Beware of your next click!

As a regular internet user, I can honestly say, that no online advertisement or banner could fool me. Nevertheless there are a lot of users around the World Wide Web, who don’t know, that you can realize questionable ads on first sight. Hence this widespread ignorance, many critics go public with their observations about illegal and confusing advertisement.

Ben Edelman is the name of an ambitioned young man you should keep in mind. The Harvard assistant professor is one of the best known investigators if it comes to adware and spyware on the internet. The aim of his educational work is to publicize the methods of affiliates who therefore cross the border of legality. There are a lot of critics like Edelman, who require a well-defined legal situation.

Since the enormous expansion of the internet and its nontransparent and overwhelming content, it is more important than ever, to observe the machinations of those deceptive advertisers. Edelman publicized a wide range of papers and articles concerning these issues, including spyware, unknown installation methods and e-commerce observations. One of his best known and most discussed publications is about Yahoo’s ad marketplace Right Media. In his paper ‘False and Deceptive Display Ads at Yahoo's Right Media’ he outlines the company’s fake and deceitful ad practices by showing a lot of examples of advertisements like these. In his paper Edelman concludes, that at least 35% of Right Media’s ads is deceptive. Banners such as Windows XP message box look-a-likes, proclaiming you ’received 1 new message’ simply lead to another website if you click it. This website (Webrewardstream.com) also advertises by setting popunders saying “Congratulations! You have won today’s contest […]”, which is of course another way to fool the user.

However, one of the most impudent methods is that kind of ad banner, which matches the style, the format and / or the usual font and has no border between the visited site and the advertisement itself. By announcing you received new messages and someone had a crush on you, the banner will automatically forward you, by clicking. Next shown, are message boxes and a “crush alert”, which are confusing and try to sell you a 9,99$ per month subscription without reporting it explicitly. Visit Ben Edelman´swebsite (benedelman.org) to get more information about such illegal and unwelcome advertisement. Here you can also see concrete screenshots and videos how internet traps are established.