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Spyware Still Cheating Merchants 82

Jamie found an interesting story about how Spyware is still on the move. It talks about how Spyware vendors are trying to clean up their image, but still doing fishy things. It breaks down several common types of spyware and some analysis of each.
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Spyware Still Cheating Merchants

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  • by u-bend ( 1095729 ) on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:04AM (#19208817) Homepage Journal
    Sometimes when cleaning out a relative's totally infested PC, I think that most average computer users are so bovine in their approach to spyware, that they really don't mind all the automatic installation that goes on, as long as it doesn't interfere with the "just works" experience. In my experience, there's very little of the outrage that we feel about this stuff. It's frustrating really.
  • by Higaran ( 835598 ) on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:07AM (#19208855)
    I think I understood it exactly, if I don't want to support a spyware vednor and have their krap on my pc, then don't go sign up for those websites, plain and simple.
  • by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:12AM (#19208905)
    Don't forget the reverse is true as well: Google has to trust your company to only use the Google checkout. Phone, mail, email... There's plenty of opportunity to turn that customer away from Google's checkout without doing anything shady such as only sending 2/3 to Google and the other 1/3 to something else.

    There are also plenty of people that aren't interested in Google's checkout at all, and would refuse this.

    If there was a simple answer, this problem would not have existed for so long.
  • Capital S? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LoudMusic ( 199347 ) on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:14AM (#19208935)

    Jamie found an interesting story about how S pyware is still on the move. It talks about how S pyware vendors are trying to clean up their image, but still doing fishy things. It breaks down several common types of spyware and some analysis of each.
    How does spyware earn a capital s? I don't understand.
  • by Lockejaw ( 955650 ) on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:26AM (#19209065)
    Either Blockbuster/Netflix have advertising contracts with spyware companies (and I don't much want to do business with them), or they have no obligation to pay for any of these spyware-generated ads (and they aren't being forced to pay anything).
  • by bedelman ( 42523 ) on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:28AM (#19209099) Homepage
    Specks, you're right that merchants generally won't be able to figure this out merely from inspecting users' traffic or web server log files.

    Instead, in my experience, the only robust enforcement strategy is testing: Get copies of the spyware, browse the web on infected test PCs, and see what happens. If an affiliate's link is invoked wrongfully and unexpectedly, then investigate and take appropriate action.

    Is this trivially easy? Well, no. But it's the only clear way forward. And arguably it's appropriate: Any merchant paying out $$$$$ of affiliate commissions ought to put forth reasonable effort to confirm who they're paying and what they're paying for. In few other contexts would a company have as many suppliesr, subject to as little vetting (ex ante) and supervision (ex post), as in Internet advertising.
  • Ewww (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:29AM (#19209103)
    Part of the problem is that online advertising has for a long time essentially been one gigantic circle-jerk, and in these cases, the original advertisers end up cleaning up the mess. Companies pay other companies to source advertising, who pay other affiliate networks and other websites a pittance to carry the advertising. There are enough middle men to make one's head spin. The original advertisers end up having no idea who they're dealing with.

    Less outsourcing, and contracts that demand less second-degree outsourcing, would help the advertisers tremendously. I doubt that it would do much for the spyware victims, though, because there'll always be another scam right around the corner.
  • by teknopurge ( 199509 ) on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:30AM (#19209129) Homepage
    I think google is aware of the problem and is taking a blind-eye to it. It makes sense in a way: if they put in more checks to deter clickfraud their revenue would be decimated. I'm not trying to be dramatic, but you can basically hand wave "advertising charges" away from people. Case-in-point, several people who are advertising affiliates for google have had large sums of $$$ that was due for payout frozen by google( If this was isolated, I would discount it as maybe a few people were doing something shady google did not like. But when respected members that have been in the advertising business a long time start have their payouts frozen because they get into the thousands of dollars, I start wondering....
  • by gsslay ( 807818 ) on Monday May 21, 2007 @12:06PM (#19209561)
    I'd have thought so.

    Make business arrangements with criminals and you deserve to get ripped off.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday May 21, 2007 @12:27PM (#19209769) Homepage
    ...I arrived at the unshakeable conclusion that people in marketing businesses are relentless assholes who can only see things with dollar signs and care nothing about collateral damage they may cause. You can apply this to printed free papers who often litter the streets of many urban and suburban neighborhoods with their distribution boxes and papers flying through the air. You can apply this to spammers who are still convinced among themselves that they are not bad people and only annoy people a little. Just about anywhere there are marketing people, you will see them pushing over the edge of what is acceptable practices and behavior... not every marketer is like this, but the "successful" ones are definitely of that breed.

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