Readers of these pages will need no introduction to Jesse Willms, self-proclaimed philanthropist and former purveyor of counterfeit software.
But in the interests of traceability into the continuing insidious nature of the on-line marketplace, here’s a run-through of how to get from Facebook or MSNBC to Jesse Willms’ SwipeAuction (formerly SwipeBids), including a few screen-dumps of the dubious methods employed.
p.s. I could equally well run through the links from any spam I get today to Fox News to BidCactus or whatever. Okay?
(p.s. SwipeAuctions is no more, the SwipeBids domain expires soon and rumours are rife about a possible new auction site. Watch this space.)
MSNBC to Willms
This MSNBC page that Joseph spotted http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39118941/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa/ had a different set of ads when I looked. Indeed, just like this website the ads rotate. What was interesting is that they still went back to Willms’s based websites via fake news websites.
First, there were three ads in the bottom right when I viewed the page. Refreshing the page shoves out two or three. They rotate daily, but tend to stay the same on a given day. The three images are the websites I’ve been taken to…
It’s important to note the similarity between Site 2 & Site 3.
Because they both use the image of the French TV newsreader Mélissa Theuriau!
In the first she’s “Karen Simpson” and in the second she’s “Julia Miller”.
These are affiliate websites of unknown ownership. Take a look at the car “won” by the woman in the advert.
Fake Car Auction
To save you time, this is the car and woman full size.
Now take a close look (it doesn’t need to be very close actually!) at the woman and the car mirror. Does it seem a bit odd? Well it does to me!
Using the TinEye plugin for Firefox allow one to trawl the web for similar images. In this case it comes up trumps!
Because the image is obviously a composite one. This is the TinEye search:
Car Auction Conclusion
Well pretty obviously it says in the image above that the woman “Samantha Warren” from Florida “won” that Honda car in one of Jesse’s “auctions”. (remember these details – they’re important for later)
(p.s. Since being written, these car pictures have been seen on even more fake news websites, all of unknown ownership.)
SwipeAuctions now have pictures on the landing page right next to his bold claim about helping 112+ children worldwide, where people say they “love to play” on the website. See the “Anita P” screenshot from today.
(note from editor and US FTC: you can play a game, like a lottery or any other game of chance; you cannot play an auction! The bold claim of this and many other Bid Auction websites is that it’s part ‘entertainment’, which may be so, but it’s still gambling.)
Facebook to Willms
Three ads were showing on the right of my Facebook page. If you’re on Facebook, then you’ll have seen similar.
The first one was for a tips-laden army-type audio-visual that ends up wanting money to stay slim.
But one showed a woman who’d just won an iPad for £26.75. yep. It was SwipeAuctions. (p.s. these ads later disappeared to be replaced by other bid auctions sites for a time, although they’re now currently almost unseen.)
Honda Car – a co-incidence?
A neat photo from the front page shows a guy, “Pbh201”, mysteriously and co-incidentally (surely) from Florida, again winning a car. The model? Well Honda, of course!
Unfortunately, and for now, TinEye has not pulled out any image duplications. But on past form, who’s to say what might pop up? (p.s. later information has appeared which shows this Honda ‘win’ from various ‘angles’ – more later.)
I’ve edited this post from the original following threats from Jesse Willms legal representative. Currently there is a legal case against CTV for showing these videos on television. Part of the remit is that CTV misrepresented Willms’ businesses and said that 60% were his when they weren’t.
Given that the affilaites’ websites are there to promote businesses and yet are on the whole anonymous, my opinion is that the TV show displayed information in the way that “the common man” would interpret these things. If the common man is very easily confused, then that is a problem but ultimately the person that benefits from deceptive advertising must shoulder some of the responsibility for their contractors’ behaviour, should they not?
Judge for yourself.