While Canadian-turned-Australian Dale Begg-Smith is being lauded as Australia’s first gold medallist at the Turin Winter Olympics, attention is turning to how this self-made internet millionaire made his fortune. A story on the front page of The Age this morning reported that his companies “have been linked to controversial methods of internet marketing and advertising known as adware and spyware.”

So what’s wrong with what his company, CPM Media, does? We’ve consulted a couple of experts who agreed with this explanation from an anonymous tipster:

Why does this cool, calm, multi-millionaire brush off his – obviously very successful – business as something he won’t be focusing on in future? Owner of CPM Media, a company that markets internet advertising, a closer look will reveal what he sells to the masses… and how.

Their marketing programs redirect the unwitting internet surfer to sites hosted on foreign soil. No probs there except when the sites initiate an automatic download of CPM media’s ADWARE/SPYWARE program “2nd Thought” directly onto the surfer’s computer. This pain in the arse program is capable of bypassing personal firewalls as well as browser-download disable features.

These are not opt-in programs. They are Malware (malicious software).

The program re-writes itself onto the operating system to watch your surfing activity – and suggests products you are interested in. Of course many of these products are porn. The biggest however is ADWARE/SPYWARE removal products.

Business is obviously booming. And why not… infect a million computers then sell a million cures to the infected.

Of course this is not new – all the old porn site operators and marketeers from Vancouver as well as Brisbane and Melbourne have long been into the shady side of the net. All operating with impunity. The only thing these guys fear is the tax man… and publicity.

Just watch how reluctant Dale Begg-Smith is to discuss his business in the media.

Symantec’s website has a warning about Second Thought and one for Free Scratch and Win – another CPM Media product.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.

 

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW