Snake Oil: More Deceptive Ads That Revcontent Runs

Snake Oil: More Deceptive Ads That Revcontent Runs

I’ve been less than complementary about the “Promoted Links” that are distributed on the web by companies like Revcontent. No secret, I’ve written extensively (including, specifically about this company) about how these bottom of the barrel offers create a downward spiral of too-good-to-be-true monetization for publishers. The above link is from September 2015, and it’s clear nothing much has changed for Revcontent in terms of ad quality, which is still somehow acceptable to partner International Business Times (ibtimes.com). The images are sometimes eye-catching (perhaps ‘arresting’ is the right word?) but the offers behind them are downright deceptive and damaging to those that lend them credence.

This morning (grey and magenta text is mine):

revcontent-screenshot

So, for (A) we have a few deceptions, starting with the text that is geo-targeted to my state, Colorado, saying the “Genius Pill” is banned in all states (I think they mean 50, not 49, but oh well) except CO. Also, probably without permission, the ad is using the likeness of Scarlett Johansson and Bradley Cooper. Once I click through, I am sent to this site: http://forbes.com-neuroscience.tech/research/study1.php?=&target=editorial+news&boostid=58477&contentid=486354&widgetid=12402&sxid=87f7047bl0uj

Now, starting your URL with someone else’s (like forbes.com-) seems like you’re trying to imply some connection to that company, but basically ripping off the look/feel/graphics of said site puts you pretty squarely into fraud territory. We have a full-on fake Forbes.com website along with fake comments and more:

 

geniux-ad-revcontent

Brilliant!

For (B), more of the same – a “MuscleHealth365” news site going by the URL menshealthadvice365.com. Check it out if you’re interested in the legal steroid that was featured on CNNhealth.com and other great media outlets. Here’s the link.

(C) Pretending to be a news site called Fit Mom Daily, pretty much all links go to a weight loss product called Hydrolux – of which there are only 250 trials available (countdown timer!) and it will pop up a dialog box if you try to leave the Fit Mom website.

Are you sure you want to leave???!!!

are-you-sure 

Image Source: davidkelly.me (link)