How Stantiko Click-Fraud Bot Butchers CPA's

The Stantinko bot-net, which is distributed across 500,000 computers is butchering marketing CPA’s. The bot-net receiving advertising click-fraud fame in 2012, has been sleeping, but now “new and improved.”
Stantinko uses a computer’s FileTour application as its initial infection vector, uninstalling programs and simultaneously installing the Stantinko bot-net in the background, residing there for years.
How It Works

  1. It installs browsers extensions injecting browsers with ads and subsequently performs click fraud with a script, clicking on those injected ads.
  2. But because the bot-net can be programmed from Europe and Russia, it can also be used to execute other operations such as searches on Google, filling out lead-gen forms, signing up for email newsletters, and brute-force attacks on WordPress/Joomla admin panels, plus other backdoor activities.
  3. It also installs two malicious Windows services, which can reinstall the other if deleted. Successful removal of Stantinko requires both services to be deleted at the same time.
  4. The bot-net differs slightly from most: it’s a modular backdoor which has a loader to execute any executable that its mother ship programs and sends to the infected computers (the Stantinko operators can basically execute any code on those 500,000 machines).
  5. It’s most recent flavor is the Facebook Bot which can: create accounts, add friends, like pages (advertiser pages), and like pictures.

Why It’s Different (+ Dangerous to Advertisers)
Traditional click-fraud malware relies on a series of redirections between several ad networks to launder malicious traffic.
Stantinko, however, has essentially hijacked 500,000 individuals’ computers (looking like a real person), and is incredibly difficult to remove.
Policing Through Attributed Measurement
“Just like crime in New York City…fraud is always going to be there,” said C3 Metrics advertising attribution measurement COO Jeff Greenfield. “but when we see things like 8,000 media touchpoints in a single lead-gen funnel [to get someone to fill in their first name, last name, and email address] we know this is fraud and remove it from receiving attribution credit. But, the advertiser still gets charged by the network, and what rears its head as another tip-off is an out-of whack attributed ROI.”
In the words of AC/DC:

Forget the hearse ’cause I never die

I got nine lives

Stantinko is back in black.

Why Six Seconds + Facebook Could…

Facebook announced that six second video ads would be coming to a Smartphone near you.
This could be the biggest advance in video advertising, and here’s why…
YouTube’s pre-roll was the original video ad platform at scale. YouTube did what was easy: encourage advertisers to take their existing TV creative assets (15’s, 30’s) and simply stick them right into YouTube pre-roll.
Then came “Skip this ad in 4,3,2,1 seconds” because the pain of waiting through ads before cat videos became a little too onerous (also relieving advertisers from paying if consumers wanted to ad-skip).
But, making 15’s and 30’s as the tollbooth for online video was always a square peg in a round hole. Stats like 63% of users hitting the mute button during pre-roll ads started surfacing…revealing the knee jerk consumer rejection towards pre-roll.
The hole was always round, but the peg never changed.
C3 Metrics began to see forward-thinking advertisers create content specifically for online video pre-roll that wasn’t a copy of TV commercials. These savvy advertisers essentially created soundless, 15 second animated gifs to run on YouTube.
They performed like gang-busters.
“The first time we measured pre-roll video ads which were soundless, and looked like animated gifs,” said C3 Metrics advertising attribution measurement COO Jeff Greenfield. “the attribution was about 2x better than normal pre-roll ads. The client hadn’t seen traffic to their product page like this in two years. When the creative asset finally fit the context of the video experience…results broke the dam.”
The Good Excellent
Facebook, finally realized that slapping 15’s and 30’s into video doesn’t work.
At C3 Metrics, we always felt Facebook would create a seven second video commercial standard. We were off by one second.
The impact: force agencies and creatives to create content specifically designed for pre-roll video, specifically designed for a small screen, specifically designed to get across a message faster than the thumb can swipe. Creating the round peg. Creating opportunity for 2x better attributed performance.
The Bad
Often, video on Facebook runs, and by the time the user gets to the video, it’s already run and simply white space (happening more on Instagram). The advertiser is charged. It approaches the viewability crisis of programmatic display to some extent.
But Facebook’s walled garden of third party measurement still remains.
YouTube still runs third party research tags. Amazon soon to follow.
Facebook’s six seconds (for now) has claimed it’s fame.