Washingtonpost reports that the ubiquitous 'tiny belly' online ad has made $1 billion and counting scheming people to buy useless junk.
In lawsuits filed over the past year, the Federal Trade Commission has alleged that the ads are the leading edge of what amounts to a three-step scheme that has conned millions of people.
Much like a barker outside a carnival tent, "1 Tip" is merely a come-on, a lure to start the process. People who click on the ad are directed to a second site, which looks like a diet or health-news page. The sites go by names such as Consumeronlinetips.com and Weeklyhealthnews.com.
The annoying ads impressions 'runs into "the tens of billions," estimates Steve Wernikoff, a government lawyer who has tracked it. "It’s just a tremendous amount."' Hated by everyone - they're impossible to remove from Google adsense since the 'sender' URL could be any from over a 1000 different ones - they've inspired rants and recap contests, but they never seem to go away. The "white teeth" tips are in the same legue, and both these scams are helped tremendously because they appear (via Google Adsense et al) on legitimate news sites. We're all parasites in symbiosis.
In all of the cases, news sites such as MSNBC and washingtonpost.com appear to be passive hosts of the "flat belly" ads. The ads are "served" to the news sites and thousands of others by ad networks, including those operated by Google and Pulse360, based in New York. The "host" sites, in turn, receive a commission for being part of the network or when their visitors click on one of the network-fed ads.