eBays #1 affiliate gets 5 months in federal prison

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Shawn Hogan was sentenced to 5 months federal prison.

Shawn Hogan Sentenced In eBay Affiliate Marketing Scam - Business Insider

-g
#affiliate #ebays #months
  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    I was wondering how that case was coming along. Pretty light sentence for $28M fraud.
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    • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
      Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

      I was wondering how that case was coming along. Pretty light sentence for $28M fraud.
      That's what I thought. I'd serve 5 months for 28M too.
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    • Profile picture of the author Saintsfan40
      Slap on the wrist for this no good dirt bag. Should have gotten much more time than he was given. It makes you feel bad for the majority affiliates working their butts off trying to make a living.

      Don't worry, I'm sure he'll receive special treatment in prison and will be right back finding other ways to scam again when he's released in November.
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      • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
        Originally Posted by Saintsfan40 View Post

        Slap on the wrist for this no good dirt bag. Should have gotten much more time than he was given. It makes you feel bad for the majority affiliates working their butts off trying to make a living.

        Don't worry, I'm sure he'll receive special treatment in prison and will be right back finding other ways to scam again when he's released in November.
        Totally agree with you on the first part. A lot of affiliates out there playing by the rules, working hard to make a living.

        On the second point, he probably won't receive much special treatment in prison. Defrauding a large corporation out of that much money will probably earn him a little respect. I remember hearing that's what happened to Bernie Madoff.
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    • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
      Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

      I was wondering how that case was coming along. Pretty light sentence for $28M fraud.
      It's a plea deal....some lawyer wanted to burnish his prosecution bonafieds, so he offered the man something he couldn't refuse....which after 5 years of fighting, and millions of dollars spent on lawyers, you probably would have taken too.

      Sounds to me more like victory by exhaustion than anything. But then again, that seems to be how the legal system works anymore.
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    Was he ordered to pay restitution? How long is the probation after the sentence?
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    • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
      Originally Posted by writeaway View Post

      Was he ordered to pay restitution? How long is the probation after the sentence?
      The article said:

      - 25k fine
      - 3 years probation (I think)
      - settled a civil suit with eBay

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      • Profile picture of the author heavysm
        Originally Posted by GarrieWilson View Post

        The article said:

        - 25k fine
        - 3 years probation (I think)
        - settled a civil suit with eBay

        -g
        $25k fine for $28M??

        That's less than a slap on the wrists lol
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        • Profile picture of the author Cool Hand Luke
          Originally Posted by heavysm View Post

          $25k fine for $28M??

          That's less than a slap on the wrists lol
          You know he doesn't get to keep the money, right? eBay sued him for ALL of it. Even though they settled for what's undoubtedly less than everything they paid him, his assets are still frozen and will undoubtedly end up in the FBI's coffers for good.
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          • Profile picture of the author GforceSage
            Originally Posted by Cool Hand Luke View Post

            You know he doesn't get to keep the money, right? eBay sued him for ALL of it. Even though they settled for what's undoubtedly less than everything they paid him, his assets are still frozen and will undoubtedly end up in the FBI's coffers for good.

            We don't know how much of that is hidden by friends and family, in the Cayman Islands, or buried in coffee cans. When you start to feel heat, you think about worse case scenarios and make sure you don't get wiped out.
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            • Profile picture of the author Cool Hand Luke
              Originally Posted by GforceSage View Post

              We don't know how much of that is hidden by friends and family, in the Cayman Islands, or buried in coffee cans. When you start to feel heat, you think about worse case scenarios and make sure you don't get wiped out.
              Lol he wasn't that good. Hogan was already legitimately wealthy from other ventures (namely his forums which have been generating several million dollars a year in LEGITIMATE adsense revenue for several years now) and they announced a while back that ALL of his assets were frozen and accounted for due to this case.

              No matter what's hidden in coffee cans or relative's mattresses, eBay and Uncle Sam are gonna get everything he took from eBay plus interest.
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              • Profile picture of the author research
                Originally Posted by Cool Hand Luke View Post

                Lol he wasn't that good. Hogan was already legitimately wealthy from other ventures (namely his forums which have been generating several million dollars a year in LEGITIMATE adsense revenue for several years now) and they announced a while back that ALL of his assets were frozen and accounted for due to this case.

                No matter what's hidden in coffee cans or relative's mattresses, eBay and Uncle Sam are gonna get everything he took from eBay plus interest.
                And I was thinking that eBay was reclaiming their losses by jacking up user fees of those that are still using FEEBAY.
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          • Profile picture of the author heavysm
            Originally Posted by Cool Hand Luke View Post

            You know he doesn't get to keep the money, right? eBay sued him for ALL of it. Even though they settled for what's undoubtedly less than everything they paid him, his assets are still frozen and will undoubtedly end up in the FBI's coffers for good.
            Being that this is America I was guessing $28M in fraud money collected so sued for 4 - 10x that amount, assets frozen, plus 10+ year sentence.

            Oh no, never mind I guess not :p
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Blades
    Had a junkie gotten caught in possession of drugs, they would have gotten 1-8 years in Prison. Steal $28 million and get probation or 5 months.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shane12
    Sounds like a fair trade to me, though I don't understand why people don't quit while they're ahead or at least go somewhere the feds can't touch them.
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  • Profile picture of the author HunterST
    That was an interesting case.
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    • Profile picture of the author Geeked Labs
      Seems fair to me for a 1st offense
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  • Profile picture of the author enfield
    How does the "seeding" work exactly?
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    • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
      Originally Posted by enfield View Post

      How does the "seeding" work exactly?
      I don't know the technical stuff, but from what I've read on other articles, he created a program for website owners that'd show them where their visitors are coming from. That program installed "cookies" onto their computers, just like clicking on an eBay affiliate link does. So if any of those people went to eBay to buy something, he'd get the commission for it, even though the person doing the buying never actually clicked on a legit affiliate link.

      What's interesting is the FBI has been working with eBay since about 2006 to catch affiliates doing this sort of thing. Ebay's second largest affiliate also got swept up in the sting and I think he'll be sentenced later this summer.
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      • Profile picture of the author derekwong28
        This is what he has to say

        https://forums.digitalpoint.com/thre...#post-18951368

        "Anyway, long story short is that this has been going on since 2007, so this ends everything (including civil case with eBay).

        I've spent millions in legal fees over the last 7 years, and taking both the criminal and civil stuff to trial would have cost many millions more. So I look at it this way... I'm not sure we would have lost the case had it gone to trial, but there's no guarantee. It's cheaper to settle/take a plea deal, and not have to worry about something crazy happening in a trial where a jury feels like they are doing you a "favor" and fine you $10M restitution and put you in prison for 10 years.

        When the option presents itself to do a global settlement that ends the criminal and civil suit, spend a few months at prison camp, well... it's something you will seriously consider regardless if you think you could have prevailed in the civil or criminal suits. After 7 years neither had even gone to trial yet and would have cost many millions of dollars to defend (so in a best case scenario, you are out millions of dollars to defend something, and probably spend another 5 years of your life dealing with the legal system). Just want to get all this dumb stuff over with really."
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
    Wow $28 million for just 5 months in jail... I'll take that deal...

    (Jking)
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  • Profile picture of the author dbong
    So is 5 months the final verdict? That's it? The max sentence was 20 years and it dropped all the way to 5 months? How much does his lawyer make....
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  • Profile picture of the author RonGold
    He'll be back out and making millions off of reputable scams in about 6 months.

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  • Profile picture of the author Katie Rich
    Interesting reading the link post. I'm sure there is a lesson in there somwhere, but as I haven't made $28 million I don't know what it is ..!
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  • Profile picture of the author ecoverartist
    This is the first I've heard of it, although I don't pay much attention to eBay affiliates. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't setting cookies part of the deal? Otherwise how would one get credited for a sale? Or do they mean he set cookies without people's permission?
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by ecoverartist View Post

      This is the first I've heard of it, although I don't pay much attention to eBay affiliates. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't setting cookies part of the deal? Otherwise how would one get credited for a sale? Or do they mean he set cookies without people's permission?
      He stuffed cookies. He did nothing to actually earn the referral. Just stuffed hundreds of thousands cookies on unsuspecting visitors.
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  • They should cut his account if that is not they want and it would have been the end of it. The close tons of ebay accounts why not shut his off since they knew.
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  • Profile picture of the author garyv
    He was also the number 2 top adsense earner for 2013. So I'm sure that his troubles are not over yet.

    Top Highest Google Adsense earners in the world
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    • Profile picture of the author derekwong28
      Originally Posted by garyv View Post

      He was also the number 2 top adsense earner for 2013. So I'm sure that his troubles are not over yet.

      Top Highest Google Adsense earners in the world
      That estimate was based on Alexa Rank. Webmasters are much more likely to install the Alexa toolbar than other users. Therefore the Alexa rank of Webmasters' forums are likely to be highly overestimated.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Blades
    No matter what's hidden in coffee cans or relative's mattresses, eBay and Uncle Sam are gonna get everything he took from eBay plus interest.
    I doubt it... Uncle Sam only took 25k in fines from him, and Ebay already settled. Ebay didn't lose any money, they made money from him, so they are just trying to save face. I guarantee you the settlement is no where near what he stole, or he would have took it to trial.

    Here in the U.S, the laws are made to favor those who steal the most. Had he stole a pair of Jordans from the mall, he would have did more than 5 months
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Alex Blades View Post

      Ebay didn't lose any money, they made money from him
      How is it Ebay made money from a cookie stuffer? They already got the cookied traffic on their own ... only he got credit for the referral even though he was not the referrer. So Ebay lost the money they paid in his commission that he had not earned.

      I'm sure Ebay is content with the settlement, but he was stealing from Ebay, not bringing them the traffic that they were paying him for.
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      • Profile picture of the author seasoned
        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

        How is it Ebay made money from a cookie stuffer? They already got the cookied traffic on their own ... only he got credit for the referral even though he was not the referrer. So Ebay lost the money they paid in his commission that he had not earned.

        I'm sure Ebay is content with the settlement, but he was stealing from Ebay, not bringing them the traffic that they were paying him for.
        Yeah, some do not understand this, but it is SIMPLE!!!!!!!!! The idea is SUPPOSED to be that a person PRESELLS a person on an item, they click through(SETTING THE COOKIE), and somehow don't buy.

        The cookie is there so the affiliate, HAVING PRESOLD, gets credit for a later DIRECT sale! The buyer either types ebay.com to go there directly, or click on the affiliates page later.

        What "digital point" did was TRANSPARENTLY stuff the cookies! The visitor never knew! If another affiliate made the sale, they would generally get the credit.

        If EBAY advertised their site, and got a visitor with a stuffed cookie, THEY should get 100% credit for the sale, but that affiliate that NEVER presold gets credit, because of the cookie.

        So prestuffing the cookie is a kind of THEFT.

        Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author garyv
      Originally Posted by Alex Blades View Post

      Ebay didn't lose any money, they made money from him, so they are just trying to save face.

      They definitely didn't make money from him. If he were sending this traffic to ebay, then there'd be no reason to cookie stuff.

      No I've been a member of his forum for over a decade, and I can remember a lot of people over there cookie stuffing. I can specifically remember having an account banned over there for even bringing it up. They were stuffing clickbank cookies over there for a while as well.
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by Alex Blades View Post

      Ebay didn't lose any money, they made money from him, so they are just trying to save face. I guarantee you the settlement is no where near what he stole, or he would have took it to trial.
      I guess you don't understand about cookie stuffing!

      The way an affiliate system is SUPPOSED to work is the affiliate shows something to LEGITIMATELY entice the user to click. The *******USER******* clicks to show they are enticed, and the vendor sends a cookie to the computer tomake things simpler, and as a service to the affiliate. IF, within a certain span of time, in some circumstance,that USER *****GOES BACK***** to the site, the affiliate gets credit. The vendor pays them for THEIR enticement to visit the site. It is a kind of advertising payment.

      EBAY GETS A CUSTOMER they may not have gotten otherwise!

      The way COOKIE stuffing works is SOMETHING gets the browser to point to a given site. That site then tells the browser to visit several vendor sites, WITHOUT the user knowing! The sites set the cookies AS IF the user visited. If SOMETHING visits to site to do a given action, the "affiliate" gets credit. It is a SCAM paid for NOTHING! That second action could have been the user going directly to the site.

      EBAY GOT A CUSTOMER VIA A THIRD PARTY! They WOULD have been paid if they used THEIR affiliate link.

      Here in the U.S, the laws are made to favor those who steal the most. Had he stole a pair of Jordans from the mall, he would have did more than 5 months
      I wish I could disagree there.

      Steve
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      • Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

        I guess you don't understand about cookie stuffing!

        The way an affiliate system is SUPPOSED to work is the affiliate shows something to LEGITIMATELY entice the user to click. The *******USER******* clicks to show they are enticed, and the vendor sends a cookie to the computer tomake things simpler, and as a service to the affiliate. IF, within a certain span of time, in some circumstance,that USER *****GOES BACK***** to the site, the affiliate gets credit. The vendor pays them for THEIR enticement to visit the site. It is a kind of advertising payment.

        EBAY GETS A CUSTOMER they may not have gotten otherwise!

        The way COOKIE stuffing works is SOMETHING gets the browser to point to a given site. That site then tells the browser to visit several vendor sites, WITHOUT the user knowing! The sites set the cookies AS IF the user visited. If SOMETHING visits to site to do a given action, the "affiliate" gets credit. It is a SCAM paid for NOTHING! That second action could have been the user going directly to the site.

        EBAY GOT A CUSTOMER VIA A THIRD PARTY! They WOULD have been paid if they used THEIR affiliate link.



        I wish I could disagree there.

        Steve
        Best way to steal billions is by writing laws then you get to steal legally! Thats what they do and lets us little guys argue the little stuff that's not important to them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
      Originally Posted by Alex Blades View Post

      I doubt it... Uncle Sam only took 25k in fines from him, and Ebay already settled. Ebay didn't lose any money, they made money from him, so they are just trying to save face. I guarantee you the settlement is no where near what he stole, or he would have took it to trial.

      Here in the U.S, the laws are made to favor those who steal the most. Had he stole a pair of Jordans from the mall, he would have did more than 5 months
      It all depends on how the affiliate program itself worked...if EBAY was paying per visit (more than likely) instead of per sale (which would be damned near impossible for them to implement), it probably did cost them money.

      In a per visit, EBAY pays when you merely visit the site...and a per sale setup, EBAY pays when you win an auction, or purchase a 'buy now' item.

      If cookies were being stuffed in a per visit program, no one had to visit the site for the affiliate to get paid, which is why they claimed it was fraud.

      Hope that clears things up a little.
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      • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
        Originally Posted by Floyd Fisher View Post

        It all depends on how the affiliate program itself worked...if EBAY was paying per visit (more than likely) instead of per sale (which would be damned near impossible for them to implement), it probably did cost them money.

        In a per visit, EBAY pays when you merely visit the site...and a per sale setup, EBAY pays when you win an auction, or purchase a 'buy now' item.

        If cookies were being stuffed in a per visit program, no one had to visit the site for the affiliate to get paid, which is why they claimed it was fraud.

        Hope that clears things up a little.
        Affiliates earned when someone won an auction or used buy now. Which is easy to implement.

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        • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
          Originally Posted by GarrieWilson View Post

          Affiliates earned when someone won an auction or used buy now. Which is easy to implement.

          -g
          That is how they may be doing it now....how were they doing it back when this originally happened (2006-2009) is the real question.
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  • Profile picture of the author ErinWalsh
    Huh, learn something new every day. I hadn't heard of cookie stuffing before today, and I appreciate the run down on what it is/does.

    Was it happening because of people downloading a toolbar? Did I read that right?
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  • Profile picture of the author teepee
    So he gets 5 months for making 28 millions through fraud?

    How many people could live with that sentence?
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  • Profile picture of the author WalkingCarpet
    Banned
    Bound to get a lots of requests to pick up the soap in the showers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Monsterd
    Yea I would do 5 months for 28MIL However, I'm sure his restitution will make him a slave the rest of his life!

    Anybody wonder why EPN has been making so many changes and strick the past few years? For every Maddof like this bozo is a thousand smaller guys eBay doesnt have the time, resources or make financial sense to go after....
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    • Profile picture of the author Geraldm
      The article also mentioned he was No. 2 among Google's AdSense partners in 2013.....
      I wonder if Google has started scrutinising the click-through's generated from his sites?
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