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Shawn Hogan - CEO of DigitalPoint Solutions sentenced to Federal Prison

Located in Domain Industry News, started by Eric Lyon, May 4, 2014

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  1. Found this article a pretty interesting read today. I think it definitely qualifies as industry news since Digital Point Forums also has a small hold on domain marketplace selling.

    READ MORE: http://www.businessinsider.in/eBays...ederal-Prison/articleshow/34511382.cms#!HtEnR
     
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  2. iowadawg

    iowadawg Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    And a large hold on the scammers and spammers.
    Could not have happened to a worse forum owner.
     
  3. Faithfull

    Faithfull Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Small hold is an understatement... lots of business going on at their forums.

    This is a huge case, and a very interesting read indeed.

    Lack of trust of other big parties could mean less ad revenue and the need for more paid accounts.

    Let's see how this develops, and what the concequences will be for DP in the long run.
     
  4. Shawn replied publicly on DP when this topic was brought up over there. Below is his quoted statement to DP members:

     
  5. JB Lions

    JB Lions Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    People actually pay for accounts there? Haven't logged in there in years. Was always overrun with spam.
     
  6. -EM-

    -EM- Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I thought the ebay case was closed already...
     
  7. johname

    johname Planet Futbol VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Well That's the way the cookies crumbles
     
  8. enlytend

    enlytend Top Contributor VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I was surprised to hear about the sentencing also - the story broke a couple of years ago.

    Whether anyone at eBay knew what was going on or not, that's no excuse. I don't think anyone who was a honest ebay affiliate around the same time (and essentially had some of their commissions stolen) is shedding any tears.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  9. More case details in a 2010 article:

    Read More Here: http://www.revenews.com/affiliate-marketing/affiliates-indicted-for-cookie-stuffing/

    Shawn Hogan's blog post about the events in 2010:
    Read more here: http://www.shawnhogan.com/2010/08/w...rism-and-meg-whitman-have-in-common-ebay.html

    3 pages of very detailed accounts from 2013:
    Read More Here: http://www.businessinsider.com/ebay-the-fbi-shawn-hogan-and-brian-dunning-2013-4?page=1#!ItsHU
     
  10. mhdoc

    mhdoc Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    For a while there was an "opportunity" to improve your sites search engine rankings by adding some code they provided to your site(s). It would randomly place links to other participants in the program on the bottom of your pages. It was presented as a free advertising program.

    There was even a fund raising program where people could make contributions to a fund to pay for the servers and bandwidth which powered the system :)
     
  11. HeyNow

    HeyNow Member

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    In my opinion, good riddance to Hogan. Sounds like he got off easy with only 5 months. At least his case played itself out. Hope he gets reamed in prison. Also, his quote in this thread mentions a jury. Well, a "bench trial" was probably also an option, where the judge decides guilt or innocence, not a jury. In my experience, defendants expect a better outcome from a stupid jury than a smart judge.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2014
  12. DomainAgents

    DomainAgents VIP Member DomainAgents VIP

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    Cookie stuffing was (and probably still is to an extent) a big issue for forums back in the day.

    Basically users or spammers would place small 1x1 images in their forum posts which would add an Amazon or eBay cookie to your system and the next time you bought something there, they would get credit for it.
     
  13. Weber

    Weber Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    So, were all visitors of digitalpoint getting ebay cookies?
    Hard to believe a niche wizard alone would generate those kinds of earnings.

    Also, being a nation of laws that we preport to be, does a federal law actually exist that states that cookie stuffing is illegal?
     
  14. alistair80

    alistair80 Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    are you guys suggesting whatever big companies like ebay etc do...is all legal and clean? lol
     
  15. enlytend

    enlytend Top Contributor VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger ★★★★★★★★★★

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    DP and probably any other sites he had.

    There are no specific laws against it (I think this case was prosecuted as wire fraud? embezzlement?) - but personally much as I hate sleazy affiliates, I wouldn't want the government attempting to regulate an industry they know nothing about.
     
  16. Dave_Z

    Dave_Z Electrifying Guy VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Maybe not exactly cookie stuffing is illegal, though Hogan's cookie-stuffing action was argued as essentially wire fraud.
     
  17. joshny

    joshny Established Member

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    defrauds ebay for 28 million, pays a 25,000$ fine

    PocketChange lol
     
  18. Ronald Regging

    Ronald Regging Ex-President VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I don't think there was anything inherently fraudulent about his actions. Sites are allowed to set cookies and he did promote eBay through his forum for selling domains, etc. I'm kind of curious to see how many of these "fraudulent" referrals had purchased a domain from eBay...
     
  19. JB Lions

    JB Lions Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    You don't think fraud is fraudulent? Most people, ebay, the courts etc. would disagree with you. Let me give an example domainers would understand.

    Let's say this morning you visited Shane's site, saw some auction that was ending today at GoDaddy, clicked thru setting a cookie. Auction wasn't ending for another 3 hours. That person came to Namepros to read some threads. Let's say Namepros was setting GoDaddy cookies on people's computers by them merely visiting the site. Later that day that person bids and wins the auction. Namepros gets credit, not the actual referrer Shane. That's fraud.

    Merchants want you to set cookies with a click, not cookie stuffing or forced clicks.
     
  20. HeyNow

    HeyNow Member

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    Holy cow.
     
  21. namey

    namey Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I wish we knew out of that $28 million how much they paid back to eBay.
     
  22. Ronald Regging

    Ronald Regging Ex-President VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    That sounds like a flaw or limitation of the system, not fraud. DP set cookies on people's computers who visited that site. There is nothing inherently fraudulent about that. Sites set cookies all the time. You have the option to block cookies, or to view/delete them if you don't want them. Just because one site sets a cookie, technically, doesn't mean it has a claim to anything. If one cookie can be overwritten by another cookie, than that just shows that using cookies is an ineffective method of referral tracking. Someone designed a shoddy system and then wants to sue when someone else discovers it's flaws? And we accuse the guy of fraud? Maybe those affiliates who didn't get paid should be suing Ebay for gross negligence, since their entire method of tracking sales is completely flawed.
     
  23. JB Lions

    JB Lions Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Sounds like you didn't even read the article. Accused of fraud? They plead guilty to it. They admitted it. Hence, the prison time. You're disagreeing with them at this point.

    "According to the FBI's account of its interrogation of Dunning, he and Hogan — while playing "World of Warcraft" — had discussed "techniques for masking activity that could be labeled as being outside the Affiliate Program's terms of service."

    I guess you see nothing fraudulent in that either?

    "Sites set cookies all the time"

    Right, which has what to do with this? This is a case of cookie stuffing.

    It wasn't just DP, goes to you not reading. It was the widget that was distributed to many other blogs - http://www.businessinsider.com/ebay-the-fbi-shawn-hogan-and-brian-dunning-2013-4?page=1
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
  24. DU

    DU Secret Santa VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    And you wonder why people still use snapnames? Holy Cow is right.
     
  25. enlytend

    enlytend Top Contributor VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger ★★★★★★★★★★

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    FYI, that's how affiliate marketing works. Some merchants give partial credit for the entire click trail from first visit to purchase, but still the visitor has to KNOWINGLY click through to the merchant's site.

    That's BS. Of course you "can", but who does that?
     

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