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Yesterday, I blogged that Secure Computing had blamed its allegedly misleading marketing practices on its third party affiliate network, ClickBank.

There’s more to say on this, and I plan to have a more extensive writeup over the next two weeks when I get more free time.  But there is great danger in marketers trusting their outreach efforts to third party ad or affiliate networks, without a thorough vetting.  Not only can you find yourself running afoul of the law (as was the case with Secure), you can find yourself advertising through adware, or worse, getting charged for advertising that really didn’t occur.

For example, I was recently testing Zango Search Assistant and got a popup for what appeared to be a legitimate antispam application.  Somewhat surprised, I emailed the marketing department for this company (which shall remain nameless) and mentioned this to them.

Looking at the URL for the popup, one saw the following:

?from=ad&refid=cpaempire&g rpid=&itemid=ban19&user=&sPage=lconsumer2

See that?  The ad was done through CPA Empire, which was confirmed through an email from the company, who has since killed the relationship.

Well well.

According to this press release, CPA Empire is a subsidiary of OptInRealBig, Scott Richter’s company.  You’ll recall that Scott Richter was the spammer who got sued by Microsoft and the New York AG,  and apparently agreed to pay a $7 million fine.

According to one expert, CPA Empire’s director of marketing, Missy Ward has been on record that they (and the rest of Optinrealbig) are clean of all ethics issues…

Alex Eckelberry