Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Impression Fraud

I wasn't originally going to post about this particular piece of information I'm going to be writing about. I haven't even tweeted this news article as I don't believe it is indicative of a major change or confirmation of a trend I'm following (the general criteria that guides what I post to Twitter). However, I do believe it exemplifies the false reality we find ourselves in. The awesomeness of fake the system projects.

REPORT: Microsoft Paid People To Post Positive Xbox One Reviews On YouTube

Now these reports come and go, and I'm pretty sure at this point everyone sort of has an idea that things like this are happening. I believe it was back in 2010 that several stories came out about the Canadian government monitoring internet forums and "correcting facts" or something like that. I don't recall the exact phrasing and I haven't been able to track down the link (if I find it I will update this post accordingly). Otherwise I remember the theme very well, the government was paying people to post on forums and comment sections with the "correct facts". Call me an anti-Semite but it seems like things haven't changed since then. Anyway, this particular article purports to have a copy of the agreement text which applicants must sign, it's a very interesting inside view into the way these corporations think. But, I'm writing this post to point out one glaring example within it that just might show what we as a society have become. I will bold the relevant text.
4. COMPENSATION.
As compensation for the promotion that You are providing, You shall be paid the consideration of One U.S. Dollar ($3.00) CPM (“CPM Compensation”) for every valid View (as the terms View” is defined in your existing Affiliate Agreement with Machinima, including all the terms thereof, are incorporated herein by reference) of each Campaign Video that complies with the Promotional Requirements set forth above, subject to the “Campaign Cap” (as defined below). “CPM” means cost per thousand views of Campaign Video on Your YouTube Channel, other than views generated by Action Fraud (as defined below). You will be paid within 45 days after the close of the Campaign Period upon Machinima receipt of a signed W-9 or W-8BEN form, if requested. You agree to be paid as an independent contractor and You agree to be solely responsible for payment of any income, sales or use tax(es) or other payment(s), which may become due to any state or federal authority. You acknowledge and agree that Machinima has the right to offset any amounts owed to You under this Agreement against any amounts owed by You to Machinima under any other agreement, including but not limited to Your Affiliate Agreement. 
The budgetary Views “cap” for the entire Campaign is 1,250,000 Views among all U.S. and international participants in the Campaign (the “Campaign Cap”). Machinima will notify You via e-mail if and when the Campaign Cap is reach, and at that point the Campaign will be terminated as of the date of such notification (“Early Termination Date”), and You will not receive the CPM Compensation for Views received for your Campaign Video(s) beyond such Early Termination Date; however You will continue to receive your standard payment under your Affiliate Agreement. However, if the Campaign Cap is not reached during the Campaign Period, then the Campaign will automatically end on the final date of the Campaign Period (i.e., February 9, 2014 at 11:59pm PT).
5. CONFIDENTIALITY
You agree to keep confidential at all times all matters relating to this Agreement, including, without limitation, the Promotional Requirements, and the CPM Compensation, listed above. You understand that You may not post a copy of this Agreement or any terms thereof online or share them with any third party (other than a legal or financial representative). You agree that You have read the Nondisclosure Agreement (attached hereto and marked as Exhibit “A”) and You understand and agree to all of terms of the Nondisclosure Agreement, which is incorporated as part of this Agreement.
6. DISCLAIMERS.
If You fail to perform any of the Campaign elements outlined earlier in a timely and professional manner or breach any obligation or requirement of this Agreement, Machinima may terminate this Agreement, at any time and in Machinima’s sole discretion, and allocate any remaining budget to other partners.
If Machinima suspects or determines that You are driving Views as the result of Action Fraud, and/or fail to make Campaign Videos in compliance with this Agreement, Machinima can immediately terminate this Agreement, in its sole discretion and You will be barred from participation in future campaigns. “Action Fraud” means so-called "click fraud" or "impression fraud,” or fraud of any other kind, whether in any automated or human way, including, without limitation, by the use of a person, an automated script or a computer program (for example, online robots or "bots") to click or otherwise activate any form of View, response mechanism, annotation or advertising unit, or any other fraudulent means, to increase Views, impressions, skew results or imitate a legitimate user of a web or mobile browser or other software application for viewing on any device, for example, by clicking on an ad unit for the purpose of generating an improper click value and generating revenue.
Yes, that's right, this is a document that people are to sign whose purpose is to create an agreement in which the applicant is (ignore the striked out portions) "the use of a person, an automated script or a computer program (for example, online robots or "bots") to click or otherwise activate any form of View, response mechanism, annotation or advertising unit, or any other fraudulent means, to increase Views, impressions, skew results or imitate a legitimate user of a web or mobile browser or other software application for viewing on any device, for example, by clicking on an ad unit for the purpose of generating an improper click value and generating revenue."

They call it "impression fraud", in a document in which the applicant obliges to spread a false impression to increase views, to skew results, and they are imitating legitimate users. All for generating revenue.

Before the internet creating a false reality was fairly simple. TV and radio, both government regulated and corporate owned, disseminated only what they wanted you to know. Part of what gives the internet it's power is the sense of community, open-source, and the inherently anti-hierarchical culture that's been created around it. People are "real" and it is preferable to the people over the command & control carefully tailored one way propaganda governments and corporations were blessed with before. It is something so preferable that corporations and governments feel the need to literally fake being a part of that community to attempt to continue the control they had. Yes, had. They don't have it anymore, and so the government has become quite concerned over "child pornographers" and "bullies". The U.K. is already having fun with that one.

Look around, there are fucking ads everywhere. You are being sold, influenced, and coerced pretty well every minute that you're awake. Corporations continue putting ads in more and more and stupider and stupider places because people are getting used to conventional ads. It's absolutely sick that to a corporation or a government "impression fraud" is just marketing, but when it comes to something like falsely indicating a few links were clicked that's something serious like "fraud".

Marketing is public relations and public relations is propaganda according to Edward Bernays the father of modern marketing, public relations, and propaganda. Read his shit, and then look at our society which prides itself on it's accomplishments in mass manipulation. Where being a "marketer" is a perfectly ok career choice and dreaming up schemes like this is just the order of the day.

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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

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