Daniel Yomtobian: The Rise and Fall of Dubious Ads Traffic Empire

Monday, January 22, 2024

Daniel Yomtobian is a high school dropout and a click-fraud ad entrepreneur in the online advertising industry.

Daniel founded Advertise.com to provide targeted advertisements to businesses, which later established a subsidiary called TrafficMarketplace.

Daniel’s success was tied to allegations of unethical and fraudulent ad tactics that led to fraudulent advertising practices, such as inflating click-through rates(CTR) and click fraud, where bots or humans click on advertisements to generate revenue.

Dubious ads traffic empire- The rise and fall of Daniel Yomtobian Exclusive insights into the dark side of online advertising.
The rise and fall of Daniel Yomtobian’s dark side of online advertising.

In June 2006, Xupiter Inc, a sister company of Internext Media and ABCsearch, which Daniel Yomtobian and his father founded, was accused of using deceptive practices to install adware on users’ computers without their consent. “WebDefender.net led the exposé.

Now, let’s look at Daniel’s timeline and how he got away with it!

Daniel Yomtobian

Daniel Yomtobian has been associated with the online advertising industry for years. He founded Advertise.com in 2001, an online advertising platform that quickly rose to prominence thanks to its unique approach to online advertising.

Daniel Yomtobian is a name associated with the online advertising industry for years

But while Yomtobian’s company was successful for a time, the empire he built ultimately crumbled due to allegations of fraud and other dubious practices.

Let’s go deep and dive through 2001 to 2023; fast forward.

2001: Advertise.com Founded

Daniel Yomtobian was the mastermind behind Advertise.com, a company that offered a fresh alternative to the standard online advertising platforms of its time.

Advertise.com’s innovative approach gave advertisers various options to showcase their products and services, from attention-grabbing pop-ups and pop-unders to other creative ad formats.

This strategy was a game-changer in online advertising, giving businesses more control and flexibility in reaching their target audience.

Research has shown that Advertise.com’s unique approach significantly contributed to the company’s continued success over the years.

To date, Advertise.com is a leading player in the online advertising industry, providing cutting-edge solutions to businesses of all sizes.

2004: Lawsuits Over Deceptive Distribution Tactics

180solutions, an online marketing company that delivers targeted pop-up ads, sued Aztec Marketing and Internext Media, a distributor of 180solutions software and a partner with Aztec Marketing.

The lawsuit alleged that Aztec Marketing did not notify computer users before installing 180solutions’ advertising software on their computers.

The suit also alleged that Internext Media violated 180solutions’ Code of Conduct agreement by allowing Aztec to distribute the software without proper user notifications.

Internext Media CEO Daniel Yomtobian, a partner with Aztec Marketing, was named in the lawsuit.

2007: Advertise.com Grows Rapidly

Advertise.com experienced significant growth in its digital advertising business.

The company’s focus on providing customized solutions for businesses of all sizes helped it stand out in a crowded marketplace. Its commitment to transparency and ethical practices earned it a loyal customer base.

As more and more businesses turned to digital advertising to reach their target audiences, Advertise.com’s revenue grew at an impressive rate.

The company expanded its offerings to include display, mobile, and video ads and invested heavily in research and development to stay ahead of emerging trends and technologies.

2015: Yomedia Shut Down, Investigation into Digital Ad Fraud by Bloomberg

In 2015, Yomedia, another advertising platform founded by Yomtobian, was shut down due to allegations of fraud.

The company had been accused of using fraudulent traffic to generate revenue for its clients. Yomtobian denied the allegations, but the damage had been done, and the company was forced to shut down.

Bloomberg investigated digital ad fraud and revealed that Swedish publishing company Bonnier paid human users to increase traffic to low-quality web pages such as Saveur.tv and WorkingMotherTV.com.

“I’ve found Advertise.com selling every type of worthless traffic I am able to detect,” says Benjamin Edelman, a Harvard Business School professor who researches the digital economy. “And doing so persistently, for months and indeed, years.”

However, SiteScout, an ad firm, blocked the sites for “excessive nonhuman traffic.” Bloomberg traced the traffic back to Daniel Yomtobian, who argued his traffic was legitimate.

I’ve found Advertise.com selling every type of worthless traffic I can detect And doing so persistently for months and years.

Benjamin Edelman – Harvard professor.

Yomtobian also disputes Edelman’s claims that Advertise.com’s traffic is worthless. After all, people sometimes see the tab under and click on them. “There is a huge difference between worthless and low-quality traffic.”

2017: Ad Fraud Involving Yomtobian, Gannett, and Katarina Van Derham

By 2017, Yomtobian supplied traffic to sites owned by the newspaper company Gannett.

BuzzFeed News uncovered ad fraud involving a group of sites run by Katarina Van Derham, who attributed the audience to a “marketing campaign on advertise.com.”

Yomtobian also directed traffic from porn sites to his websites through hidden pop-under windows, which redirected to Yomtobian’s sites.

LosAngelesPost.com and OurNewsToday.com were filled with plagiarized articles from sites such as Lifehacker and CBC News.

In 2017, Yomtobian and his company Boost Software agreed to pay $8.6 million to settle charges brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The charges related to allegations that Boost Software used deceptive ads to trick consumers into buying its products.

The settlement also required Yomtobian to forfeit several high-end vehicles and a mansion in California.

2018 was a relatively quiet year for Yomtobian, with no significant news or developments related to his business activities.

2019: Bonnier cuts ties with Yomtobian

In midsummer 2019, Bonnier decided to sever all ties with Daniel Yomtobian after it hired two leading fraud detection firms, White Ops and IAS, to investigate its traffic partners.

The move was part of Bonnier’s efforts to address ad fraud following the 2015 exposure of Yomtobian’s involvement in fraudulent activities on Bonnier’s sites.

Bonnier’s decision to terminate its relationship with Yomtobian indicates its commitment to rooting out fraudulent practices and upholding ethical standards in its advertising operations.

The move may have also sent a message to other companies that Bonnier is taking a zero-tolerance approach to ad fraud and is prepared to take action against those who engage in fraudulent practices.

However, in 2019, a significant blow was dealt to Yomtobian’s online advertising empire when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged him and his companies with operating a fraudulent ad network.

The FTC alleged that Yomtobian and his companies, including Advertise.com and Zzounds, deceived advertisers by selling them fraudulent traffic, resulting in millions of dollars in losses.

The charges included violations of the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule.

2021: Legal Troubles for Daniel Yomtobian

In 2021, Daniel Yomtobian faced legal issues when he was sued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for allegedly operating a fraudulent scheme that used fake news websites to promote weight-loss products.

The FTC claimed that Yomtobian and his co-defendants used deceptive advertising practices to lure consumers into purchasing weight-loss products, making false and misleading claims about them.

The lawsuit sought to ban Yomtobian and his companies from advertising, marketing, and selling weight-loss products and to obtain monetary damages.

2023: Daniel Yomtobian’s working on his image

Is he turning over a new leaf with his latest venture?

Despite founding investment company Bian Capital in August 2020, there are doubts surrounding the legitimacy of its founding date, raising questions about whether Yomtobian is still engaging in shady practices.

This shell company seems to improve Daniel’s online reputation and produce some articles to make it more difficult for search engines to decide what to rank and what not.

While he’s tried to rehabilitate his image, his past controversies continue to loom, including legal action from the FTC and accusations of fraudulent schemes.

Will Yomtobian shake off his controversial past and succeed in the tech industry?

In a recently published interview, Yomtobian acknowledged his past mistakes and committed to ethical business practices.

He stated that he had taken steps to improve the transparency and accountability of Advertise.com, including hiring third-party auditors to verify the quality and legitimacy of its traffic.

Yomtobian also emphasized the importance of educating the public and the advertising industry about the risks of ad fraud and other unethical practices.

He has participated in industry conferences and events to share his experiences and insights with others in the field.

Despite these efforts, Yomtobian still faces skepticism and criticism from some in the industry and the public. Given his track record, some are skeptical that he can reform his ways.

However, Yomtobian remains focused on improving his company and reputation and believes he can continue to be a positive force in advertising.

Sofia Ayaz
Sofia Ayaz
Sofia Ayaz is a successful entrepreneur, founder of 99Consumer, and a contributor on Newsbreak. She specializes in consumer-focused innovations and has led her company from its inception to a successful acquisition.