Fake Google & Yahoo Spyware Scammers Busted by FTC
The FTC is clamping down on spyware companies. These guys contribute to the growing need for more consumers to buy anti-spyware to protect themselves. Many of these programs block honest marketer’s links or delete affiliate cookies. The ClientMan spyware software that was distributed also hijacked search engine requests making it look like the results came from Google and Yahoo. Walter Rines, the guy behind Odysseus Marketing, the company that just got busted, according to a Wall street Journal story was once a partner with Sanford Wallace, a New Hampshire man known as the “Spam King” who was recently was accused of using spyware programs to infect computers, then selling remedies that didn’t work. Here are some snippets from a few news stories I researched about the Odysseus Marketing case, the 1st one is from betanews.com:
The software did not perform the advertised function at all, according to the FTC. It only acted as a vehicle to download and install dozens of spyware applications onto victims’ computers…. According to the filing, attempting to uninstall the program using the provided tool only installs more spyware.
The program would also hijack search engine requests, putting the defendant’s own pages in search results above genuine results on Web sites made to look like Google and Yahoo.
For the lowdown read the Spyware Blog which has the full scoop on this company, the perpetrator and some interesting history:
“Last year I wrote about Walt “Picklejar” Rines and his company Odysseus Marketing in relation to the Rob Martinson, Spamford Wallace and SpyWiper/Spy Deleter default-homepage-network fiasco. More information on Walt Rines and Odysseus Marketing’s connection can be found here. It was well known that Walt Rines and Spamford Wallace were friends and spamming partners.”
According to MSNBC.com
“Rines wouldn’t say how many consumers were using the software, but said “hundreds of thousands” of people had downloaded it…The list of adware programs that landed on consumers’ computers was lengthy, according to the FTC. It included programs with names like Ncase, DealHelper, Surfsidekick, InternetOptimizer, BargainBuddy, WebRebates, Avenue A, and eZula… After installing Kazanon, users who used search tools such as Yahoo and Google received altered search results, the FTC said. Atop the normal results produced by a Google search, for example, were links to firms that paid Odysseus for clicks. The results were presented in Google-style fonts, making them indistinguishable from the standard Google results.
Rines said his tool didn’t “replace” any search engine links, “It just added some of ours.”
Rines also said in some reports he was not guilty of anything. Ya right! I hope the feds get ALL these guys and lock them up for good.
Linda Buquet, Affiliate Programs Columnist – Linda is the president of 5 Star Affiliate Programs.com is an Affiliate Management Consultant that represents a select group of high paying, high integrity affiliate programs. The 5 Star site also features all the best affiliate blogs and SEO news, as well as a friendly Internet marketing forum.