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Spyware Being Used to Create Artificial Web Traffic

The spyware hunter has re-entered the Internet to chase sites that purchase traffic originating from spyware to compel users to go to their domains. Internet crime detective Ben Edelman has released a report in which he discusses that publishers are purchasing spyware traffic with the aim to artificially create site traffic numbers so as to increase the ad rates.

Edelman shows in his study that unwanted pop-up ads that induce "forced visits" raise web traffic. Since business and investment decisions in part rely on traffic statistics, the forced traffic could be of help to some enterprises seeking business and investors, though at others' expense. Those who find unwanted pop-up ads littering their screens will likely call the practice sleazy. For public companies reporting traffic numbers, this practice is securities fraud.

Further according to Edelman, harm may result to advertisers by charging them in excess and also by displaying their ads with spyware they don't want to associate with. Harm may also result to investors by asking them for more payment to use sites that are actually less popular than what traffic statistics interpret. In any case, harm befalls consumers when miscreants fund spyware to creep into users' computers adversely affecting privacy, dependability and performance. Clickz.com published this in news on May 7, 2007.

The practice naturally has no affect on traffic figures for sites that don't display pop-up ads, for example Google and Yahoo. So, it fails to elucidate why self-reported traffic numbers and Nielsen/ Comscore traffic numbers don't tally. Probably it boosts advertising revenue of such companies, for sites that acquire pop-up ads need a platform where they can get future visitors.

Edelman implicates from his study that all Bolt.com, Away.com, GrindTV.com, RooTV, Broadcaster.com and Diet.com desire forced traffic. As regulations on spyware and artificial newspaper subscription numbers increase one may tend to assume that there will be regulation on 'forced visits' as well.

Edelman thinks with occurrences of acquisitions by YouTube and other high-ranking companies, online companies find an incentive to push up visitor statistics. But the cautious ones will balance this incentive with future high fraud charges/fines.

Related article: Spyware Detection Programs Track Advertisers’ Cookies

» SPAMfighter News - 5/16/2007

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