The Spy Who Popped Me

Originally posted to the Internet University message board

Captains log, Stardate -313708.32

I went back to the Zip submit campaign I was running and trimmed the URLs so at least I’m keeping 2-3 profitable URLs. Ultimately I don’t want to invest a ton of time on something I know won’t take me very far even if I get it 100% awesome. I may come back and try some other crazy stuff with them

I grabbed an old laptop – a Thinkpad T30 and loaded it with Gamevance, Hotbar, Vombashots and Gamebound for DirectCPV. I’m learning quite a bit. The hardest part was getting stupid Hotbar to not get nuked by the Antivirus. I also installed an older version of Firefox. I ‘m aware the machine is at risk for viruses and trojans, so it gets backed up nightly and can be rebuilt in 30 minutes. Its also not part of the core of my home network, just in case. Its slow as freaking molasses, but does the job. Today I was able to see and screencapture one of my own pop-ups!!! It looked like shit – lesson learned.

I had an interesting idea. A counter-intuitive and over-arching idea on where to target my promotions. Essentially I see two kinds of pop-ups:

1 – DirectCPV interstitials: You have to provide the visitor what they were looking for, faster, simple and easier, and it HAS to match they site they just surfed into and you popped over

2 – Other Pop-ups: You have to provide the user something they want MORE than what they are currently doing.

The Pivotal a-ha moment I had was that instead of giving the user what they are looking for in a pop-up, I have to acknowledge that people are often doing something they DONT WANT to be doing. My task is to figure out where these unsavory tasks are, what they are doing that they don’t want to do, what they would rather be doing, and offer it to them. It isn’t easy – I have a feeling this idea is a keeper, though.

On Stardate -313702.84 (AKA, Tuesday) I launched a campaign promoting mobile downloads, with five offers rotating through just one web site on LeadImpact and Mediatraffic – I’m trying to implement the idea I described above. So far there’s one conversion in there, so not much to say since traffic started running late yesterday. I still think the concept is a winner – I just have to prove it.

Actually, there is something to say – MediaTraffic has sent a shit ton more traffic than LeadImpact, but no conversions, really. I don’t understand – their pop-ups are huge when compared.

Gamevance started popping immediately after installation. Something I do is I make sure I click on the pop-ups. Why? Because I figure if they see me click on the pop-ups, they’ll probably send me more – this may be my imagination, though. That’s how I would design the algorithm – show more to those who like it.

I have yet to see a DirectCPV ad. The other networks are almost flooding me.

I also tried running a “Category” campaign on MediaTraffic. I stopped it after a couple of hours and a thousand pops – The price is much lower, $0.007 a pop instead of $0.015 (less than half). The traffic quality, however, was rock-bottom suck-ass. Their “classification” was ass-ward-back – I looked at the referrers, and while there wasn’t any obvious mischief, the pops came from things like parked pages, landers of other affiliate offers, and generally random and completely irrelevant shit.

The machine is pretty hard to use… The pop ups are fairly regular.

There was one very memorable pop-up: There’s an offer and landing page that I wanted to work on and I noticed a pop-up just like I had envisioned. This is no mere coincidence. I didn’t “accidentally” install all this crap on a laptop and surfed randomly. I went to a site where I thought a pop-up like that would be and set Firefox to refresh the page every two minutes, so I did find it. I analyzed it…

Then I realized it actually had a small protection from other affiliates. Protection doesn’t work against a determined ass like me, and it probably isn’t meant to, but it likely trips up 80% of everyone else – I hope I’m not blowing the lid on anyone here – I’m not very good with JavaScript – Actually, I suck at it. Still, I can understand some things. This is a javascript that writes to the page a series of some 30 internet marketing related URLs – Including shoemoney.com, tracking202.com, leadimpact.com, etc – The super-affiliate twins blog isn’t there – there’s plenty of others, including Jonathanvolk.com. Anyways, before it writes the links into a particular <div> section, it styles them with a specific CSS that has the font size at 1px, one pixel, and color is white on white. They’re invisible and they don’t really show up if you look at the page code (you can see the Javascript or you can see the Div it if you snag the page with something like ScrapBook). Anyways – I knew some years back there was a way to figure out if a site had visited other sites by checking with Javascript the color of links – this is similar, except this script is checking the height of the letters that make up each of the links on the <div>, if one matches “1px”, it sends the browser an <IMG> tag as part of the page, that IMG tag points to a PHP file that logs the site it matched with a simple URL Variable, and I assume it logs the IP, plus it sets a cookie with a 2-year expiration (which it checks for at the start). Then it redirects the browser to a landing page that has the same theme and functionality of the “real” landing page, but it is significantly different – Likely a very-poorly converting copy of the landing page.

Now I have to cross the Neutral Zone…

Stardate -313708.34

Here’s my handy list of the software that goes with each network

Leadimpact = Hotbar
TrafficVance = Gamevance
MediaTraffic = Vombashots
DirectCPV = Loudmo.com – Gamebound

Stardate -313708.40

<Sarcasm warning> Oh… But how refreshing this is… I start digging with Robtex.com at the sever of a pop-up and it turns out the server is located in Turkey, registered in Turkey, and also does e-mail for just two other domains… Both of those other domains are in German… Here’s a Google translation snippet of the homepage:

“The CC is a relaxed, friendly association of people with pedophilic inclinations and non-pedophile people of any race. Anyone who wants to deal with no attacks or accusations with the theme, is hereby cordially invited to visit our homepage and our public discussion forum and to participate in the discussions.”

What… the.. fuck…

Computer, end entry.

ere’s my handy list of the software that goes with each network

Leadimpact = Hotbar
TrafficVance = Gamevance
MediaTraffic = Vombashots
DirectCPV = Loudmo.com – Gamebound