$15.5 million, who says crime doesn't pay

From http://www.revenews.com/kelliestevens/affiliates-indicted-for-cookie-stuffing/

Shawn Hogan (owner of DP) criminally charged for allegedly defrauding E-bay of $15.5 million dollars in affiliate fees over two years through cookie stuffing.

This is on top of the civil suit filed by E-bay several years ago that is still working it’s way through the courts.

Maximum criminal penalties in this case are $31 million in fines and 20 years in prison.

With that kind of money, he can afford to pay some good lawyers. Should be interesting to see how this turns out.

Wow. If this is true, why would anyone want to take that kind of risk, and allegedly go that route? There is more than enough money to go around for everyone online…

amazing how someone can be so smart and so stupid at the same time. in the blog it he makes himself sound like such a weak baby.

That makes no sense how can that not be viewed as illegal? That’s like me being sponsored by red bull then not showing the sponsorship at all, but I’m still being paid to represent them. This is how I kind of see it?

I thought black hat SEO or w/e you call it between those two were just dirty techniques. This is more illegal than it is dirty because your actually stealing not just distorting someones general view.

IDK, I guess this is why I write so many scam articles and put no trust into people in the internet. I still like DP sometimes, but that seems bad.

I guess this is how forums sometimes become big though is through dirty techniques and such. I use a forum that is in the top 5 of the largest forums in the world and they started out with making auto-bots for Diablo 2 then went clean later on. It’s not illegal to create bots for games, but it’s against policy of the game makers. Which I viewed as a black hat technique on their part, so black hat techniques can be illegal?

People going to DigitalPoint downloaded a small image which linked to eBay (an image of an ad that users were expected to click to get to eBay). It looked as though they had clicked a link to eBay and had visited it, because they got a cookie with the image, but they hadn’t actually clicked the link to eBay. Normally, the user should only get that cookie if they actually click an ad link. The cookie is used to tell the 3rd-party that yes, someone clicked on the link and visited their site.

But giving people a cookie just for viewing a page that has a link, can be considered fraud, because the advertisers are paying the hosting site money for each “click”, where with stuffing they’re paying even for customers who don’t even see their ads.

So it’s illegal (if your terms & agreements said cookies are only to be given to visitors who actually click the links, or click the links and then buy a product, or whatever the rules agreed on are) to tell your advertisers to pay up because, hey, look at all the people clicking the link on your ad! When in fact, users were not.

That makes no sense how can that not be viewed as illegal? That’s like me being sponsored by red bull then not showing the sponsorship at all, but I’m still being paid to represent them. This is how I kind of see it?

It should depend specifically on whatever the agreement was between the ad-hosting site and the advertiser.

If I understand this case correctly, eBay suing civilly. A civil suit is where one party claims another party has done something to harm them or is responsible for something that harmed them… different from being prosecuted for doing something outright illegal.

So, I dunno what this case falls under. It sure looks like plain old fraud to me, but I don’t know the details.

Which I viewed as a black hat technique on their part, so black hat techniques can be illegal?

Black hat in general might be illegal, it depends on what they’re doing. Black Hat SEO is usually not considered illegal (this may be due to lawmaking lagging activity). If you have a contract with someone and break it, though, that’s grounds for at least a civil suit, if not a lawsuit.

IANAL though.

This is what is wrong with SEO. This is why, when I am searching for something, I get a sh*tload of bogus, unrelated crap (in this case, if I were looking for Ebay registration, I would have seen the WRONG SITE as #1… gah).

I would lol if this was fake. Just think of all the people coming to his site. I doubt it is fake, but I’m guessing it’s going to be viral.

Can someone explain why cookie stuffing is a bad thing to do (I don’t know what it is to begin with, so just explain why it’s a bad thing please).

Shawn Hogan wrote some interesting stuff in his blog about the whole case. Not sure if his lawyer would like it. ?

http://blogs.digitalpoint.com/entry.php?b=215

Interesting read, though I don’t think that means that crime pays well… it really depends on the outcome, if he loses the case it probably won’t be as relevant a point as he could lose much of his assets and money in legal costs, not to mention the jail time which may ensue - better to avoid trying to cash in on naughty activities. :wink: