Over the past decade, the use of “clickbait” ads has become the norm in order to entice viewers to click on the ad and drive traffic to a publisher. Web surfers have grown accustomed to seeing the same types of clickbait ads and sponsored stories like the ones shown below with sensational headlines about curing cancer, stopping aging, improving your sex life and more.
Online advertising spending in the U.S. is on the rise. In the first quarter of 2011 alone, companies that sold online advertising reportedly surpassed $7 billion in revenue.1 Unfortunately, social engineering scams on Facebook also continue to thrive.2 How are the two related? Unsolicited Facebook spam in the form of status updates is actively infiltrating the social networking giant and aimed at tricking users into visiting websites ridden with survey scams and pop-up advertising, as is the case in the following analysis of a real-world example. This trend will continue to degrade the credibility of the online advertising industry and could possibly taint the images of the brands that these spam campaigns are targeting.