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A Shame With No End

Three years ago I wrote a blog post demonstrating how the International Business Times appeared to be associated with some extremely shady online advertising networks, resulting in International Business Times article links being advertised on places like malware-filled mirrors of The Pirate Bay. The presence of IB Times on a Pirate Bay clone site was particularly ironic as the online news outlet had recently published several articles detailing exactly how terrible the ads on Pirate Bay were.

To be clear: I never found any indication of any malfeasance on IB Times' part. In fact, I think it is much more likely to be the fault of some affiliate marketing firm that did a poor job of tracking its purchases. As such, I contacted IB Times via Twitter to inform them of my findings. I was contacted by a representative of IBT Media, during which I offered (for free) to walk their marketing staff on how to identify the affiliate responsible for the ad placement. IBT declined - instead suddenly switching gears and demanding that I publish a statement from IBT on my site (which I did).

That is where I left things.

Today, I was sent a copy of an excellent piece of investigative journalism from New York Times that has uncovered a sprawling series of extremely shady online storefronts engaging in dropshipping that very much appear to be affiliated with the current ownership of the International Business Times and Newsweek - David Jang, his religion (called "The Community" - nothing creepy about that), his private college Ollivet University and some 140 LLCs registered for the store fronts.

The article is long but very much worth an entire read.