I have seem a lot of websites and services playing the ad hedging game. Some buy high priced ad words, and sell them for even higher prices as part of more “comprehensive” offerings, while others simply purchase certain keywords directing to their sites, and then pepper their style sheets with enough high priced keywords to ensure some very lucrative clicks. But I really wish I had seen this latest news coming, so I could gloat over my prescience, and ramble on about arbitrage possibilities in world’s latest commodity market (web ads that is).
While the sites attempting to sell cheap airline tickets to unsuspecting victims have been shut down (as noted in TRUSTe Privacy Statements all over a site – it isn’t going to prevent someone with malicious intent from switching gears once a site has been “reviewed.” The economics of these scams are just too enticing.
The trend away from email lures is beginning to grow, and we are seeing increasingly sophisticated and varying exploits, targeting a variety of new site profiles using new and different tactics (see Phishers Moving Away From E-mail “Lures” for more on this). No spam blocking software or blacklist or anti-spam sleuth is going to stop this trend, and the perps are going to pop up, and disappear with peoples money, much as they have been with email lures before.
Training users to keep their eyes open for suspicious activity, and providing a means to report them, and quickly, is the only solution for now.