MAD Monday

Posted by on Oct 3, 2011 in Mad Monday

I had breakfast with some former colleagues of mine yesterday morning. The food was good (Lola in Seattle rocks!) and the company was even better. When we started discussing the interesting results I am seeing with my testing/research on ad networks, the husband of one of my former colleagues asked me a very simple question:

“What do you expect the ad networks to do?”

“Protect the consumer” I replied

“Yes, that’s fine. But how do you expect them to do that? Exactly how do you want them to protect the consumer?”

I did have to take a few seconds to think about this. Instead of going into a long story of what could be done, I wondered how I could answer with a single actionable sentence. What could the ad networks do that would contribute significantly to protecting the consumer?

“The ad networks must monitor the landing pages of the advertisers that they are sending consumers to”

Enter today’s MAD Monday.

Search for “cursor mania” on and scroll down to the advertisements at the bottom:


A big thumbs up to Amazon here for they are one of the very few networks I have encountered which allow you to report an ad directly to them, note the dropdown next to “With which advertisement did you find a problem?”

Regardless of their reporting mechanism though, one can still be exposed to very bad things from the advertisers on My comments in the report to Amazon summarize today’s MAD Monday. Essentially:

– The first advertiser (Cursor.Mania) distributes a binary from their landing page which has been recognized by 19 virus scanners as malicious.

– The binary in question has been digitally signed by ‘Mindspark Interactive Network’.

– The report from VirusTotal is available here:

Given what almost two dozen virus scanners have to say about the binary being distributed from this advertiser’s landing page, I thought it a little deceptive that they have emphasized “No Spyware. No Adware. Just fun!”



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