CAT | Fake websites
Over time we have seen a large variety of bad publishers applying to join ad networks – one of the most frequent tactics is to use a site template that looks functional and deep upon basic inspection, but is actually just a simple template. A year ago, there were several e-commerce sites like this, but the fraudsters probably realized that these are unlikely to make a lot of sense since ecommerce sites usually do not want advertising on them to distract from making purchases.
Thus a common type is the free games for download type of site. Here is an example of a recent site applying to an ad network.
http://www.gameairport.com/ – “free flash games”, click on one of the first games.
You will see a page with lots of empty spaces where ads are supposed to go, e.g. “300*250 Advertisement” and this will proceed further down as you are led around to lots of pages with more ad links on them. Others include:
Games are not the only category for questionable sites. Travel works well too — like http://www.Siteaffiliation.com
Click down into a flight search and you’ll find a broken link. But the first two layers look like a real travel site. It’s unclear what each of these sites does or will do but there is a large number of them proliferating out there, and you are certainly seeing them get into some ad networks. If they are just SEO/arb plays that is one thing – but anyone accepting “template” sites like these into their ad network should be on the lookout to see if anything odd happens… and let us know.