Yahoo/Centro/SiteScout + Affiliate Ads + Dr.Oz Magic

Yahoo/Centro/SiteScout + Affiliate Ads + Dr.Oz Magic

It’s not the first time I’ve called out Yahoo for running bad ads on their front page – seems like I have just enough patience to call them out once a year.

Luckily this time, I can name a couple of their partners in this endeavour and hopefully the Federal Trade Commission will take a quick look too, since they’ve been talking to Dr. Oz about some of his weightloss/skincare TV. I’m pretty sure he’s not involved directly in this one, but certainly his likeness continues to be affiliate marketing magic. Online ad and affiliate networks over the last 3 years have been fined and/or shut down by the FTC in a number of cases (eg. Clickbooth in 2012) for their affiliates running “fake news sites” like this one appears to be.

The ad is hard to miss on Yahoo’s front page. The icon in the top corner tells me that this ad was indeed served by Yahoo. (click on the images to expand them)

And it takes you to a site that appears to give the impression of being Woman’s Day (“Woman’s Way”), the URL is http://www.regionalhealthresearch.com/healthy-skin

Both the click URL (https://monk.sitescoutadserver.com/click?clid=a04882b386&rand=1405221027080&sid=[SUB-ID-HERE]&cm=https%3A%2F%2Fclicks.beap.bc.yahoo.com%2Fyc%2FYnY9MS4wLjAmYnM9KDE3N2dmcGVqNShnaWQkWmdYbDZ3QUFBQUF6VmtldnFoTEhoZkl6TXFxcHVsUEIuS0lBRHJkTSxzdCQxNDA1MjIxMDI2OTY3MTI5LHNpJDQ0NjU1NTEsc3AkNzk2NzAwMDAxLGNyJDQxNzM2Njk1NTEsdiQyLjAsYWlkJFFPZUhVbUtMNEhJLSxjdCQyNSx5YngkaTR1M1NyUXpsZzlvYmhSTDE0Wk8wdyxiaSQyMTI5NjczMDUxLG1tZSQ4OTkwMjEwNzMxMDUwOTQ3MTI5LHIkMCx5b28kMSxhZ3AkMzI1ODA2ODU1MSxhcCRMUkVDKSk%2F1%2F*) and the image hosting URL (https://cdn2sitescout-a.akamaihd.net/cpcode129/005-484fc2c.jpg) are from domains associated with SiteScout and their founder. SiteScout is an ad buying platform (“DSP”) and was acquired in 2013 by Centro for $40 million according to this article. It looks like this advertiser is using their platform to place ads on large sites including Yahoo’s.

Here are the screenshots of the before/after photoshop content, and scammy offer (just 3 jars left!). I’m shocked these kinds of ads are able to show on the front page of Yahoo, and hope that Yahoo and Centro will shut these kinds of advertisers down.

Note the fake Facebook comments (linking to real people’s profiles, mind you). Ultimately the affiliate offers click over to this page for a product called “Revitol”:

Regardless of whether this product works or not, the marketing for it is totally deceptive and not something that should continue to exist. It’s the worst kind of “native advertising” around.