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I came across the following ad:

enter image description here

It's in Dutch, and the title seems to be a mix of autogenerated words to probably create as much of a clickbait title as possible.

The ad goes to the following page: https://cotqt.com/rtl-late-night-wil-scoren-met-nepnieuws-over-knappe-man.php

It is clearly some fake page and the story also seems to be autogenerated with words that attract attention.

  • There is no follow up advertisement
  • There are no clear links to other products
  • The shop is not even working
  • There is no submit button so it also doesn't seem to try to capture passwords
  • I don't any weird XHR requests going off

Someone is paying 10 cent - 50 cent per click for this.

Is this a phishing site? What can be the goal for this?

  • Welcome to the wonderful world of "information warfare". The battle is not for your password or your machine, but for your mind. – schroeder Mar 5 at 10:07
  • Hi @schroeder, but the site also doesn't seem to show any political message or anything. It's just a very strangely (AI?) written article about a dutch TV show. – Dirk Boer Mar 5 at 10:11
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Without analysing the code on the site, the idea could simply be to see what types of material users will click on. The "endgame" is to create profiles of you or people like you to determine what will interest you enough to click on things.

Is this malicious? It doesn't have to be. It could be for generating commercial advertising profiles or for more nefarious purposes like political/ideological profiling for the new game of cultural influencing.

I created a phishing platform that would send a variety of different types of phishing emails to a user to see what the user would click on. It would figure out what elements of the phish would trigger the user to click. Then it would use that data to compose its own emails. This could be a similar process for ads. The fact that it seems auto-generated would support that hypothesis.

  • Thanks for your interesting answer! But why the fake shop? And the fake product page? Why not just a site that looks like a newspage if you want to build up profiles? – Dirk Boer Mar 5 at 10:24
  • Why invest in a full infrastructure when the content itself is auto-generated? You want clicks at the point of initial contact (impressions), not readers (click path). – schroeder Mar 5 at 10:39

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