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How do Blackhatters EASILY commit unethical methods?

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by gbmack, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. gbmack

    gbmack Power Member

    Apr 19, 2009
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    This question has been lingering in my mind for quite a while.

    I just finished reading a book entitled Predictable Irrationality and in relation to the question I am asking, it hit the nail right on the head.
    The book discusses human behavior, economics, and some pretty clever marketing techniques.

    Anyhow, there was one chapter in particular discussing immorality, dishonesty, and cheating.

    A test was conducted to test human behavior.

    This is what happened. As the students at MIT cafeterias finished their lunches, they were interrupted and asked whether they would like to participate in a five-minute experiment. All they had to do was solve 20 simple math problems. And for this they would get 50 cents per correct answer.

    The experiment began similarly in each case, but ended in one of three different ways. When the participants in the first group finished their tests, they took their worksheets up to the experimenter, who tallied their correct answers and paid them 50 cents for each. The participants in the second group were told to tear up their worksheets, stuff the scraps into their pockets or backpacks, and simply tell the experimenter their score in exchange for payment.

    But the participants in the last group had something significantly different in their instructions. They were told that they had to tear up the worksheets and simply tell the experimenter how many questions they had answered correctly. But this time the experimenter wouldn't be giving cash. Rather, she would give them a token for each question they claimed to have solved. The students would then walk 12 feet across the room to another experimenter, who would exchange each token for 50 cents.

    The participants in the first group (who had no way to cheat) solved an average of 3.5 questions correctly.

    The participants in the second group, who tore up their worksheets, claimed to have correctly solved an average of 6.2 questions. Since we can assume that these students did not become smarter merely by tearing up their worksheets, we can attribute the 2.7 additional questions they claimed to have solved to cheating.

    But in terms of brazen dishonesty, the participants in the third group took the cake. They were no smarter than the previous two groups but they claimed to have solved an average of 9.4 problems - 5.9 more than the control group and 3.2 more than the group that merely ripped up the worksheets.

    What a difference there is in cheating for money versus cheating for something that is a step away from cash!

    What does this tell us?
    If it is a step away from cold cash, it is very easy for someone to be dishonest. However, if the only step away is cold cash, people wouldn't succumb to dishonesty as easily.

    Does this sound familiar?
    It's like blackhat marketing. Dishonesty and stealing is much easier when it is a step away from cold cash. If you're a blackhatter, there are MANY steps away from the cold cash. These steps include the interenet itself, anonymity, not reading e-mail responses, virtual numbers sitting in our CPA accounts, waiting for the CPA check, etc. All these steps make it extremely easy to commit to blackhat marketing because we don't feel guilty when steps are removed from the cold cash.

    Remove all the blackhat marketing steps in between and it's basically cheating ---> money.

    However, would you guys rob an old lady of her purse? I say not.
    With all the steps away from getting to the cold cash, dishonesty is very easy.

    I'm not bashing blackhat marketing in any way. All I did was find the answer as to why unethical blackhat methods are so easy to put into action.

    But I still love the blackhat cash.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  2. blazen

    blazen Regular Member

    Mar 8, 2008
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    I don't think it is only cash this would have worked on, but also any object or situation considered valuable.
  3. phpfiend

    phpfiend Junior Member

    Apr 12, 2009
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    Web Dev and IM
    This is very true. You put say a laptop in front of someone in a similar experiment they would do the same in the experiment. Most people would not steal an old ladies purse, but if promised easy $$ with the use of one easy step in an ebook then they would be more willing to steal it as opposed to putting the cash out to purchase it in hopes of a good ROI.
  4. Warbucks

    Warbucks Junior Member

    Apr 6, 2009
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    Stately Warbucks Manor
    I've been talking to a friend of mine about Blackhat, he's enthusiastic. We had a discussion on "the line". As in "the line I will not cross". Everyone has one, everyone's is in a different location.

    For the bulk of what BH is, honestly, it's a victimless crime. Most of it is asking people to use their greed against themselves. You get $1.50 for someone to enter their email because they want a free Mac Mini. Don't see anything wrong with that. You wrap that offer up into a PPV bit where they fill out the offer and they get access to more nude pictures of some celebrity? Cool.

    eWhoring is the same. You're getting people to sign up for stuff so that they can have super hot sexy time chat chat with an underage bolivian farm girl with giant tits. Anyone feel bad about taking $X out of that? Not me.

    It comes down to the victimless crime. I'm not surprised by the study you refer to. Personally, I'd have told them 100% whether I was in group 2 or three, the added buffer wouldn't have moved me.
  5. Micallef

    Micallef Supreme Member

    Apr 29, 2009
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    SE Manipulator
    London, UK
    Cookie stuffing is basically full-on deception of affiliate clients. Without cookie stuffing, the client would still have got the sale - without having to pay a publisher for it. Tricking businesses into giving you money which is not rightfully yours is pretty clearly on the far side of the line. However, that's not too far for me.
  6. moose

    moose Registered Member

    Jul 21, 2009
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    To me, there are different levels of blackhat marketing.

    E-mail Submits, Biz Ops, CL Posting, isn't really unethical, since your giving the consumer something he/she wants.


    Adware programs that make you money is a step I don't think I could justify in my conscience to cross.
  7. LHaskins

    LHaskins Regular Member

    Apr 30, 2008
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    Actually, isn't the experiment flawed? They asked them how many they thought they had right, the students had no way to tell if there answers were wrong. Based on that, of course the percentage is going to go up.

    As far as black hat ethics, ANY kind of marketing is strictly speaking unethical, you are telling someone that your product or service is the best, even if it isn't.
  8. pr0xy

    pr0xy Regular Member

    Mar 23, 2009
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    Your experiment is flawed... You're only seeing as them cheating, but they could just be thinking they are smart, and this in turn points to how big their ego is, so this is more of an how big are your balls question.
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  9. IcedCube

    IcedCube Junior Member

    Mar 2, 2009
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    I am discontent with your abuse of the term "unethical". Also, what Goober said.
  10. cucr3

    cucr3 Regular Member

    Sep 26, 2008
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    CU AM
    Home Page:
    The circumstances are also different from stealing a purse from an old lady. She is for the most part helpless. Whereas online, people have to opportunity to say no, read TOS, research, etc. If the same old lady was going to get a credit report to get a job, she has a much better chance of defending herself from a BHer "stealing her purse" online, than in person..
  11. DrJekyll

    DrJekyll Senior Member Premium Member

    Aug 2, 2007
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    1-9 for your Keyword goodluck
    Its funny how that line is placed.

    To me that percentage of money set aside for affiliates is placed above expected profit for their products. (thats the way I set up my affiliates)

    so with CS, you are just taking money set aside for someone. If anything it fucks the publishers that actually sent the traffic to the site.

    But right or wrong that is my view or my "line"