KMF Studios Archives: Exposing Scamvertising

This site is (mostly) about scamvertising, a close cousin of malvertising.

The creator of this site lives in British Columbia, Canada; therefore, this site may have a bias towards Canada, the Commonwealth, the Anglosphere, and/or the Northern Hemisphere.

If malvertisers want to destroy your computer, then scamvertisers want to destroy your bank account. They typically use fake news sites, often impersonating legitimate news and magazine sites (the CBC, Forbes, and People Magazine are all common targets for impersonation by scamvertisers). They typically lure victims in with “free trials” of non-FDA-approved skin creams or dietary supplements. These trials aren’t actually free: they ask for your credit card info, which the scammers then use to make repeated charges that can’t be cancelled.

However, some do not promote “free trials”, and instead advertise rigged online casinos, suspicious cryptocurrencies, or malicious binary options software. The end result is the same, however: the scam victim loses money.

Whether or not there’s a “free trial” involved, the stories often fabricate endorsements from celebrities, athletes, and/or politicians; scammers have used the names of Dr. Oz, Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, Justin Trudeau, Sidney Crosby, and Wayne Gretzky.

Scamvertising is just as bad as malvertising: arguably even worse, since you can easily clean your computer of malware, but the only way to stop scammers from billing your credit card is to cancel your credit card and get a new one.

The most common venue for scamvertisements is “content you may like”-type ad networks, such as Taboola, Outbrain, RevContent, and NewsMax; the latter two are notorious for having more scamvertisements than actual advertisements. However, even Google Adsense, the largest and most highly-moderated ad network, often sometimes allows scamvertising. For this reason, this site will never show any advertisements.

Some people think that the government bodies that regulate radio and TV, such as the CRTC, should also regulate the internet. This is a bad idea, and would lead to a “Great Firewall” like that of China. The best solution would be for bodies like the W3C and ICANN to consult with the UN, and form a code of international “Internet Law”, like how the high seas have Maritime Law.

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