Ad network says scammers are impersonating it using cybersquatted domain names
Q Interactive says scammers are duping publishers into signing ad agreements.
Chicago based online advertising company Q Interactive has filed a lawsuit alleging that someone is impersonating it to dupe web site publishers out of advertising revenue.
The unknown perpetrators have used domain names very similar to Q Interactive’s real web address, QInteractive.com, in their scheme.
According to the suit (pdf), the scammers have registered the domain names qinteractiveagency.com, qprivatenetwork.com, and q-interactive.co in order to send email to people and induce them into entering into publisher agreements. The unsuspecting web site publishers think they’re entering into a deal with Q Interactive, even though they aren’t.
The scammers have even created media publication agreements similar to that which Q Interactive uses, including the company’s logo.
Once they get web site publishers to sign up to carry ad inventory, they then fill it with ads from other networks and exchanges. For example, they opened an account with advertising exchange OpenX to place advertising on the duped publishers’ sites.
The unknown defendants then collect this advertising revenue from the exchange but don’t pass it along to the publishers.
The whois records for the domain names used in the scam show Q Interactive’s mailing address. However, the email addresses in whois are made up @yahoo.com addresses.
Q Interactive has already worked with some hosting companies to take down the sites.
However, it has been a game of whac-a-mole, as the scammers just move their domain names to new web hosts.