Jennie Scholick

Recent Posts

Innovation in Search Ad Fraud: Coupon Hijackers

In the course of BrandVerity’s regular monitoring of our clients’ accounts over the past few weeks, we’ve become aware of a new way that Black Hats have been defrauding both retail companies and customers by posing as legitimate coupon sites. The scam works similarly to more straightforward affiliate hijacking, but with a new twist: instead of just stealing traffic, these scammers enter customers into “subscription” services that charge them monthly.

Jennie Scholick
Jun 26, 2012

Pinterest and Affiliate Disclosure

The past few weeks have found the internet’s hottest new social media site, Pinterest, embroiled in a controversy regarding affiliate marketing and proper affiliate disclosure. Although Pinterest responded yesterday to the controversy and changed their disclosure policy, we still wanted to give our clients and followers our take on the story and point them towards resources to learn more.

Jennie Scholick
Feb 17, 2012

ISPs and Paxfire Hijack Searches on Popular Brands [Updated]

On Thursday, August 4, New Scientist and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, together with researchers at the International Computer Science Institute at UC Berkeley, broke the news that ISPs representing ~2% of US users were using a company called Paxfire to actively redirect searches on Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. This announcement comes on the heels of two recent academic papers that noted a series of DNS-based redirections of web search requests at the same group of ISPs, including RCN, Frontier, and Hughes, but were unable to identify the culprit.

Jennie Scholick
Aug 9, 2011

PoachMark Now Decrypts Pepperjam Affiliate Links

At BrandVerity we constantly attempt to make finding and contacting abusive affiliates easier for our clients. One hurdle that often stands in the way of easily discovering an affiliate’s identity is the use of encrypted links. Many networks offer their affiliates the option of encrypting their links to hide their affiliate IDs, meaning that for a client to discover who exactly is behind a link we find, they need to contact the network and have them decrypt it. 

We’ve been hard at work figuring out ways of decrypting these links for our clients so that they can contact abusive affiliates from within PoachMark. We previously announced our ability to decrypt Commission Junction’s links and are excited to add Pepperjam to that list.

Jennie Scholick
Aug 4, 2011

Networks Adopting Blackhat Tactics [Updated]

Last week, Jonathan Mayer, a graduate student at the Stanford Institute for Internet and Society, released a blog post reporting that Epic Marketplace, a major US advertising network and member of the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI), is history stealing via the CSS history hack. This declaration has instigated an ongoing conversation in the internet security and advertising worlds about the ethics and legality surrounding these tactics, especially once users have opted-out or activated Do Not Track. We find this discussion particularly interesting as we’ve seen these methods used by the blackhat affiliates that we monitor on a daily basis.

Jennie Scholick
Aug 1, 2011

Google Mobile Targeted by Affiliate Hijackers

Part of the agenda of an affiliate hijacker is to always stay one step ahead of merchants by continuously exploiting new methods of hiding fraudulent ads and avoiding detection. Here at BrandVerity, our goal is to stay one step ahead of them, providing increasingly sophisticated forms of monitoring and management to our clients.

Jennie Scholick
Jul 21, 2011

Google Bans from its Search Results

In the last week, Google removed approximately 11,000,000 websites from their organic search results: all websites with domains. This decision on the part of Google to remove all websites with that domain name has received a fair amount of press from news outlets like the SF Chronicle and the Register, as well as much discussion by Google users on the Google Help Forums. More specifically, Oliver Fisher on the Google Online Security Blog and Matt Cutts on Google+ have commented upon the excessive amount of malware, spam, and low-quality sites housed on bulk subdomain providers like as reasons for the removal of these sites. Their posts can be found here and here along with user comments discussing the decision.

Jennie Scholick
Jul 13, 2011

PoachMark Updates

We’re always looking for new ways to make monitoring and contacting affiliates easier and more efficient, so we’re pleased to announce several new updates to PoachMark that do exactly that.

Jennie Scholick
Jul 12, 2011
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