Attack of the Zombie Web Sites, owned by 301 Network, Monkey Frog, Market 57, Orange Box, Arceneaux, Becks, AdSupply, Focus Marketing, Lepton Labs, Willis, Corson, VivaGlam, RecipeGreen, Van Derham | BuzzFeed

Attack of the Zombie Websites; Craig Silverman; In BuzzFeed; 2017-10-17.
Teaser: <snip>actual reporting, by an actual reporter</snip> how seemingly-credible players in the ad supply chain can play an active role in — and profit from — fraud.

Accused

Whereas the article buries the lede way way down under the fold…
  • 301network Media, allied “dbas”; Matt Arceneaux, Andrew Becks.
    Monkey Frog Media, Market 57, Orange Box Media
  • AdSupply, allied “dbas”; Eric Willis, Chris Corson.
    Focus Marketing, Lepton Labs
  • KVD Brand Inc.; Katarina Van Derham.

Original Sources

  • Social Puncher, an research boutique, operated as SadBotTrue.com.
  • Pixelate, opined; claims independent discovery.
  • Protected Media, opined, as commissioned, from BuzzFeed.
  • Integral Ad Sciences (IAS), opined, as commissioned, from BuzzFeed..

Mentions

  • “self-driven”
  • “session hijacking”
  • “friend or foe” system
  • “ad hell”
  • <quote>It was the digital equivalent of skimming from a casino.</quote>
  • “Clawbacks”
  • “In-human traffic,” “non-human traffic”
    because nobody in the trade wants to say “robot.”

Claimed

The Offenses
  • “Approximately” 40 websites.
  • “Over” 100 brands [what's a brand?]
  • “roughly” 50 brands “appeared multiple times.” [what does that mean?]
The Tease
  • <quote>the CEO of an ad platform and digital marketing agency is an owner of 12 websites that earned revenue from the fraudulent views, and his company provided the ad platform used by sites in the scheme.</quote>
  • <quote>That company is owned by a model and online entrepreneur who played Bob Saget’s girlfriend on the HBO show Entourage.</quote>
  • <quote><snip/>a former employee of a large ad network who runs a group of eight sites that were part of the fraud, and who consults for a company with another eight sites in it.</quote>
  • <quote>A site in the scheme is owned by the cofounder of one of the 20 largest ad networks in the United States</quote>.

Participants

  • 301network, a marketplace (“an ad platform”) and allied “dbas”;
    Matt Arceneaux, Andrew Becks.
  • AdSupply, various “dbas”;
    Eric Willis, Chris Corson.
  • KVD Brand Inc.;
    Katarina Van Derham.
Perpetrators
  • Matt Arceneaux, CEO, partner, 301 Digital Media.
  • Andrew Becks, COO, partner, 301 Digital Media
  • Eric Willis, vice president, OMG LLC
    is a man,
    ex-staff AdSupply,
    LinkedIn.
  • Chris Corson, founder of AdSupply,
    is part owner of an [unnamed] LLC that operates Hollywire.com
  • Katarina Van Derham,
    • is a publisher,
      is an online publisher,
    • lives in Los Angeles,
    • has performed as a model
    • has fame,
      has fame from playing Bob Saget’s girlfriend on the HBO show Entourage.
    • owns KVD Brand Inc.
301 Digital Media
  • 301network.com
  • a marketing agency
  • Nashville, TN
  • LinkedIn page [existed]
    clients:

    • Scripps
    • Pfizer
  • gold-level sponsor, Digital Marketing Conference, New York, 2017-11.

Damaged

  • Integral Ad Sciences (IAS) → $20 million in 2017.
  • Pixelate → $2 million per year.”
    Which is it?

The Validation

Re-checking the work of the Social Puncher staff
  • Integral Ad Science (IaS)

Exemplars

Businesses
  • Ford
  • Hershey’s
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • MGM Resorts International
  • Proctor & Gamble (P&G)
  • Unilever
Brands
  • Charmin
  • Olay
  • Oral-B
  • Orgullosa
    [is that really a brand? yes. Spanish, translation proud
    <quote>Orgullosa is for women who don't settle for walking the same path, but instead make a new one every day.</quote> <quote ref="presser">P&G’s Orgullosa Launches the Nueva Latina Campaign to Celebrate and Showcase the Unique Experience of the Bicultural, Modern Latina </quote>]
  • Secret

Who

  • Matt Arceneaux, CEO, 301 Digital Media
    listed as a perpetrator.

Quoted

For color, background & verisimilitude…
  • Amin Bandeali, the CTO of Pixalate
  • Shailin Dhar, (now) founder, Method Media Intelligence.
    Method Media Intelligence is a research boutique
  • Mary Hynes, director of corporate communication, MGM International
  • Kristin Lemkau, chief marketing officer, JPMorgan Chase.
  • Jalal Nasir, CEO, Pixalate.
  • Maria Pousa, chief marketing officer, Integral Ad Sciences (IAS).
  • Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer, Proctor & Gamble (P&G)
    honorific: the consumer products giant
  • Vlad Shevtsov, director of investigations, Social Puncher
  • David Taylor, CEO, Proctor & Gamble (P&G).
  • Mike Zaneis, CEO, Trustworthy Accountability Group

Supply

The location of the fraud
  • BeautyTips.online
    well, there’s your problem… the TLD online just feels sketchy, doesn’t it?
  • BridalTune.com
  • GossipFamily.com
  • HealthyBackyard.com
  • MensTrait.com
  • MomTaxi.com
  • RecipeGreen.com
    • uses automated [robot] content generation scheme
      “100% Fully Automated Videos – You won’t have to worry about new content. Comes with a custom plugin with your own license,” via blurb at Flippa,
    • 2016-12, purchased by Katarina Van Derham, for $59 in an auction
    • 2017-01 → 2017-08, was “showered” with traffic, then none.
  • RightParent.com
  • StyleFashionista.com
  • UpcomingBeauty.com
  • VivaGlamMagazine.com
    • branded Viva Glam,
    • operated by Katarina Van Derham since 2012,
    • not purchased from Pakistan or elsewhere.

Scenario

  • Monkey Frog Media LLC.
    • is a shell company [a holding company]
    • exposed for fraud “at seven sites”, by Pixelate [WHEN?]
    • Owned by Matt Arceneaux
    • d.b.a. Happy Planet Media
    • Has five more web sites
      whose domains are registered as being owned by 301 Digital Media, which is [owned?] by Matt Arceneaux
    • earlier [WHEN?] Matt Arcenaux’s home address for registration.
    • since 2015; as evidenced by 2015-12-11, Matt Arceneaux signs a contract as the “manager” of Monkey Frog Media.
  • Market 57 LLC
    • which had five sites
    • Same asddress as 301 Media
    • failing
    • ViralNewsJunkie.com, uses 301 Media’s Amazon affiliate code
    • earlier [WHEN?] Matt Arcenaux’s home address for registration.
  • Orange Box Media LLC
    • owns five sites
    • filing
    • uses Matt Arcenaux’s home address.
    • Observed by the Social Puncher staff: at circa 2017-09-08T12:00 EDT, all sites were unavailable simultaneously
  • Something about Facebook.
    Facebook is bad.
  • AppNexus was trading 301 Network Media’s media.
  • Online Media Group LLC (OMG LLC)
    • A shell company [a holding company]
    • owns seven sites
    • ran session hijacking code
    • Eric Willis, vice president, OMG LLC
      is a man.
  • AdSupply, seemed clean, maybe;
    but:

    • domains@adsupply.com.
    • Chris Corson, cofounder, executive vice president, AdSupply.
    • Chris Corson, is part owner of an LLC that operates Hollywire.com, a site that contained [the] session hijacking code.
    • Hollywire.com
      • is longstanding
      • produces some original content
      • has a YouTube channel, “close to” 2 million subscribers.
    • Focus Marketing. LLC,
      Chris Corson is the part owner.
    • Lepton Labs LLC,
      • purveyors of AllDaySlim, a weight-loss elixr.
    • Chris Corson is the part owner.
  • KVD Brand Inc.
    • eight sites
    • performed in the session hijacking scheme.
    • owned by Katarina Van Derham
    • bought the sites & their business from “someone in Pakistan.”
    • RecipeGreen.com
      • uses automated [robot] content generation scheme
        “100% Fully Automated Videos – You won’t have to worry about new content. Comes with a custom plugin with your own license,” via blurb at Flippa,
      • 2016-12, purchased by Katarina Van Derham, for $59 in an auction
      • 2017-01 → 2017-08, was “showered” with traffic, then none.

Referenced

Hosted at archive.is

  • Something, of 301network.com
  • Something, maybe an article, from StyleFashionista.com.
  • Something, maybe a “website,” of Focus Marketing. LLC
  • Something, maybe a “website,” of OMG LLC (Online Media Group, LLC)
  • Something, maybe a “product page,” for AllDaySlim, a weight-loss elixr.

Hosted at web.archive.org

  • Media Kit of www.301digitalmedia.com, as archived circa 2015-02-17T06:33:42.

Hosted at tnbear.tn.gov

Hosted on dropbox.com

Hosted on documentcloud.org

Previously filled.

Compendium on Ad Blocking in Advertising Age through 2015-09-05


IAB Explores Its Options to Fight Ad Blockers, Including Lawsuits; ; In Advertising Age; 2015-09-04.
Teaser: Trade Org Has Held Two Summits This Summer to Map a Course of Action

Mentioned

  • Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)
  • A Summit Meeting, New York City, 2015-07-09.
  • PageFair, Adobe
    tl;dr → that same report is endlessly recited unquestioningly
    The 2015 Ad Blocking Report: The Cost of Ad Blocking; PageFair with Adobe; 2015-08-09; 17 pages; landing, previously noted.
  • Causality
    • Flash is deprecated
    • HTML5 is promoted
    • Viewability metrics cause blocking be measured & managed.

Options

  • make better ads
  • publishers ask consumers to pull shields down
  • lockout [publishers refuse to serve consumers who wear adblock]
  • litigation [c.f. an application of the DMCA]
  • countermeasures [technical means, via suppliers]
  • paywalls
  • native advertising

Countermeasures

(vendors)

  • PageFair
  • Secret Media
  • Sourcepoint
  • Yavli

Quoted

for color, background & verisimilitude

  • Scott Cunningham
    • senior VP, IAB
    • general manager, [IAB] Technology Lab.
  • David Moore
    • President, WPP Digital
    • Chairman, Xaxis

Via: backfill.


How Digital-Native Publishers Are Dealing With Ad Blocking, , 2015-09-03.
Teaser: Mic, Quartz, Vox Media Turn to Branded Content, Tech Platforms’ Apps

Mentions

  • BuzzFeed
  • Mic
  • Quartz
  • Vox Media
  • Ad Block Plus
  • Countermeasures
    • advertorials
    • branded content
    • custom branded content
    • native advertising
    • promotional placements
    • sponsorships
  • Distribution [contra running The Portal]
    • Apple News
    • Facebook Instant Articles
    • Flipboard
  • Dean Murphy
  • Exemplar
    • a page at Mic with the story of the renaming of Mt McKinley to Denali
    • work performed by Ad Age staff
    • [very confusing, read carefully] <quote>When Ad Age checked out Mic’s aforementioned Denali article using an iPhone’s Safari browser, the ad-carrying page weighed in at 4.11 megabytes, which is 1.51 megabytes heavier than the ad-free desktop version but 14.59 megabytes lighter than the ad-full desktop page.</quote>.
    • Tabulation
      Safari iOS iPhone ad-carrying 4.11 MB
      Safari OS/X Mac (Laptop) ad-free 2.60 MB
      Safari OS/X Mac (Laptop) ad-full 18.70 MB

Quoted

for color, background & verisimilitude

  • Chris Altchek, CEO, Mic
  • Jim Bankoff, CEO, Vox Media
  • Joy Robins, seinor VP-global revenue and strategy, Quartz

TV Networks Confront Ad Blockers Erasing Their Commercials Online, , 2015-08-31.
Teaser: CBS Blocks the Blockers While Fox Explores Friendlier Ad Models

Mentions

  • ABC
    • ABC.com
  • Fox
    • Fox.com
  • Hulu
  • NBC
    • NBC.com
  • Universal
  • Ad Block
  • Chrome
  • streaming episodes of TV shows delivered off of web sites.
  • CBS Interactive
  • several “declined to comment”

Quoted

for color, background & verisimilitude

  • Eric Franchi, co-founder, Undertone
  • Joe Marchese, president-advanced ad products, Fox Networks Group; ex-founder TrueX (acquired by Fox 2014-12).
  • David Morris, chief revenue officer, CBS Interactive

Ad Blocking Is a Growing Problem. What’s the Fix?, , , 2015-06-19.
Teaser: Publishers Including CBS Interactive, Forbes, DailyMail Weigh Their Options

Mentions

  • Eyeo
  • factoids are recited
  • UC browser
    • built-in ad blocking
    • 500M consumers
    • Regional popularity
      • India
      • China,
  • Maxthon Browser
    • built-in ad blocking
    • partnership with Ad Block Plus
    • 120M consumers
  • “I love my audience, but fuck you, ad blockers — 20% of my revenue is gone.” attributed to Mike Germano, Vice
  • Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)
  • Interested in solutions
    • CBS Interactive
    • Daily Mail
    • Forbes
    • Vice
  • Have paid off Ad Block (Eyeo)
    • Amazon
    • Google
    • Microsoft
  • Native advertisers
    • BuzzFeed
    • Outbrain
  • Fremium, paywall, subscriptions
    and more so: behind the paywall they still have ads

    • The New York Times (NYT)
    • Pandora
    • Spotify
    • The Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
    • YouTube

Options

  1. Pay the Ad Blockers
  2. Go Native
  3. Ask Consumers for Sympathy
  4. Block Content From Consumers Who Use Ad Blockers [The Nuclear Option]
  5. Fremium Model

Quoted

for color, background & verisimilitude

  • Ben Barokas, founder, Sourcepoint
  • Sean Blanchfield, CEO, PageFair
  • Scott Cunningham, IAB
  • Mike Germano, Chief Digital Officer, Vice [Media]
  • Dax Hamman, senior VP-business development and product, Rubicon Project.
  • Jason Kint, CEO, Digital Content Next (a trade booster)
  • David Morris
    • chief revenue officer, CBS Interactive
    • chairman, Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)
  • Jon Steinberg, CEO, DailyMail
  • Ben Williams, director, communications & operations, Eyeo

Publishers Watch Closely as Adoption of Ad Blocking Tech Grows, , 2015-02-15.
Teaser: IAB Says It Is a Growing Problem

Mentions

  • Ad Block Plus
  • ClarityRay,
  • bought by Yahoo
  • IAB Annual Leadership Meeting
  • Claimed to have paid off Ad Block Plus (Eyeo)
    • Amazon
    • Google
    • Microsoft

Quoted

for color, background & verisimilitude

  • Mark Addison, press relations, Ad Block Plus
  • Eric Franchi
    • co-founder, Undertone
    • board member, IAB
  • Mark Howard, chief revenue officer, Forbes.
  • Serge Matta, CEO, comScore
  • David Morris, Chairman, IAB
  • Mike Zaneis, exec VP-public policy and general counsel, IAB

 

Online Ads Roll the Dice declares the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Latanya Sweeney (FTC); Online Ads Roll the Dice; In Their Blog; 2014-09-25.
Latanya Sweeney is Chief Technologist at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Teaser: Online ads, exclusive online communities, and the potential for adverse impacts from big data analytics

tl;dr => content targeting is bad, audience targeting is insidious.

Original Sources

Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion?; workshop; Federal Trade Commission (FTC); 2014-09-15;

  • Proceedings & Media
  • Commentariat
  • Speakers
    • Kristin Amerling, Chief Investigative Counsel and Director of Oversight, U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
    • Alessandro Acquisti, Associate Professor of Information Systems and Public Policy, Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University and Co-director of the CMU Center for Behavioral Decision Research
    • Katherine Armstrong, Senior Attorney, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, FTC
    • Solon Barocas, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Princeton University Center for Information Technology Policy
    • danah boyd, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research, Research Assistant Professor, New York University
    • Julie Brill, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
    • Christopher Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union
    • Leonard Chanin, Partner, Morrison Foerster
    • Daniel Castro, Senior Analyst, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
    • Pamela Dixon, Founder and Executive Director, World Privacy Forum,
    • Cynthia Dwork, Distinguished Scientist, Microsoft Research
    • Mallory Duncan, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, National Retail Federation
    • Patrick Eagan-Van Meter, Program Specialist, Division of Financial Practices, FTC
    • Jeanette Fitzgerald, General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer, Epsilon
    • Tiffany George, Senior Attorney, Division of Privacy & Identity Protection, FTC
    • Jeremy Gillula, Staff Technologist, Electronic Frontier Foundation
    • Gene Gsell, Senior Vice President, U.S. Retail & CPG, SAS
    • Mark MacCarthy, Vice President for Public Policy, Software Information Industry Association
    • Carol Miaskoff, Assistant Legal Counsel, Office of Legal Counsel, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
    • Montserrat Miller, Partner, Arnall Golden Gregory LLP,
    • Christopher Olsen, Assistant Director, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, FTC
    • C. Lee Peeler, President and CEO of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council and, Executive Vice President, National Advertising Self-Regulation, Council of Better Business Bureaus
    • Stuart Pratt, President and CEO, Consumer Data Industry Association
    • Edith Ramirez, Chairwoman, Federal Trade Commission
    • Jessica Rich, Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission
    • David Robinson, Principal, Robinson + Yu
    • Michael Spadea, Director, Promontory Financial Group
    • Latanya Sweeney, Chief Technologist, Federal Trade Commission
    • Peter Swire, Professor of Law and Ethics, Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology
    • Nicol Turner-Lee, Vice President and Chief Research & Policy Officer, Minority Media and Telecommunications Council
    • Joseph Turow, Professor, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
    • Christopher Wolf, Senior Partner, Hogan Lovells, Founder and Chair, Future of Privacy Forum, Chair, National Civil Rights Committee, Anti-Defamation League
    • Katherine Worthman, Senior Attorney, Division of Financial Practices, FTC
    • Jinyan Zang, Research Fellow in Technology and Data Governance, Federal Trade Commission

Big Data, a Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion?; Edith Ramirez (FTC), Solon Baracas (Princeton); Workshop Slides; 36 slides.

  • A tutorial on “data mining,” i.e. what is it?
  • Claims:
    • Data mining is always & by definition a form of discrimination, by conferring upon individuals the traits of those similar to them [it is rational, statistically-based stereotyping] (slide 9)
    • Data mining can be wrong; can be skewed, can overcount, can undercount, can mis-label, can mis-classify; there be dragons here. (middle)
    • Data mining unintentionally exacerbates existing inequality; there is no ready answer (slide 25)

Latanya Sweeney, Jinyan Zang (FTC); Digging into the Data; presentation; 30 slides.

  • Subtitles (huge subtitles)
    • If the appropriateness of an advertisement for a publication depends on the nature and character of the publication, then
      how “appropriate” might big data analytics decisions be when placing ads?
    • If the appropriateness of an advertisement for a publication depends on the nature and character of the publication, then how “appropriate” might big data analytics decisions be when placing ads?
  • Contributors
    • Krysta Dummit, undergraduate, Princeton 2015.
    • Jim Graves, graduate student, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)
    • Paul Lisker,  undergraduate, Harvard University 2016.
    • Jinyan Zang, Oliver Wyman (a consulting boutique), Harvard University 2013.
  • Mentions
  • Promise:
    • A forthcoming paper: contact Latanya Sweeny for a copy upon release

Response

Referenced

Actualities

alt text for 3
alt text for 4
alt text for 5
alt text for 6
alt text for 7

Via: backfill

Ad blockers: A solution or a problem? | ComputerWorld

; Ad blockers: A solution or a problem?; In ComputerWorld; 2014-01-15.
Teaser: It’s a cause. It’s a curse. It’s just business. Ad blockers take a bite out of the $20 billion digital advertising pie.

; The business of ad blocking: A Q&A with Adblock Plus lead investor Tim Schumacher; In ComputerWorld; 2014-01-15.
Teaser: interview with Tim Schumacher

Mentions

(alphabetical)

  • Adblock Plus
    • Till Faida, president
    • Acceptable Ads program
    • Tim Schumacher
      • the founder of domain marketplace Sedo
      • Adblock Plus’ biggest investor
    • Claims
      • Attributed to Tim Schumacher
      • 148 publishers participate in the Acceptable Ads program
      • 90% of participants in the program aren’t charged at all
      • Attributed to Ad Block Plus
        • rejected 50% of 777 whitelist applicants; because of [their] unacceptable ads,
        • the overall acceptance rate stands at just 9.5%.
        • <quote>Adblock Plus claims that about 6% of all Web surfers in the U.S. run its open-source software, mostly in the form of Google Chrome and Firefox browser add-ons and extensions.</quote>
    • Deals
      • Google
      • Some “Alexa top 100″ site, spoken for anonymously by an ex-employee.
  • AdBlock
    • Not Ad Block Plus, but something else
    • Michael Gundlach, founder, ex-Google
  • ClarityRay
    • Ido Yablonka, CEO
    • URL-swapping mechanism
    • Funding: around $0.5M
  • Destructoid
    • Niero Gonzalez
  • Disconnect
    • Casey Oppenheim, co-CEO
  • Evidon
  • Geekzone
    • Mauricio Freitas, publisher
  • Google
    • 2013-03 => removed Ad Block Plus from its Google Play store, 2013-03
    • 2013-06 => deal with Ad Block Plus
      Coverage:

      • Media
        • search ads
        • sponsored search results
      • Venue
        • Google
        • AdSense partners
  • Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)
    • Mike Zaneis, senior vice president
  • PageFair
    • JavaScript countermeasure
    • Sean Blanchfield, CEO
    • Funding: around $0.5M
  • Reddit
    • Erik Martin, general manager
  • Some Site
    • Not named explicitly
    • “top-ranking in Alexa”
    • Spoken for by an ex-employee.
    • <quote>On the other hand, the former executive at the Alexa top-ranking site said an Adblock Plus representative told him he had to pay even though Adblock Plus agreed that the publisher’s ads were acceptable and should not be blocked. “If we didn’t pay they would continue to block us. To me it seems like extortion,” he says.</quote>

Quoted for color, breadth & verisimilitude

Endgame

  • Only time will tell (the old saw)
  • <quote>Everything turns on what consumers do next. </quote>

Via: backfill
Via: Soulskill; Ask Slashdot: Are AdBlock’s Days Numbered?; In Slashdot; 2014-01-17.

Don’t Want Trackers Watching Your Web And Smartphone Activity? This Start-up’s For You. | Forbes

Kashmir Hill; Don’t Want Trackers Watching Your Web And Smartphone Activity? This Start-up’s For You.; In Forbes; 2013-07-24 (appears in print 2013-08-12).

Mentions

  • A hagiography of Disconnect
  • Disconnect
    • Casey Oppenheim
      • Founder
      • Age 39
      • Consumer advocate lawyer
      • from Minnesota
    • Brian Kennish
      • Founder
      • Age 37
      • ex-Google (2003-)
    • Dan Kwon
      • mentioned
    • Patrick Jackson
      • engineer
      • ex-NSA
    • Located Palo Alto, CA
    • Funding
      • $600,000
      • two venture capital firms and six angel investors
        • Charles River Ventures
        • FirstMark Capital
    • 1x year incubating at Charles River Ventures
    • Claim: <quote>Jackson has come up with a way to manipulate Apple’s operating system into letting Disconnect block advertisers and analytics companies from getting the location, user ID or other info from a person’s phone.</quote>
  • Counterpoint
    • Mike Zaneis, general counsel for the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)

Via backfill