Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet

Unwanted Popups Boosting Web Traffic 118

Posted by kdawson
from the stealing-eyeballs dept.
Most of us have experienced popups used for advertising. Now, some adware companies and advertiser networks are using popups (mostly from programs that users did not want installed) to directly boost traffic numbers for their customer Web sites. Net rating and measurement companies try to detect and discount such inflated traffic numbers, with mixed success.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Unwanted Popups Boosting Web Traffic

Comments Filter:
  • RTFS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 11, 2006 @05:54PM (#17200364)
    Read the summary again, it clearly says:

    mostly from programs that users did not want installed

    ...meaning spyware, adware, viruses, trojans etc. It has nothing to do with your choice of browser.
  • They had it coming (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dtfinch (661405) * on Monday December 11, 2006 @05:58PM (#17200404) Journal
    There's no honor amongst thieves. I just wish something more could be done to screw these companies that fund spammers and malware advertisers, like law enforcement doing its job or something. Is paying someone to do something illegal also illegal? For example, it's illegal to hire a hitman.
  • Re:RTFS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by djh101010 (656795) * on Monday December 11, 2006 @06:00PM (#17200426) Homepage Journal
    ...meaning spyware, adware, viruses, trojans etc. It has nothing to do with your choice of browser.

    I disagree. On my work system (the only windows box I use), with IE, I get lots of popups, with firefox, I get very very few. So it certainly has _something_ to do with my choice of browser. It's all additive, of course: use a browser that has some decent popup blocking, _and_ don't install stupid shit on your pc, _or_ don't run the OS the stupid shit is made for. It all helps.
  • But pray that not many users will follow your advice or you will get the attention of the spammers and the situation will be the same with your "perfectly secure OS". So enjoy your minority while you can.
    This isn't an OS problem, sure its currently a Windows problem but it will happen to any OS where the user blindly installs software, and where that process is overly simple and in some cases automatic.

    Of course saying that, I doubt very much that even if Linux had a user base as large as the one Microsoft currently enjoys that the problem would be of the same scale, primarily because as a Linux user, even as a totally novice user, you can get all of your software from direct from whoever provided the distribution you are using, and it becomes less likely that you would want to install some random screen saver or other application that you find on the web.

    Moreover it is considerably harder if not impossible to have a browser install software without user intervention under Linux. Furthermore I have so far never seen, and would find it difficult to see how an application could be installed under Linux that is as persistent as it is under Windows.

    So I guess what I am saying is that the argument that Linux would be as badly effected by Viruses, Spyware and Malware if it were as prevalent as windows is simply not true, as the two operating systems, from a user perspective are not very alike. Not to mention the fact that Linux IS more secure, not just because of its relative obscurity but also because of the security measures in place within the OS. None of which will protect the OS if the user really wants to hose his or her machine. It does make that hosing more diffucult, and considerably reduces if not eliminates the threats posed by automated attacks similar to those seen agains Windows machines.
  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Monday December 11, 2006 @06:16PM (#17200650) Homepage Journal
    But pray that not many users will follow your advice or you will get the attention of the spammers and the situation will be the same with your "perfectly secure OS". So enjoy your minority while you can.


    Yes, there's a large assumption by a bunch of people that Linux (or Mac OS X or FreeBSD or NetBSD) is 'perfectly secure', and yes, I agree with you that they are dead flat wrong.

    However, there's a large assumption by a bunch of people that if Linux were more popular, we'd see a lot more spyware, trojans, and viruses (oh my!) for Linux.

    While this is a true in a relative way, it doesn't take much to be 'a lot more' for Linux. Even with just half a dozen, you'd have 'a lot more'.

    However, it's important to note that no matter the popularity of Linux, there is no way it would ever have the depth or prervasiveness of malware problems present on the Windows platform. If anyone who actually knows anything about the operating system architecture and security of both the Linux and Windows platforms in depth wants to debate this point with me seriously, I welcome them. Assuming that spammers would have just as much luck with Linux or ther UNIXes as with Windows is just sheer lunacy.

  • by Buttonius (31377) on Monday December 11, 2006 @06:21PM (#17200726) Homepage
    Wouldn't it be much smarter if these adware companies let their malware fetch the popup file (pretending to be any popular web browser) and not display it to the user? Most users would never notice the additional network traffic and, not having seen a sudden popup, would have little incentive to go hunting for the spyware.
  • by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@noSpAM.gmail.com> on Monday December 11, 2006 @06:29PM (#17200820) Homepage
    Having a high purchase : hits ratio is just as important as having a lot of hits. If the users never see the pop ups, they are guaranteed never to purchase your products from them...
  • by truthsearch (249536) on Monday December 11, 2006 @06:35PM (#17200902) Homepage Journal
    lynx?
  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday December 11, 2006 @06:41PM (#17200996) Homepage
    The current model for advertising costs is just wrong! The pricing structure needs to be one that doesn't inspire fraudulent activity. Print, radio and television advertisers cite circulation and ratings numbers. Web advertisers should cite some other "popularity" measure, but not necessarily one that inspires fraud. Google, for example, might be one such measure, but really, it should never be so precise as in number of hits. I think it should be something based essentially on the site's demographic and estimated audience as determined by some neutral third party. It'd be like the Neilson ratings in its own way. And let these third parties come up with their own trustworthy measurements and may the market gravitate to the best of those ratings companies.

    In this way, we would lose a great deal of fraud on the web simply because there will be lost incentive to have it.
  • by DittoBox (978894) on Monday December 11, 2006 @06:45PM (#17201034) Homepage
    Analyze any spyware, adware, hijackware, malware, virii etc. for any length of time, and you'll quickly realize that there is very, very little talent in the pool of "developers" that create this crap.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Monday December 11, 2006 @07:06PM (#17201298)
    One way to screw spammers would be for everyone to click on their links, then not buy anything. Spammers are paid by click-through counts. If companies start getting a lot of false click-throughs that they have to pay for, they'll soon either lower what they pay, or use other methods of bringing traffic to their sites. Lowered pay hurts the spammers when everyone then stops clicking through. The general concept is that if you can't ignore them, then bury them instead.
  • by Phisbut (761268) on Monday December 11, 2006 @07:23PM (#17201522)
    because as a Linux user, even as a totally novice user, you can get all of your software from direct from whoever provided the distribution you are using, and it becomes less likely that you would want to install some random screen saver or other application that you find on the web.

    If Jane Sixpack wants those bouncy smileys for her email, and the "official distribution channel" doesn't provide them, she will download them from a random website and install them, and if installing them requires the root password, then the root password it will get.

    The typical Windows user knows not to open random email attachments and not to execute software downloaded from random websites, but the "need" for smileys and other flashy-flashies trumps any security education.

    The problem is not the OS, it's the user. And I'd rather those users keep away from Linux.

  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Monday December 11, 2006 @08:02PM (#17201990) Homepage Journal
    I personally find both NoScript and AdBlock work well in Firefox. Now, I'm not against ads, but if they persist in being NOISY, MOVING, obnoxious ads I don't just kill them, I kill the entire subsite that launces them.

    Want ads? Then stop popping up and stop full motion video with sound.
  • by micpp (818596) on Monday December 11, 2006 @10:28PM (#17203190) Homepage
    The fact that you probably had to set all of that up specifically rather than it coming as standard is probably significant.

The number of arguments is unimportant unless some of them are correct. -- Ralph Hartley

Working...