February 7th, 2014

Scam Traffic Boosting Website Pays You to Read Guardian
Questions Raised Over Digital Advertising Revenue “Click Fraud”

SwagBucks is a Los Angeles-based “online rewards” website, which allows its 4 million users to make money by earning virtual currency for watching videos, completing surveys or clicking links, then exchanging it for cash. It is a ruse used by other websites to boost their traffic; they offer ‘SwagBucks’ for users who click on their links, boosting performance related advertising revenue. One website that appears on SwagBucks is theGuardian.com. As you can see below, users are being offered the chance to “earn an easy 1 SwagBuck when you watch 2 videos or read articles” on the Guardian website.

Click on the offer and you told you will have “1 SwagBuck awarded when you watch 2 videos or read articles from our trusted partners”. The links from the “trusted partner” go to videos on the Guardian website.

Digital revenue for the Guardian was reported to be up 28.9% to £55.9 million last year. Guido wonders what the Guardian’s advertisers, who pay up depending on how many impressions its website receives, think about its traffic being inflated by users being paid to read its content…

*NB Nobody we contacted from the Guardian admitted having any knowledge of Swagbucks.


78 Comments

  1. 1
    @anusbridger says:

    I wouldn’t read the Gurniad if you paid me. Ooooops..

  2. 2
    He is probably right. says:

  3. 3
    Fbi says:

    I wish to claim a million bucks for not taking part in reading the Guardiam I wamt.real cash

    .

  4. 4
    Blackhat says:

    I hope Google downgrades them to a domain authority of -100

  5. 5
    Basil Fawlty says:

    Sounds a bit like nagging readers to ‘like’ their Facebook page.

  6. 6
    Fixed That For You says:

    “Nobody we contacted from the Guardian admitted having any knowledge.”

  7. 7
    Land of Latte and Honey says:

    It’s ok, UKIP will ensure a plague of locusts and a column of fire.

  8. 8
    Interested Searcher says:

    Why when I search for ‘Lefty mouthpiece for bedwetters’ or ‘Very well paid TV jobs for champagne socialists’ does the Guardian appear at number 1?

  9. 9
    non taxable pikey says:

    No change there then

  10. 10
    C.O.Jones says:

    You can actually buy likes for facebook. They tend to come in packages of 3,000 or 12,000 etc etc. A few different companies offer this service.

  11. 11
    Discerning reader says:

    To read a Polly Toynbee article I would want at least £1000.

  12. 12
    Hello? DWP? Anyone home? says:

    Is he still claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance?

  13. 13
    Jesus, pal of mo says:

    That beardy bloke’s getting the full seven plagues.

  14. 14
    Paniagua V5.1 says:

    Are you listening Teresa? Remove this Panchod salaa’s citizenship and then deport him to Bongo bongo land.

    Only then will I consider voting Tory again.

  15. 15
    Dave and Chris Smith says:

    Listen Plebs, we shall NOT be going to Somerset as due to arse banditry our anuses are not watertight and we might drown in waist-deep water.

  16. 16
    let's make it £2K says:

    Per word.

  17. 17
    Polly Toynbee says:

    You can add a zero to that amount to get one written.

  18. 18
    RomaBob... says:

    We love the Grauniad it is greet.

  19. 19
    The Guardian says:

    We’ve got more t!ts than the Sun.

  20. 20
    Ah! dear says:

    Another scandal breaking

    Has this been photoshopped?

    http://tinyurl.com/q6zzuph

  21. 21
    Theresa May's answering service says:

    Thank you for attempting to engage with Theresa May. We are afraid she’s shopping for shoes at the moment. Please leave a message and she will delete it (unread) when/if she returns.

  22. 22
    ONS says:

    Hmmm. Country flooded under water and immigration, the deliberately got-up London house price bubble about to be more pricked than a young boy in a South London guest house, and the ONS conveniently comes out with ‘six-sigma’ upside beat on UK Trade data, with astonishing shrinking of the trade deficit. Mere coincidence, er, and desperation.

  23. 23
    Bob Crow says:

    I dusnt reed the gardiun beecuz its belo my levul of interleckt.

  24. 24
    Sally Bercow says:

    So annoyed this has been cancelled. I could have been a winner.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-26066153

  25. 25
    rick says:

    I despise the Grauniad for it’s snooty, superior,and blind marxist PC view on every social issue.
    Up to now, the Left and Right of the ruling classes have been perfectly happy with the Graun ……..until spygate. Now it is being attacked from all sides. Coincidence ?

  26. 26
    I can smell Dave's fear says:

    +1

  27. 27
    Only When I Blow says:

  28. 28
    Dirty Digger says:

    Good black ops Guido

    We never do anthing illegal, of course

    LOL

    XXX OOO

  29. 29
    Paniagua V5.1 says:

    How come this wasn’t marked for administration by the modbot?

  30. 30
    Centre Parting says:

    Hope they haven’t left the keys in it……

  31. 31
    Lewis Hamilton says:

    Chuks looks very thoughtful.

  32. 32
    Casual Observer 6 says:

    That’s fine. A good leader has good shoes, and high end wellies for that essential trip to Somerset or decent Brogues for the mean streets of Scotland take time to locate.

    Come on Tories – you know she is the only real choice,. So what is stopping you from getting rid of the balding four eyed chinless wonder who is putting chocolate teapots to shame ?

  33. 33
    C.O.Jones says:

    I thought it was fraudulent to boost your circulation figures, costs of advertising is based on circulation.

  34. 34
    Axe The Telly Tax & Religion & Kill All Eco-loons says:

    They are using his hot air to power the wind tunnel :-)

  35. 35
    Taxpayer says:

    Your reference to article by Laura Perrins

    Excellent – she says from her point of view what we have been saying here for years

    Dave’s policies are completely vacuous

    Ed’s even worse

    They are the Justin Biebers of modern UK politics – to be polite

  36. 36
    Casual Observer 6 says:

    So the next question is, what exactly was the nature of some of that defunct BBC software and is it’s uselessness in any way tied to Guardian site changes ? (I strongly suspect that most of the defunct BBC stuff was tied to developments based around Adobe’s now defunct media platforms – they should have ahead of the curve with HTML5…)

  37. 37
    Lord Gaga says:

    Guido this is just wrong. Swagbucks is little different to services like Taboola and outbrain as used by the telegraph.

  38. 38
    Nu Attack Dog says:

    Will nobody rid of me this troublesome beast?

  39. 39
    Ah! so says:

    What if Schrodinger had had a dog?

  40. 40
    Casual Observer 6 says:

    Chris Smith = Public enema #1 ?

  41. 41
    Displaced Brummie says:

    Great! I’ll sign up now and make my fortune from the Gruaniad.

  42. 42
    Metro Dave says:

    Do they do a latte?

  43. 43
    Casual Observer 6 says:

    Ditto for Twitter followers.

  44. 44
    Sue Denim says:

    Or HTML6. Technology never stands still. No matter how quick you are, you will be out of date before you finish.

  45. 45
    Sue Denim says:

    S**T! HTML7 was announced just as I posted!

  46. 46
    UN Observer says:

    Which service does Murdoch use?

    It there’s a fiddle he will be in on it…

  47. 47
    Sue Denim says:

    I’m thinking of inventing something I am going to call the “wheel”.

  48. 48
    Sue Denim says:

    B******S! Someone has just nicked my idea and called it the “iWheel”.

  49. 49
    Up Yours Delors - 1992 in da house, innit says:

  50. 50
    The Chuka Brothers says:

  51. 51
    Persona non grata says:

    This rancid c*nt is a LibLabCon useful idiot, deployed from time to time to create diversion and sow division. Why else do you think he is never arrested?

  52. 52
    Sir William Waide says:

    Whereas you would earn the equivalent of one-tenth of a penny.

    At least that’s more than a Guardian intern would receive.

  53. 53
    Fido says:

    He’s viewing his reflection in the perspex, arf, arf.

    FREE THE ROVER ONE

  54. 54
    Sir William Waide says:

    Swagbucks? I don’t even like their coffee.

  55. 55
    Persona non grata says:

    where that celebs are paid 500 bucks a time to tweet re Big Brother etc.

  56. 56
    Jeremiah says:

    Impossible! The Sun is the prime source of tits

  57. 57
    Persona non grata says:

    I read.

  58. 58
    Jeremiah says:

    You must be a reader of The Sun, Bob old chap.

  59. 59
    Paniagua V5.1 says:

    He would probably give it a bone.

  60. 60
    Bill Quango MP/5 says:

    Do they pay any corporation tax?

    Swagbucks, I mean. I know the Gruaniad don’t.

  61. 61
    Casual Observer 6 says:

    It is the video tag and Adobe’s withdrawal from the market that make the big difference from online point of view for a broadcaster.

    HTML5 will be around and supported for a while yet as 4 was.

    S’teve J’obs at Apple rang the death knell for Adobe’s media platforms a few years back when he explained why their player was not welcome on iPhone devices. Adobe indicated this when they dropped support for Linux / Android.

    BBC likely hooked as Adobe is a F’rench company and they thought it was a stable platform for media development. A lot has changed in the past few years.

  62. 62
    Blue Peter Goldfish says:

    i, Wheely Bin Bit Coin, scourge of the western world.

  63. 63
    Jeremiah says:

    I thought that there was enough wind generated in the HoC, you could always stick the model in there, but be sure to to make sure its not nicked.

  64. 64
    Bill Quango MP/5 says:

    Chris Grayling: BBC Dramas Are Left-Leaning

    No shit, Sherlock

  65. 65
    Cast Iron Dave says:

    Wellies, what the hell do I need wellies for when there is Photoshop?

  66. 66
    Chris Smith says:

    Remember the parable about the boy with his finger in the Dyke?

    I’m thinking bigger than that, much bigger.

    Replace the finger with a 9′ cock and the Dyke with a mangina. Lovely

  67. 67
    Jeremiah says:

    It depends on how you use the fraud to boost the circulation, special offers only in your glorious, soar away *** or bit what evers, the total circulation of the dead tree press as a whole has been falling for years, maybe they should look at their prices.

  68. 68
    Man from the street says:

    MI5 useful idiot, ignore.

  69. 69
    Jeremiah says:

    You say Dave’s policies are vaccuous, but has Dave really got any policies, he seems to be like one of those desert plants ( I think it is called tumbleweed) blown in whatever direction the wind blows changing one way then changing directions, say what you like about Maggie she was her own woman, which made her stand out.

  70. 70
    Jeremiah says:

    The “i” prefix has been copywrighted by Apple

  71. 71
    Jeremiah says:

    Sky Bingo?

  72. 72
    Jeremiah says:

    Fat chance old lad, plus of course you have to factor in that it is Guardian.com and payment in US$

  73. 73
    JH38492384032949 says:

    ‘Inspecting’? ‘Inspecting’? Like it is put there for your fucking benefit, and somehow needs your approval?

    You do not ‘Inspect’ things you little twat.

    The Queen ‘Inspects’ things. Kim Jong Un ‘Inspects’ things.

    You do not.

  74. 74
    Jim says:

    It’s always good to engage the eco-loons over there too.

    Their puffed up indignation at any suggestion of dissent is hilarious.

    They really do believe we’re all doomed by global warming.

    People living below sea level though, they are asking for it, aren’t they?

  75. 75
    Displaced Brummie says:

    Ah! If they Pay into Paypal, that’d work for me! I’m actually starting to like this idea.

  76. 76
    Jeremiah says:

    Things hide in beards, especially large beards

  77. 77
    broderick crawford says:

    did we all know owen jones writes not only for the Independent but for the “I” as well

    little wonder the paper can barely justify its 20 p purchase price .

  78. 78
    Poor Bloody Taxpayer says:

    I think we ARE all doomed from global warming. Not that I believe we are doomed from AGW itself, but the Eco-loons and their friends in government will end up destroying all manufacturing and business and they will be happy to see us all living in swamps. Somerset is a dummy run.


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