Facebook ($FB) and Google ($GOOGL) executives are working with digital ad programmers to stop Mike Brauser’s Fluent ($FLNT) from deploying JavaScript redirects within ads on social media platforms, according to a whistleblower whose company, acquired by Brauser, contributed technology for these online scams and was contacted to join their fight.

Fluent LLC, through a multitude of mergers, has been at the center of ad click technology — and fraud — since the dawn of the industry. RewardZoneUSA LLC, its subsidiary, has 117 complaints at the Better Business Bureau and is the subject of many spiteful comments at the Ripoff Report.

The social media giants and digital ad execs have a bi-weekly call to discuss the scourge and have been working to get to the bottom of the chaos caused by Fluent.

Fluent specializes in supplying ads via ad networks. What happens routinely now is that a normal-seeming ad is shown on customer-facing pages; once displayed, it triggers a JavaScript redirect, taking over the page to display another, third-party ad.

A typical JavaScript redirect ending in a screen takeover and an ad being served by a third-party platform would look like the ad below, from the Better Business Bureau’s section dedicated to complaints about RewardZone:


Facebook Director of Product Rob Leathern, charged with managing its ad networks, posted on Twitter, where he identified this whistleblower based on his retweets and the previous article about his relationship with Fluent’s Brauser:

What the industry execs are seeing are people buying fake ads, stealing traffic off the publisher’s sites, and driving readers to these takeovers; the money stop that is profiting from the JavaScript redirect is Fluent. Direct calls to Fluent execs have led nowhere, as they just deny knowledge of what’s happening, but the industry execs plan to dig further, they told the whistleblower.

They contacted the whistleblower to learn what he knows about Fluent’s redirect technology and to better understand the mounting legal cases against Brauser.

RewardZone and Fluent were caught up last year in a case focused around their “lead-generation” websites, how they gather customer data through innocuous customer inquiry forms to add to their uber-database, and sell on to their clients, repeatedly.

Brauser remains the largest personal shareholder in Fluent, even though he cashed out more than $6.5 million since June, as the share price fell from $3 to $2, down from $4 in January.

He resigned this week from being chairman of Red Violet ($RDVT) — formerly known as IDI, formerly known as TLO — the “regulated data” part of the business, when he was named in a wide-ranging SEC stock market manipulation investigation. Red Violet was spun out of Cogint, which was renamed Fluent to now only manage the click ad business.

The SEC accused him of being a member of a South Florida-based insider trading ring — although, this same whistleblower fingers him as the combination’s “wizard,” using Brauser’s own words.


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