Picture this: You're watching a YouTube video when you notice a banner ad for a top brand off to the right of the video. You think nothing more of it, finish the video, and continue with your YouTube surfing business when suddenly...there it is again. Another top brand ad, this time on the bottom of the page. What do you do? You may not pay any attention to it. You may say to yourself: "I don't remember ever seeing an ad placed on that part of YouTube." Or you may click the link, with the possibility of having your browser taken over by malware telling you to install the latest fake Java update.
The moral of the story? These ads aren't supposed to exist. And yet, top brands are being charged for them. How, you ask? Forbes has the story, originally reported by London-based security firm Spider.io.
A company called Sambreel (you may have heard the name-in 2011, they lost a litigation to Facebook for running shady ad tactics in the form of 'PageRage', a Facebook 'skin' product) is responsible for this shady YouTube ad cycle as well. And while Google never meant for these ads to exist, major advertisers like Amazon, AT&T, Toyota (and more) dished out the cash, which ended up filling only Sambreel pockets.
But how does it work? A YouTube viewer seeking to download the video they were watching would search for a YouTube downloader. When they searched, a plug-in would come up towards the top of the search engine. Once downloaded, the plug-in would then insert ads into the browser when the user went to different YouTube pages.
"While some of these slots would be regular YouTube inventory that was simply not sold in that instance, other slots, like the norton ad in the image below, would simply be added to the page."
Aside from the obvious malware threat (another reason why it's crucial to have great internet security) that some of these ads posed, the premium companies that paid for these fake ads were not happy. Sambreel has since taken down the plugins and Google has banned them from using the Google monetization and marketing tools. When Forbes reached out for comment from Sambreel, all they go was this auto-reply:
"The Best Video Downloader and Easy YouTube Downloader products have been discontinue. Sincerely, Customer Support Team."
I hope Webroot blacklists every single website that hosts any link to this kind of crapware and blacklists every installer that includes Yontoo. These people are un-redeemable parasite scum. I suggest they go back to manufacturing fake children's medication.
Burn it all. Burn it to the ground. Total War.
This rage cannot be stopped by an email autoreply.
Business Products Sr. Community Leader and Expert Advisor - WSA-Enterprise administrator over 2000 clients
First company to 1000+ WSA endpoints | Power User / Business Ambassador / WSA-C and WSA-E Beta tester
Find me on Twitter!