Pay-Per-Click Link Spam

Pay-Per-Click Link Spam

I've been seeing a lot of this lately. Comic book superhero images made by various artists with a link to Imgserve.net. At first, like many, I found these fairly innocuous. However, the more I thought about it, the weirder things got. It's a highly consistent pattern of posting behavior.

Pay-Per-Click Link Spam

The accounts that post these images with Imgserve.net links almost never have any comments. Sort of odd.

Pay-Per-Click Link Spam

And they usually have around 3 images posts (I think I found this one early since it only has 1 image so far). Even more odd, especially when combined with the image above.

Pay-Per-Click Link Spam

Then I wondered, "Why would you post an image on Imgur (an image host) with a link TO ANOTHER IMAGE HOST?" The trifecta of odd.

That just seems silly so I did a little digging and found the image above. That's right, Imgserve.net pays the OP $6 for every 1,000 clicks from the US (less for other parts of the world).

OP is profiting by posting somebody else's copyrighted work in the hopes that you will click the link to give him money.

Also, Imgserve.net doesn't really police their ads very well (if at all). I tried one with my adblocker turned off and got redirected to another, completely unrelated website (Startvg.com). I tried another and got the image but also got a number of pop-ups and attempts to get me to download/execute programs. Good thing I did this on an isolated virtual machine.

Pay-Per-Click Link Spam

I started using the comments section to point out that the link provided wasn't to the artist's website or anything but rather to a pay-per-click imagehost. Sahan2926 got mad at me and told me to mind my own business. Uh-huh. Mind my own business. On a public website where OP has publicly exhibited somewhat shady behavior.

Pay-Per-Click Link Spam

Ooh, look! Another demand that I mind my own business but with added profanity for emphasis. (This arrived less than 10 minutes after the previous).

Actually, I wasn't going to do anything else until this message popped up. This attempt to silence me was just enough extra motivation to make this post.

Pay-Per-Click Link Spam

So, what is my point? Well, I don't really have one except to point out what OP is doing. It's up to you to decide if you think this behavior is acceptable or not. I fully expect this guy to downvote everything I've ever posted or commented into oblivion through multiple different accounts. Oh well, it's not like I can put my Imgur Glorious status on a resumè.

Pay-Per-Click Link Spam

You made it this far?!? Cool! Have a picture of my late puppy, Trinka Deu.

She was a GSD/Husky mix that wore her cone of shame with an elegance and grace surpassed only by the likes of the Incredible Hulk, King Kong and Godzilla.

Pay-Per-Click Link Spam

UPDATE:
HOLY FLURKING SCHNURT!!! I honestly had no idea this was going to take off like this. Seriously, I figured this would be another 20-30 point post.

I guess I'm not alone in feeling that this behavior is shady and not becoming of a community centered around sharing interesting, cute or funny images.

I have a berjillion comments to reply to and a mock group grant proposal project to write for class. I'll get to replies when I can but my partner would appreciate it if I pulled my weight in our project. Until then, thanks to everyone for the support, comments (both agreeing and disagreeing with me)!

UPDATE 2: I MADE A MISTAKE! It's not $0.06/1000 clicks, IT'S $6/1000 CLICKS. Props to @fauz87 for pointing it out. Unfortunately, his comment was downvoted like crazy (reply to one of the top comments). If people could try to undo some of that damage, it would be polite.

Read more: http://imgur.com/gallery/56uWm

November 18, 2015
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