Exploiting the Adult Industry

This is a big topic in Auckland right now as our City Council Elections are hijacked by a supposed candidate promoting his porn empire. It’s hard to separate the “no harm done” side of the industry from the exploitive and damaging side and to understand, in the long run, where to draw the line.

Aside from the obvious industry fronts of websites, movies, magazines and gadgets there are the rogues that exploit the demand for the product. I guess anytime you have something popular there are going to be people who trick and connive.

Take Captcha – it’s a great way to bot proof your website and unless you have something that people really, really want it’s going to work. What can, and does happen, though is that there are decoy sites that offer free downloads of photos and movies if you complete the captcha. The image, however, is sourced from another site and if you enter it right a bot will use your answer to access the other site. Your reward is the free download.

As a consequence the spammers are able to get any number of emails, forum logins and eBay accounts just because Mr Drool wanted that free download.

A second victim is Lead Generation. In the early days of the net companies paid per impression for advertising and then auto-surf sites started up. So the companies changed to pay per click and the script kiddies wrote auto clickers or just asked visitors to “visit our sponsors”. The advertisers got hacked off at losing money and looked at ways to cost per action… and so lead generation was spawned.

In the past few days I have seen two scams being played out.

#1: Movie downloads

To access an adult movie download for free the user has to complete a lead form – which they will do happily, I guess. Is Mr Drool really going to say “But I don’t need a new garage door, I just want to watch Enthusiastic Amateurs!”. I don’t think so, he’ll give his info (fake phone number, surely) and start the download. The unwitting advertiser gets the lead not realising that it’s not a real lead and then spends more time and resources trying to follow it up.

#2: Lasik (although not involving the Adult Industry)

In this example a USA-nationwide Lasik company was paying per lead – with a verified phone number. So the Scammer was paying people US$5 to be one of those leads – and I guess when they rang you just had to say that you’d decided on a different company or your eyes had mysteriously improved.

I’m glad I’m not an advertiser

I don’t currently advertise through any of the methods above but I’m aggrieved, nonetheless for the companies who spend their ad budget and get ripped off. How long until we find that advertisers walk away from the net, or make it so hard to meet their requirements that the smaller sites miss out on ad revenue altogether. I think it’s great that even small sites can earn a bit of revenue to pay their way – and it’s great the programs like Adsense exist.

So, if you see someone cheating the system, suss out who the advertiser is and ask them to review the lead generating site… some will be grateful that you’ve taken the time.

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Sarah King Written by:

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11 Comments

  1. August 23, 2007

    Oh my, Mark Burnett has found that some of the captcha systems are even easier to hack – no need to pick on Mr Drool!

  2. poohbear
    August 24, 2007

    Straight to the point.
    80% on TV advertising seems to be porn-related sad to say. It sells

  3. August 24, 2007

    Its all about who pays the most to the right person,

    Like the person said above , it sells therefor that means cash money to people and well you know the old saying right?

    Money talks and bullshit walks

    Good post and good to se you posting again, post more often its good for the blogoshere 🙂

    ~Brew

  4. August 27, 2007

    Grate post you got in here, But i think the advertiser will keep on paying because they will get a percentage out of all the people who is registering.

  5. September 9, 2007

    I think there is so much money invovled in all of these scams that it doenst matter if its a scam in a shop, or online, or door to door, there always going to continue :/

  6. September 14, 2007

    I don enjoy porn, but it’s out there, and people like it. It’s here to stay, I think the best thing to to is teach I daughters its degrading, and our sons that women should not be exploited.
    It’s hard when Paris Hilton, Britney and others teach that the exploitation of women id ok every day!

  7. September 16, 2007

    Isn’t it money that is the basic culprit on earth? Can’t we civilized humans think of some better alternative in this advanced age of super computers at our disposal?

  8. November 8, 2007

    Hey Sarah!

    When you gunna update your blog?! Are you still alive?

  9. November 9, 2007

    Yeah, yeah, just been very busy with a few clients and haven’t had inspiration! however there have been some good conversations on PHPUG that I might review… watch this space 🙂

  10. December 6, 2007

    I had never heard of the scam with the captcha decoy sites… I thought I was doing such a good job on security, but I guess not. But I’m probably just being paranoid… I don’t have real high-demand or hacker-prone sites anyway. I don’t pay for leads either. Thanks for the information though.

  11. January 18, 2008

    Personally, I think it would be great if every advertiser got torqued off at the internet and left it. I still remember what it was like before all the commercialization and would love to see it return to it’s original purpose. To heck with advertisers – they get enough of my mental cycles via traditional methods – radio, TV, billboards, movies, park benchs, walls, bathroom stalls, etc., etc.

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