Native ads, a race to the bottom for online media

Over the past year you will have seen a steady increase of so-called “native ads” while reading articles online. You know, those half dozen or more links with pictures to what at first looks like other articles recommended by the publisher. Only, they are really outside links. Many are click-bait ads, with pictures and headlines designed to grab your attention. They are introduced with tags like “From the web” or “Promoted stories”. The small print will mention companies like Outbrain, Taboola or Revcontent that place the ads in the space that they rent from the website owner.

At best, the advertised content doesn’t live up to the attention-grabbing ads. At worst, the advertisers try to sell you something utterly worthless through deception and lies, including miracle weight loss, anti-aging and anti-Alzheimer pills or promises of jobs that make thousands of dollars a month with no special skills required. Many of these offerings involve recurring credit card charges that are very difficult to get out of.

So why have reputable publishers like the Washington Post, Newsweek and The Atlantic embraced “native ads” on their websites? The answer of course is money. As the Internet grew, print advertising revenues have been collapsing for traditional media as much of the ads have moved online. What’s worse, with Google Adsense and Facebook ads, traditional publishers now have to compete for eyeballs against an almost unlimited number of websites and SNS, making it very hard to replace print ad revenue with online ad revenue. Companies like Outbrain and Taboola (both based in Israel) and RevContent (based in Florida) are offering better rates to site owners, but they can only do that because they seem to have few ethical problems selling anything that makes money.

Back in the 1990s I used to read High Times, which always carried pages of “fake pot” ads. The description for these products might lead naive readers to think that these legal products offered some of the effects of illegal marijuana, but it was really just bullshit and the High Times editors knew that. Their dilemma was that Congress had passed anti-paraphernalia laws that discouraged their traditional advertisers (e.g. for glass pipes) from advertising and the “fake pot” scammers were ready to fill the gap. When rival magazine Cannabis Culture pointed out the hypocrisy of High Times helping to defraud their readers, one of the editors offered an excuse along these lines: “If you don’t like these ads, why don’t you buy that advertising space yourself?” It’s not quite as simple as that.

While every business needs revenue to survive, I think ultimately, accepting money from unethical sources such as scammers does undermine your credibility. Gradually, more and more consumers will realize these “promoted stories” and “sponsored content” are nothing but deceptive junk. Taking money from these advertisers is a devil’s bargain that will damage the reputation of sites running unethical ads. If readers of reputable news sites lose faith in them, what will they have left that distinguishes them from fake news sites?

OTCH:SWRM spam

Never buy stock advertised via spam (especially penny stocks), such as this one:

Subject: This company is a rare opportunity to quintuple your money before Christmas.

Appswarm needs your attention. This is the only stock you need to buy today.
Keep on reading to find out why..

Appswarm (ticker: SWRM) is a mobile games developer that has built some of
the most popular games on the planet.

The games have been downloaded more than 100 million times and the company is
planning to launch 5 new titles in January 2017 (next month).

SWRM is extremely undervalued and there are serious rumors circulating that the maker of
Candy Crush (King, a multi billion dollar company) is about to buy it out for $1.17 per share before Christmas.

At this moment SWRM is trading at just pennies but a buy out from King will automatically
send it to over $1 in a matter of minutes.

This is your chance to buy a stock just days before a major acquisition and stand to
gain more than 1,500% just days before Christmas.

This is a scam, the only people making money on this stock are the spam senders who will be trying to offload their existing holdings.

“EU Business Register” spammers

Here is some spam sent to one of my mailboxes recently:

Hello,

In order to have your company inserted in the EU Business Register for 2016/2017, please print, complete and submit the attached form (PDF file) to the following address:

EU BUSINESS REGISTER
P.O. BOX 34
3700 AA ZEIST
THE NETHERLANDS

Fax: +31 30 310 0126

You can also attach the completed form in a reply to this email.

Updating is free of charge!

A very deceptive offer, because even though updates may well be free (as stated), the offer itself is not: A careful reading of the small print in the attached PDF revealed it to be a solicitation for a three year subscription at 995 EUR per year, automatically renewing unless cancelled two months in advance. So filling and signing the form would cost you at least 2985 EUR.

A quick Google search showed that these guys are already known to Spamhaus, who think that they’re from Romania.

“Helfen Sie uns, Ihr eBay-Konto zu schützen”

I received an email today that claimed to come from eBay Germany and at the first glance looked like yet another phishing scam, complete with link to a website for me to click on to “protect my account”. Even more suspiciously, the greeting at the top did not address me by my first name or full name.

Only when I looked at the message headers did I realize that the mail actually came from eBay’s mail servers. It was real. Still, as a simple precaution I typed eBay’s website address into a browser window to log in from scratch, ignoring the link in the email, just in case…

Later, when I had another look I noticed the small print at the bottom did actually mention my full name, again supporting that the mail was legitimate.

I found the whole experience pretty disappointing for a company of this size that has been in the business for so long and during that time has always been a prime target for phishing scams:

1. Please address the customer by their full name, otherwise you undermine years of education efforts. PayPal addresses all their customer mails to the full name of the recipient, why not eBay? Sceptical people may have ignored that email while for naive people it has made it harder to distinguish phishing mails from real mails.

2. Please do not ask people to click a link in an email claiming to be from you to go to a website that asks for their user name and password. Simply ask them to go to the eBay website in a browser and log in there. That removes any question whether any link is genuine or not or whether it’s safe to click on.

Don’t train customers to do things in your real business emails that phishing scammers would also like them to do, especially when there are alternatives.

Search engine registration scam / 1-716-328-1722

We received the following to our domain registrant contact address (listed in WHOIS) from Domain Services <notice@domainnotices666.com>:

Attention: Important Notice , DOMAIN SERVICE NOTICE
Domain Name: MY-DOMAIN-HERE

Complete and return by fax to:
1-716-328-1722

ATT: MY-NAME-HERE
ADMINISTRATIVE CONTACT
MY-NAME-HERE
MY-EMAIL-HERE
MY-ADDRESS-HERE
WWW.MY-DOMAIN-HERE
Please ensure that your contact information is correct or make the necessary changes above

Requested Reply Before
November 23,2015

PART I: REVIEW SOLICITATION

Attn: MY-NAME-HERE
As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification for your business Domain name search engine registration. This letter is to inform you that it’s time to send in your registration and save.

Failure to complete your Domain name search engine registration by the expiration date may result in cancellation of this offer making it difficult for your customers to locate you on the web.

Privatization allows the consumer a choice when registering. Search engine subscription includes domain name search engine submission. You are under no obligation to pay the amounts stated below unless you accept this offer. Do not discard, this notice is not an invoice it is a courtesy reminder to register your domain name search engine listing so your customers can locate you on the web.

This Notice for: WWW.MY-DOMAIN-HERE will expire on November 23,2015 Act today!

Select Term:

[ ] 1 year 11/23/2015 – 11/23/2016 $75.00
[ ] 2 year 11/23/2015 – 11/23/2017 $119.00
[ ] 5 year 11/23/2015 – 11/23/2020 $199.00
[ ] 10 year -Most Recommended- 11/23/2015 – 11/23/2025 $295.00
[ ] Lifetime (NEW!) Limited time offer – Best value! Lifetime $499.00

Today’s Date: _____________________ Signature: _____________________

Payment by Credit Card
Select the term above, then return by fax: 1-716-328-1722

MY-DOMAIN-HERE

——————————————————————————————-

By accepting this offer, you agree not to hold DS liable for any part. Note that THIS IS NOT A BILL. This is a solicitation. You are under no obligation to pay the amounts stated unless you accept this offer. The information in this letter contains confidential and/or legally privileged information from the notification processing department of the DS 3501 Jack Northrop Ave. Suite #F9238 Hawthorne, CA 90250 USA, This information is intended only for the use of the individual(s) named above. There is no pre-existing relationship between DS and the domain mentioned above. This notice is not in any part associated with a continuation of services for domain registration. Search engine submission is an optional service that you can use as a part of your website optimization and alone may not increase the traffic to your site. If you do not wish to receive further updates from DS reply with Remove to unsubscribe. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that disclosur
e, copying, distribution or the taking of any action in reliance on the contents for this letter is strictly prohibited.

If you have received a message like that, ignore it. It’s actually an illegal solicitation, as it’s against the terms of use of WHOIS lookups to use them for spamming, which is what this is.

All it takes for search engines to find you after you register a domain and create a website for it is one public link on a website. There is no need to pay any registration service for it. Besides, if the spammers already found you, you obviously don’t need “search engine registration” 🙂

OTC:TLPY – Pump and Dump Spam

Beware of any stock that’s advertised via spam!

Here is an example of spam flogging the latest stock to avoid:

Hi Kids,

Ok.. the wait is over TLPY is here!

OUR BIGGEST MONSTER PICK EVER – TLPY!

I will be sending you the TLPY video over the weekend. Along with my usual report. I just wanted to give this to you super quick before the MASSES get it on Monday!

All the best in the markets and stay tuned Sunday at 7PM EST for my TLPY video and report!

I believe TLPY is going to be EPIC! BUY TLPY TODAY!

Happy Trading,
Mike
Co-Editor
www.StockTips.com

The only person making money in spammed stocks are the ones sending the spam or paying the spammer, who will manage to offload overpriced illiquid stocks onto unsuspecting buyers who fall for the scam.

OTC:GAWK – Pump and Dump Spam

Beware of any stock that’s advertised via spam!

Here is an example of spam flogging the latest stock to avoid:

To our Confidential Reader,

Cease what you are performing at this time and pay attention!!
Some pretty information arrived on the radar. 1 straightforward
action currently and also you could turn one thousand dollars
into $22,000 ahead of Christmas!

Just like Google, This Raging Bull (OTC:GAW K) found the code for
international on-demand digital distribution along with a
improved advertising program. Advertisers around the country are
lining up with their funds. OTC:GAW K contains distinctive
capability to stream all kinds of internet content, such as
films, Television programs, social networking videos and games.
Todays phone web is about to usher within a new age of techonolgy
profits which towers over the Tech Boom from the 90s! Be ready
for the probable proceeds near 851% or Much more!

Most savvy traders recognize on the web marketing is actually a
expanding business, controlled by FB & Google particularly in
this country nevertheless it continues to be altering swiftly and
responsive towards the correct modern concepts and technologies.
Much better algorithms let enterprises within this segment to
develop rapidly or get attained at towering prices by established
players. Numerous recent phone app acquisitions like Instagram
have already been inside the hundreds of millions.

(GAW K) delivers media, marketing, advertising and technology
experience together to make the first media marketing and
advertising platform to effectively combine mobile video
marketing and advertising, video storage, cloud computing,
straightforward access, timely video updating capability and
facts capturing services in one particular tiny, simply
accessible unit.

According to eMarketer s most up-to-date estimates on US ad
spending; mobile marketing worldwide will grow 38% from an
estimated $13.1 billion in 2013 to $18 billion this year,
reaching $41.9 billion by 2017!

– Video may be the fastest developing Marketing format
– Each day 100 million net customers watch an internet videos
– One minute of video is worth 1.eight million words
– 46% of users take some kind of action following viewing an ad,
in line with On line publishers association.
– According to Implix, an introductory e mail that incorporates a
video receives an increase click-through rate by 96%.

Smartphones are everywhere and so is video marketing and
advertising. We want our readers to have a opportunity to beat
the market for the punch! This Tiny Gem will not remain below the
radar for extended! A business with this much possible can
speedily leap into the market’s spotlight and the resulting cost
action might be phenomenal!

What tends to make this alert so thrilling is its unbelievable
technical setup! GAW K appears to become positioned perfectly for
any huge surge up the chart. The Company s insane possible could
be attributed to many favorable variables that are combining to
create this opportunity too huge to miss!

The distinction involving This Tiny Gem along with a gumball is
the fact that a gumball only lasts hours though trading profits
on this business could final a lifetime or till it gets bought
out by a larger enterprise. Don’t wait, Buy GAWK on December 4th
just before the price goes any larger and appreciate your profits
prior to the year ends!

The only person making money in spammed stocks are the ones sending the spam or paying the spammer, who will manage to offload overpriced illiquid stocks onto unsuspecting buyers who fall for the scam.

Confederation MineraIs (CNRMF) – Pump and Dump Stock Spam

Yet another stock is being promoted by spammers, who are hoping that unsuspecting investors take the plunge. Never buy stocks advertised via spam. The only person who makes money in such “investments” is the spammer who is selling at a profit while you’re buying at a future loss.

You’ve been patient for a while now and finally it’s time.

Confederation MineraIs (CNRMF) is on the verge of exploding.

Thats because they have hundreds ofmillions of precious metals on their property and they are weeks away from beginning to dig it out and selling it up the distribution chain.

It is trading at such a bargain right now that CNRMF is a no-brainer.

Snap up as many shares of it as you can today before it goes up too high.

Everyone is certain that we will see it hit past 40cents before month’s end.

See also:

1-718-709-7573 Phishing Scam

Going through some spam traps, I found I received a fake IRS e-mail today that was a phishing scam. It included a fake W-8BEN form as a PDF to fill in and to fax to a number listed on the form.

When I googled the fax number (1-718-709-7573), I was amazed to see that the same scam had already been written about on other websites six months earlier. I rang the number from a Skype account and heard the unmistakable sounds of a fax machine.

Presumably this means that the phone number still hadn’t been shut down after half a year.

Somebody is making it too easy for criminals.

Domain scam: domainnotices8320.com / 1-716-650-4793

Today I received an e-mail that first looked like a request to confirm domain registration ownership details (“Please ensure that your contact information is correct or make the necessary changes above”), but on closer inspection turned out to be a scam:

Attention: Important Notice , DOMAIN SERVICE NOTICE
Domain Name: JOEWEIN.NET

Complete and return by fax to:
1-716-650-4793

ATT: JOE WEIN
ADMINISTRATIVE CONTACT
JOEWEIN.DE LLC
[my email address here]
[my postal address here]
WWW.JOEWEIN.NET
Please ensure that your contact information is correct or make the necessary changes above

Requested Reply
SEPTEMBER 15,2014

PART I: REVIEW SOLICITATION

Attn: JOE WEIN
As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification for your business Domain name search engine registration. This letter is to inform you that it’s time to send in your registration and save.

Failure to complete your Domain name search engine registration by the expiration date may result in cancellation of this offer making it difficult for your customers to locate you on the web.

Privatization allows the consumer a choice when registering. Search engine subscription includes domain name search engine submission. You are under no obligation to pay the amounts stated below unless you accept this offer. Do not discard, this notice is not an invoice it is a courtesy reminder to register your domain name search engine listing so your customers can locate you on the web.

This Notice for: WWW.JOEWEIN.NET will expire on SEPTEMBER 15,2014 Act today!

Select Term:

[ ] 1 year 09/15/2014 – 09/15/2015 $75.00
[ ] 2 year 09/15/2014 – 09/15/2016 $119.00
[ ] 5 year 09/15/2014 – 09/15/2019 $199.00
[ ] 10 year -Most Recommended- 09/15/2014 – 09/15/2024 $295.00
[ ] Lifetime (NEW!) Limited time offer – Best value! Lifetime $499.00

Today’s Date: _____________________ Signature: _____________________

Payment by Credit Card
Select the term above, then return by fax: 1-716-650-4793

JOEWEIN.NET

——————————————————————————————-

By accepting this offer, you agree not to hold DS liable for any part. Note that THIS IS NOT A BILL. This is a solicitation. You are under no obligation to pay the amounts stated unless you accept this offer. The information in this letter contains confidential and/or legally privileged information from the notification processing department of the DS 3501 Jack Northrop Ave. Suite #F9238 Hawthorne, CA 90250 USA, This information is intended only for the use of the individual(s) named above. There is no pre-existing relationship between DS and the domain mentioned above. This notice is not in any part associated with a continuation of services for domain registration. Search engine submission is an optional service that you can use as a part of your website optimization and alone may not increase the traffic to your site. If you do not wish to receive further updates from DS reply with Remove to unsubscribe. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that disclosure, copying, distribution or the taking of any action in reliance on the contents for this letter is strictly prohibited.

The disclaimer in the final paragraph reveals that this solicitation has nothing to do with my existing domain registration. It’s an offer for an obscenely overpriced “search engine registration” service, which is basically useless. If there is as much as a single existing link to your website from any other website known to Google or other significant search engines, then you don’t need this. Even if you only just created your website, a link from any other site already known to search engines will do — no need to fork out $295 for that. Once search engines find your site from any other site they’ll spider it and index it.

If you receive any such offer, delete it. It’s a rip-off and you don’t need it.