Fight Fraudsters Dead: ScrubKit and Brian McLevis Kill Fraud Pt.2
Do you believe there is such a thing as “gray-hat” techniques, why and why not?
I usually get a kick out of terms such as white hat, gray hat and black hat. They’re just such vague terms.
Gray hat could easily mean that you’re exploiting a well-established website with a link that leads to an offer. A consumer clicking the link and filling out the offer is usually a very legitimate lead. This is where it gets interesting though, because the affiliate is actually providing the advertiser with high-quality leads that are backing out. Chances are though, they’re in violation of the aforementioned websites TOS.
Back in 2006 and prior you would see a lot of this activity. Companies were not as quick to care as much – I mean they made attempts to stop it, but nothing major. Nowadays, Facebook, Craigslist and MySpace are not messing around. They will slap you a C&D so fast and you’d be wise to stop doing what you’re doing if this ever happens.
I’m even going to touch on the dreaded “black hat” phrase because people oftentimes misconstrue blackhat with fraud no matter what. If you’re coining the term blackhat with a method some jerkoff posted on a blackhat community forum that completely attempts to fraud a company outright – ultimately causing the company to lose money – than you’re committing fraud. Not utilizing blackhat methods.
I think that this is where the whole white hat, gray hat and black hat terms get mixed up and incorrectly labeled.
When it all comes down to it, we’re all human and in our heart of hearts, know if what we’re doing is right or not. If you’re out to defraud a company just to make a quick buck then you’re stealing and doing something unethical — so just don’t do it. Instead, spend your time and efforts learning how to make legitimate cash, build up your business and scale it up. It might be a bit tougher just starting out this way as you’re likely going to have to put some of your own money on the line – not to mention putting in the necessary time and hard work to get it going. In the long run though, you can make some money. It’s pretty simple, really.
How do you respond to criticism from some affiliates who see fraud protection as “Snitching”
If you’re defrauding a company then it’s the same thing as going to the bank and trying to rob them for money. When you run into a network that is running Scrubkit, it’s just game over, friend.
And as for it being considered snitching? Seriously?
How about you go get a life and stop trying to rip off people running legitimate businesses? Now there’s an idea for the ages!
When does fraud in your opinion go from an “issue” to “criminal?”
Fraud is an issue and, as much as it pains me to say it, will probably always be an issue. I’m not an attorney and would ultimately have you defer to your own legal counsel in order to answer this question correctly.
In my eyes, if you pay out for fraud, find out the traffic was fraudlent and lose money, then it seems it would become criminal because the affiliate effectively stole from you. There are probably variously different ways to counteract this type of problem. One is to contact the local authorities to file a complaint against the fraudster in question, stating how they defrauded your company etc. etc. They would have an officially recorded complaint for fraud and, trust me, that isn’t something they’re going to want on file.
You could also get legal representation and prosecute the individual for the money they stole from you. I know a lot of companies that have filed police reports against fraudsters and it did really help the situation. Not a lot of people know you can do this, but you can and I strongly encourage it.
Is the FTC’s compliance efforts the right direction? What do you recommend them to look at next?
The FTC is someone who looks out for everyone’s best interest and I think that overall they’re doing a good job. One thing I don’t completely agree with is that they’re not intimate enough with the industry and some of the rules and regulations that they pass are not exactly fair to some companies. I know they have good intentions and in regards to them protecting the general population, they’re doing a pretty good job.
What’s the next step in compliance in 2012?
You’re going to find that Scrubkit is going to become the industry standard for fraud and risk management. Or at least, that’s the goal. And thus far, any goal we have set has been achieved in practically no time at all.
We’ve secured a vast amount of clients and are working with tracking system vendors to be their preferred fraud prevention/risk management system. We have even conversed about white labeling our system so it will act as the network tracking system’s own solution. Scrubkit has a very, very good reputation as evidenced by the loyalty and enthusiasm of our clients. They will tell you that we go over and above what they would expect from the average fraud and risk management company.
We don’t simply provide you with the system and say, “Here you go. Good luck!” Instead, we actually have frequent conversations with our clients about what is going on in the industry in regards to fraud. The comments and feedback we’ve received have been nothing but stellar and our clients are extremely thankful we’re finally helping them manage and control their networks fraudulent traffic.
How hard is it to get setup and integrated with Scrubkit?
We’ve already hashed out the hard part with most of the major tracking system vendors out there so it’s really just a matter of the client providing us with their API key. With that, we can have the client fully operational in about 24 hours. There’s absolutely no management, maintenance, pixel placing in regards to advertisers, adding affiliates, adding offers, performing upkeep of any kind or anything else of the sort. You receive your username and password for your account and we hold a training session using your live data where we point out immediate risk. Only once we make sure you’re 110% comfortable using the system do we hand over the reins to you completely.
We almost never have a client come to us after the tutorial session confused or needing any more hands-on support, but if they do, we’d be happy to offer it!
And don’t misconstrue that with the system not being extremely cutting edge and robust, because Scrubkit is by far the most advanced fraud and risk management system in the entire space. And this claim is coming from our clients – not us. They love it and we love providing it to them.
Whenever we come across networks or advertisers that are using a customer built tracking system, they usually receive API documents that will help their development team get started with us. We have even encountered clients with their own internal fraud systems that, upon seeing what Scrubkit can do, immediately hopped on board with us.
You just have to realize that Scrubkit is the combined effort of a massive amount of clients (a community, really) that all come to us with issues to which we provide solutions. Our solutions not only benefit the client who initially requested it, but also the entirety of our client base. So the more feedback we get from our clients, the stronger and more effective it ultimately makes the system.
What are the next steps for Scrubkit? Does is just stop here?
We’ve really only touched the tip of the iceberg in regard to fraud and risk management. We have extensive plans to reach out to the other areas of the performance marketing industry and provide a variety of other services that will absolutely, positively just blow your mind away. I mean, not that we haven’t already done that in the first place!
I’m going to keep this answer relatively low key because I want to avoid prying eyes in regards to what our plans are for the future. But I can assure you that what we have in store for our clients is going to be frigging amazing!
Who are the creators behind Scrubkit?
I handle the business side of managing Scrubkit. This consists of getting new clients on board, training new clients, supporting existing clients, coming up with new ways to combat fraud, conversing with the existing clients to understand new issues, and making sure we’re getting paid on time. I also bring a lot of the ideas to the team so that they are implemented into the system.
Chris is our lead developer and is the brainchild behind all of the magic code. His duties consist of architecting, programming, database and system administration of Scrubkit. Heck, he even lays down the user interface for the system which is a real rarity nowadays with coders. He’s been a professional coder his whole life and isn’t just some script kiddie. I’d even go so far as to say he’s one of the best coders the industry has ever seen. He’s a machine!
Then there’s Paul, the talented individual that handles business development and seeks out potential clients. He has a thing about him that makes people really like him and he’s not only a great guy in general but is truly an excellent and valuable asset to building out our client base.
We’ve all brought something to the table and the system we’ve built has been delivered to some very reputable clients already. We’ve even had some Fortune 500 companies inquiring with us about becoming their fraud/risk management solution.
Basically, we’re all extremely passionate about combatting and preventing fraud of any and all kinds. And I think this really shines through in regards to the quality and usefulness of Scrubkit as a whole.
Our of all the tracking system vendors who has been the most helpful in providing resources and time?
Hands down, no further questions needed: CAKE.
They’ve thus far been the most instrumental for us with their tailored API’s in order to make Scrubkit work as consistently and smoothly as it does.
Jeff, Dave, Andy, Garth and the whole damn crew over there support us 110% and we truly do appreciate it. We really owe them a great deal in that they’ve truly helped us get off the ground so to speak. Our hats go off to CAKE for their support that they’ve given and we’ll never forget what they’ve done for us.
So consider this an official “Thank you!” to you CAKE for the hard work, dedication and kindness you’ve shown to us thus far. They really are the most innovate, robust and awesome tracking system on the market today – not to mention that they have the best name, hands down!
If you have yet to demo CAKE, I highly, highly suggest that you get in touch with them in order to do so. Just like Scrubkit, CAKE is going to take over the industry with their innovative and comprehensive tracking system. There literally isn’t any other tracking system out there that can deliver as many functions and features combined with their phenomenal customer support. I’ve been in the field for 15 years now and CAKE backs their product with the highest level of support and dedication that I’ve yet seen in a technical company.
What other dreams and passions do you have?
I want to provide for my wonderful and beautiful wife and ensure that she’s taken care of and has every single thing she ever wants and can dream of. I met her 12 years ago and she’s without-a-doubt the love of my life.
We have a beautiful little boy named Max who is now 2 ½ years old and he is also the light of my life. He just brightens up my day, there’s no other way to explain it. Even though he can be a little rascal sometimes, he’s the cutest thing in the world! Anybody that has kids knows exactly what I’m saying here as they literally change your life. And for the better in a very good, positive way.
I ultimately want to pave the way for his education and provide for him the finer things in life whilst also instilling in him the value of hard work and earning what you want through good old fashioned busting your ass.
What is your dream car?
To be completely honest, I have a ’67 Chevy Camaro RS/SS with a 496 big block and Tremec TJO 5-speed with Carbon Fiber Synchro disks planting rubber to the pavement. I am a gear head and wrench on my car myself. It’s truly one of my biggest passions.
The car is absolutely beautiful – not as beautiful as my wife and son Max, but beautiful in a different way!
Rarely do I allow anyone else to touch the car unless it’s absolutely needed (see: emm, wiring – ugghhh). My car gives me a proper outlet and provides me to do something else besides sitting behind a computer all day long. I have burns, cuts, busted and bloody knuckles and perma-grease fingernails, bruises – everything you’d expect to go along with a true passion for wrenching on one’s own car.
If you ever get the chance then head on over to http://mybadasscamaro.com and check out the pictures. It’s won trophies at shows and eyes are super glued to it whenever it’s driving down the road. There’s really nothing better in the world than strapping my little boy Max in the seat and going for a cruise. He absolutely loves the car and calls it the “vroom vroom!” I have about eight hours of dyno tuning time on the car and it was done by Chris at Wichita Dyno. He is most definitely the master at tuning. The numbers on his chassis dyno are a little low compared to others, but the Camaro puts down 499hp and 532ft pounds of torque to the wheels, so it more than makes up for it.
But yeah, I’d say I already have my dream car!
What do you want to say in closing?
Back to the original topic of Scrubkit, if you’re looking for a robust breed of fraud/risk management system then send me an email via business@Scrubkit.com. Or you can just submit the form on the Contact Us page of the Scrubkit site. If you’re at all concerned about pricing, it will just cost you about ~2% of your monthly gross revenue to run our system. We run on a month-to-month contract structure so there’s literally no commitment on your part at all. To date, we have not had a single client cancel and every single one of those clients is operating on the same monthly contract. This just goes to show you how effective and fantastic Scrubkit truly is.
For the measly 2% of your monthly gross revenue, you can effectively secure solid relationships with your advertisers since you’ll essentially be offering them fraud protection for free. This will secure you higher payouts thanks to your quality being superior and will allow you to negotiate much quicker payout terms.
The best part of all though is that it allows you to realize your true and actual revenue throughout the month since you know you won’t be getting hit with hundreds of chargebacks at the end of the month. We’ve had clients tell us countless amounts of times that Scrubkit actually paid for itself ten times over because of the money they saved by not having to pay out for fraud while also allowing them to build extremely solid and beneficial relationships with their network partners and advertisers.
Scrubkit will not only pay for itself but will also help make you a lot more money.
I mean, it’s really just a no-brainer. Scrubkit is the way to go in the fraud and risk management arena. And that’s a fact!