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The SadBotTrue team released their 12-letter domains report that exposes Tomasz Klekot of PopAds for hundreds of billions of fraudulent ad views across hundreds of fake, randomized 12-letter websites.
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12-letter domains. The ad fraud scheme
Experts of the SadBotTrue team detected the largest global ad fraud scheme, using high-quality targeted artificial referral traffic. The ad fraud of this scale has never been fully investigated.
The main element of the found scheme is the set of 1000 technical disposable sites that redirected bots visits as referral traffic to the sites with advertising. The name of this site is a 12-letter meaningless set, (without numbers and other signs), more like a wi-fi password. At an early stage, there are 8-digit in summer 2016 and 50-digit domains in September. All domains are registered in the dot-com zone.
Over the past 8 months, since August 5, 2016, with this scheme, more than a billion artificial visitors (bots) have been launched into the network, for mass viewing of all types of advertising, including video.
These sites were registered daily, with occasional breaks, from 1 to 19 sites a day, depending on the need. On the same day, a few hours after the creation, they received the main portion of traffic, it could be up to 4-5 million visits.
The average visit to such a site lasts 3 minutes, 2 pages views, according to Similar Web. Alexa shows slightly different stats, 28 seconds and 1.3 pageviews. Later we explain the reasons for this discrepancy in stats. In the end of the visit bot simulated referral to the site with ads, and then to the next one, and so on, from one to the other.
Who is the creator of the scheme?
Finally, we moved on to the most important question. It is clear who its main beneficiary is, too many facts lead us to one digital advertising company.
The early 8-letters domains in the summer of 2016 are redirected to Popads.net.
Sources sending referral traffic to 12-letter domains are the main donors of the ad traffic for Pop Ads.
All domains receive display ad traffic from Popads.net. This traffic is very small, 0.2-0.3%, but it comes to all these sites.
12-letter domains are sent to other sites is not only a referral but also advertising traffic. It is marked as Pop Ads ad traffic.
PopAds.net is hosted on a nearby IP on the same server in Dallas.
126.96.36.199 - Active ad fraud domains
188.8.131.52 - Pop Ads
The other PIs in the range 184.108.40.206-255 are not used for web hosting.
PopAds.net is also a global converter of direct traffic to advertising traffic. Over the past 3 months, it was visited almost 2 billion times, of which 77% were direct visits. During the same period, it sent 743 million advertising traffic to the customers.
The trademark “Pop Ads” is used by TOMKSOFT S.A. The company was founded in 2011 in Costa Rica by the Polish programmer and digital entrepreneur Tomasz Klekot. Initially, it specialized in pop-up ads, but now it is actively engaged in the sale of traffic resellers, publishers, and agencies.
Ja radim sa Popadsom … izgleda da najveća i najuspješnija pop mreža kreira i pušta bot saobraćaj u svoje sisteme. Wow. Bavi li se iko popupovima nowadays?