOLLOWEENWORLD.COM HITFARM.COM
    15 GWINNETTCOUNTYCOURT.COM HITFARM.COM
    16 NSQNET.COM HITFARM.COM
    17 OEMSOFTS.COM HITFARM.COM
    18 WINNIPEGHUMANESOCIETY.COM HITFARM.COM
    19 WEATHCHANNEL.COM HITFARM.COM
    20 WEARHERCHANNEL.COM HITFARM.COM
    21 VANSFOOTWEAR.COM HITFARM.COM
    22 TRACYSPORTS.COM HITFARM.COM
    23 THEBLACKEYEDPEAS.COM HITFARM.COM
    24 THANGCUI.COM HITFARM.COM
    25 THACHSUNG.COM HITFARM.COM
    26 SUPEREXOTTAWA.COM HITFARM.COM
    27 SEARCGGALS.COM HITFARM.COM
    28 SAFEFEDERALCREDITUNION.COM HITFARM.COM
    29 REEBOKSWEET.COM HITFARM.COM
    30 REEBOCKSWEETS.COM HITFARM.COM
    31 GOTTIFAMILY.COM HITFARM.COM
    32 GOTHAMCITYSHOES.COM HITFARM.COM
    33 GEAPLLIANCES.COM HITFARM.COM
    34 CARERRBUILDER.COM HITFARM.COM
    35 BRATZPAACK.COM HITFARM.COM
    36 BELLSAUT.COM HITFARM.COM
    37 BAMBAYCOMPANY.COM HITFARM.COM
    38 AZUERO.COM HITFARM.COM
    39 ASKJESSVES.COM HITFARM.COM
    40 ASHLEYSFURNITURE.COM HITFARM.COM
    41 ASHLEYHOMEFURNISHINGS.COM HITFARM.COM
    42 ANGELESBASEBALL.COM HITFARM.COM
    43 ALLSTATETRUSTBANK.COM HITFARM.COM
    44 ALCOHOLDRUGTREATMENTCENTER.COM HITFARM.COM
    45 ALCOHOLDRUGADDICTIONTREATMENT.COM HITFARM.COM
    46 CHATHAMFAIR.COM HITFARM.COM
    47 CHURCHESFRIEDCHICKEN.COM HITFARM.COM
    48 FLTSVC.COM HITFARM.COM
    49 FARMERSMECHANICSBANK.COM HITFARM.COM
    50 ESPNFANTASYFOOTBALL.COM HITFARM.COM
    51 EPALMAYTAGADVANTAGE.COM HITFARM.COM
    52 EMPLOYEMENTGUIDE.COM HITFARM.COM
    53 EBAULMBSWORLD.COM HITFARM.COM
    54 DRUGALCOHOLTREATMENTFACILITY.COM HITFARM.COM
    55 DINISYCHANNEL.COM HITFARM.COM
    56 DANFOGLEBERG.COM HITFARM.COM
    57 CREIGHTONUNIVERSITY.COM HITFARM.COM
    58 COFFEEBREAKARCHADE.COM HITFARM.COM
    59 CITIZENSBANL.COM HITFARM.COM ... and thousands more

    try a few in your address bar.... most try to get you to bookmark www.qing.com or throw up syndicate popunders like http://pop.searchco.com/?epop=true

    The junk PPCSE traffic, SERP spamming, and fueling search bar BHO or zombie Botnets with targets by these wanks boggles the mind. Yahoo and Google need more class action suits to force them OUTING these keyword account drainers. Just like the major networks they know their top 200 are all commission thieves. They too are content with their cut for fencing double dipping BHO cookies and forced/bogus tricks for click playas doing PPCSE.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  16. #16
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    I just read in mondays ny times that yahoo owns 20% stake in a japanese spyware firm. I forget the name but it was some article.
    Vinny O'Hare - OPM - Contact Info email: vinny at teamloxly.com ~ 702-582-6742 Twitter

  17. #17
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Yahoo Japan To Distribute Claria Software:
    http://www.bima.org/news/index.cfm?ART=3453

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador Trying to Win's Avatar
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    And on top of all of the adove, we now have "Spyware for the Masses"

    http://www.esecurityplanet.com/alert...le.php/3596766
    (not an aff link)
    Just a squirrel trying to get a nut, in the Internet jungle.

  19. #19
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Angry
    Damn Claris Adwhores are branching out into duping endusers into downloading their own Home Page. Here come those contextual TopText type affiliate coded links inserted into any web page. From the Gator Wallet to Personal Home pages this firm is all about kidnapping merchant commissions, while capturing a captive audience. http://www.personalweb.com/index-home.html

    additional article on Adware/Spyware installer software kits was published at http://www.internetnews.com/ent-news...le.php/3596676 and at http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1942497,00.asp

    It isn't all roses for the affiliate cyber criminals lurking here. http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1946230,00.asp
    http://www.eweek.com/category2/0,1874,1599398,00.asp
    Last edited by ecomcity; April 5th, 2006 at 11:45 PM.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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  20. #20
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Turns out many of these baited Adsense forced click sites were operated by Direct Revenue and other BHO outfits meant to defraud advertisers by being diverse targets for forced click zombies. Skyhorn was owned by DR and according to Eliot Spitzer's exibits for their criminal and civil court cases now proceeding to trail.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  21. #21
    Roll Tide mobilebadboy's Avatar
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    Yahoo Revenues Up On Strong Ad Sales

    Yahoo Inc. on Tuesday said net income for the first quarter fell due to stock compensation expenses, but advertising sales drove revenues up 34 percent.

    http://www.techweb.com/showArticle.j...leID=185303893

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