Sham news sites make big bucks from fake views

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Forbes and Business Insider are both well-known news sites. So is forbesbusinessinsider.com a new spin-off?

No. It has nothing to do with either Forbes or Business Insider.

In fact, it’s a site that copies and pastes entire articles from other publishers and reposts them with very slight changes.

There are 350 million registered domain names on the internet. Experts say it’s impossible to count how many are sham news sites.

But the stories have no publication date. There are no contact details for the editorial staff and the site loads slowly due to the large number of ads.

But the audience is fake. Bots are used to give the impression of high traffic, generating very real revenue for the site’s creators.

“We estimate each site is making at least $100,000 [£77,450] a month,” said Vlad Shevtsov, director of investigations at Social Puncher, the firm that exposed a number of fraudulent news sites. The organisation says ad fraud is a million-dollar industry.

Article URL : https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-50432080

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