Affiliate marketers find Facebook eases scamming


Affiliate marketers, who buy ad space in bulk, run campaigns, and earn commissions on the sales they generate, are behind some of the shady and misleading ads that pollute social media and the wider internet, despite also promoting some legitimate businesses such as Amazon and eBay. At one of several yearly conferences, a Berlin event sponsored by Stack That Money, included representatives from Facebook, "Your Computer May Be Infected", "You Won an iPhone", a Russian promoter of black mask face peels, Canadian bot-infested dating sites, and people selling fake Facebook accounts. Affiliates told Bloomberg that Facebook's attraction for big brands "revolutionised scamming" by identifying "morons" the affiliates could exploit. Voluum, software built by Robert Gryn, a Polish former affiliate, enables affiliates to track their campaigns, defeat the ad networks' defensive tactics, and make substantial sums. Forbes estimates Gryn's net worth at $180 million, making him one of the wealthiest men in Poland; Gryn estimates that Voluum users place $1.7 billion in ads, $400 million of that on Facebook's $4 billion a year ad platform. Even though Facebook bans fake accounts, former employees from Toronto acknowledged that some of their best-paying customers are affiliates using deception and there was pressure to push them to spend more. Bob Leathern, hired to combat deceptive ads, claimed in August 2018 that using AI had dropped the incidence of "cloaking", a tactic used by affiliates to subvert the platform, by two-thirds. Facebook is also hiring 1,000 people for its ad review team and banned ads for cryptocurrencies, which were popular with affiliates.
tags: Facebook, advertising, marketing, deception, fraud, Poland, social media, 
writer: Zeke Faux
publication: Bloomberg

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