Every wonder what hackers and site pirates do with the traffic they divert from legitimate sites, like the Chinese did when they hijacked 15 percent of all traffic on the Internet for 18 minutes last April?
They sell it, of course.
A Russian-based Web-hacking operation inserts iFrames onto apparently legitimate pages, according to SCMagazine. The iFrames remain invisible even after the mistakenly clicks on a link the iFrames faked.
Rather than go to the site they wanted, browsers go to sites of advertisers, malware providers or anywhere else the Russians want to send them.
The reasons can remain your own, but if you want some of that ill-gotten traffic, head here.
It's a page called BuyWebTrafficStore – a place where, for prices as low as $20, you can buy a defined number of page views or visitors within a specific period.
For the $20 "Test Package," you get the promise of 20,000 unique international visitors in a week.
After your test, $50 will get you 50,000 visitors, $75 gets you 75,000 visitors and so on.
"Prices are $ .005 per visit (20,000 visit minimum) for non-adult traffic" – BuyWebTrafficStore, Jan. 30, 2012.
The site is a lot more like an advertising service bureau than it is like one of those guys hawking suspiciously realistic-looking Rolexes on a street corner or pawn shop.
The point is the same, though: Take something valuable without paying for it, then get someone else to pay you for it because stolen traffic is a lot cheaper and easier to come by than the real thing.
Just remember before you buy that these are stolen, redirected people who have just been lied to about where their browsers are being taken.
They're not going to be happy to see your site or hear your pitch.
So, in case you haven't thought of this already, it's best to pose as your competition or someone else you want to look bad to users.
Or just go into the malware business; redirects are consistently near the top of the list as reliable sources for viruses and malware.
Might as well get in on that market while it still survives.
Any day now the hackage, phishery, poisoned URLs and covert redirects will expand just a tiny percent and become all of the traffic on the Internet, rather than just the overwhelming majority.
Then all you'll be buying from traffic redirectors are hits from the bots other hackers sent out to build or maintain fake network links and bring in more traffic.
All the real people will have given up and dropped off the general interwebs altogether in favor of smartphone apps with narrower capabilities but less chance the user will get Shanghaied every time he or she clicks on anything even vaguely unusual.
Of course, if the traffic is automated by bots, just as the hackery is, the price-per-thousand stolen visits is bound to drop.
So that's good news, eh?