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Affiliate Theft Could Be Costing You Millions

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by Asif WILSON Khan, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. Asif WILSON Khan

    Asif WILSON Khan Executive VIP Premium Member

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    Users are downloading toolbars that, unbeknownst to them, contain coding that gives online marketing affiliates the ability to commandeer searches?even when the user is attempting to go straight to your company?s website. With sly coding, toolbars on users? browsers are forcing affiliate codes and tracking cookies onto users? browsers.
    As a result, millions of dollars are being paid out in commissions to affiliates that are circumventing users? intentions. One big example is eBay?s lawsuit against Shawn Hogan. Even worse, your affiliate managers may be turning a blind eye because their compensation is based on the results of the affiliate program; success of these programs is often measured in revenue generated from online sales by the affiliates.


    When an affiliate is stealing sales by implanting software that adds their affiliate information, even when the user is trying to go directly to your website, it inflates the revenue metric used to measure the success of the program.
    This is not to imply that all online affiliates are stealing money or acting nefariously. Affiliate programs are a crucial component to most company?s successful online strategy.
    According to Adam Riemer, affiliate marketing expert and founder of Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC, the impact of the situation is startling.
    During a recent conversation with Riemer, I watched as he opened a browser window in Firefox and Riemer walks me through the process.
    ?As you can see here I am navigating, or at least I think I am, to the Best Buy BBY -1.64% website?and there, did you see that?? he explains.
    After typing ?http://www.bestbuy.com? into the search bar, another website URL appeared and disappeared. In those milliseconds, so fast that most people wouldn?t even notice, the affiliate dropped a cookie onto the machine that would record all sales from that visit to their affiliate account.
    Unfortunately, this is only one issue. In some cases, affiliate adware is over-writing Google GOOG -0.58% pay-per-click ads. Others are stealing from each other by overwriting already-established cookies.
    One Google search showed a company?s URL and description. If you clicked on the link, the software redirected the user to an affiliate account. This means that the SEO department is losing positive metrics because the affiliate made it appear as though that visitor came through their affiliate link. In reality, the company worked hard to get ranked for a competitive keyword and never even knew those efforts worked. Riemer explains the different methods of theft in a guest post on Search Engine Journal.


    So why are the affiliate managers not more concerned with these liabilities?
    ?One of the major issues is the disincentive your affiliate managers have to find and correct these issues,? said Riemer.
    Since most affiliate managers are given better compensation or opportunity if their affiliate program is doing well, there is little reason for them to hunt down these quiet thieves.
    ?These affiliates are not stealing from the user, they are stealing directly from the companies,? said Riemer. ?The user thinks they are navigating straight to the company?s website, not through the affiliate?s website. Some users don?t even know they downloaded the tool bar or they can?t get rid of it once it?s on their machine. Other times users are using browser tools that are designed to save them money like coupon alerts, loyalty programs or shopping helpers.? ...

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jabezlebret/2013/12/19/affiliate-theft-could-be-costing-you-millions/
    http://performinsider.com/2013/12/affiliate-theft-on-rise/
     
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  2. ScrapeBoss

    ScrapeBoss Elite Member Premium Member

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    Thanks for sharing this. This is important for those who likes downloading everything they see online. Most toolbars hijack your browser, and while you might think you were getting a lot of benefits through the information displayed, affiliate commissions would be going.
     
  3. Veyron

    Veyron BANNED BANNED

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    Thanks for the great share and letting everyone know. It's things like this that keep me from having a toolbar as not only can something like this happen but as ScrapeBoss mentioned, most toolbars hijack your browser and will tell you some sites aren't safe and then will coincidentally suggest another "safe" site that's somehow tied to the ownership of the toolbar publisher. It's all a big scam and lie in my opinion and would never install a tool bar again.

    Veyron
     
  4. aoe316

    aoe316 Regular Member

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    I wonder how many cracked seo tools have code like this.
     
  5. yensidtlaw

    yensidtlaw Power Member

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    I actually saw a presentation at DEFCON about a programmer who was hired to do this. He said he brought in a TON per week (I can't remember the exact amount and don't want to exaggerate and say millions, but I think it was that high). I'll see if I can dig it out.
     
  6. procam

    procam Senior Member

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    Adware can be a pain in the ass but can also provide a massive amount of targeted traffic. The reason affiliate networks ignore the cookie stuffing thef is because they are still making money.

    They also might find it pointless because to get to the core of the problem you'd have to hound the big traffic holders out there. Lead Impact, Traffic Vance (Game Vance), AdonNetwork etc. I'm sure they are all in bed together anyways..
     
  7. ProSEO Show

    ProSEO Show Regular Member

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    Shit imagine the injections in cracked wordpress themes lol...
     
  8. Beven

    Beven Elite Member

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    Thanks for the share W130SN.

    Never something I've had a problem with or thought about but good to know.
     
  9. yensidtlaw

    yensidtlaw Power Member

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    I think this is it >
     
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    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2016
  10. MadStacks

    MadStacks BANNED BANNED

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    Sounds like keyword stuffing continually via tool bar.
     
  11. Shirko

    Shirko Junior Member

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    The guy clearly stated that they never got paid because of all the revisions & tracking systems all these affiliate companies have.

    The only thing that I can think of is redirecting the user to a new website with new aff links created by the cracker, which would probably look suspicious and requires a lot of work.

    I wonder if what the article says it's still being as factible as it was many years ago.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2016
  12. King Midas

    King Midas Junior Member

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    Hmmmm, so exactly how would one go about designing one of these toolbars? For Science of course.
     
  13. ChapoGuzman

    ChapoGuzman BANNED BANNED

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    I swear my father who in his mid 60's and barely learned the joys of the internet like a year ago and english is not his first language and loves to play games and stuff like that and I swear he alone is keep an affiliate rich once a week or so he calls me tells me his computer not working, he has like 100+ different adware on his computer and such lol.
     
  14. nam6641

    nam6641 Supreme Member

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    The Shawn Hogan thing is dated, that happened something like 8 years ago...

    The video was interesting, thanks for posting...

    There is good money to be made in toolbars, even if you do it legally. The issue is you'll need a lot of up front cash to get your installs.
     
  15. Starcodes

    Starcodes Regular Member

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    i know how it is done anyone willing to code one for free i will provide a video tutorial on how it works then we can bank
     
  16. King Midas

    King Midas Junior Member

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    Do it man. I'd be down.
     
  17. BusinessMagnet

    BusinessMagnet Power Member

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    Willing to go to jail?