If you have gone to the SurfSideKick web site over the last few days, a blank page will greet you. As you can see from the screen shot to the right, you are greeted with a blank page. Viewing the source code (bottom right), there is not any type of redirect to another web site. One might assume that SurfSideKick is another adware company to go by the wayside. This is new as SurfSideKick was up and running at least on August 17th when I was capturing videos for Andy Rodriguez’s course in Chicago. When I fired up my SurfSideKick testing computer yesterday, things had changed.
Don’t think that just because their web site is gone that SurfSideKick is gone. They are alive and kicking, but apparently have decided to operate under a different name. It would appear that they are just doing the company name change thing like other adware companies before them. We can all remember the Gator –> Claria –> BehaviorLink –> PersonalWeb. And let’s not forget the 180Solutions –> MetricsDirect –> Zango name chain. So many names. So many corporate identities. How is a person supposed to keep up? But then maybe that is part of the point.
Meet DeluxeCommunications. My pop ups are now brought to me via my personal Deluxe Communications. I do feel special. And they did communicate with me quite frequently during my testing yesterday. The DeluxeCommunications web site looks the same as the now gone SurfSideKick site except for the name change through out. Except for name and domain changes, I saw no difference in the adware behavior. The ads contextually targeted as before, although I did receive more ads than I have in the past. That could just be the number of active advertisers and/or their spends or the web sites I happened to be visiting. The adware still contacted two servers for each ad display. One IP address still has name resolution to surfsidekick.com. The other remains a domain for KeyworldMarketplace. KeywordMarketplace is a subsidiary of Santa Monica Networks (a CPA Network), but alas Santa Monica Networks seems to have disappeared also. And Whois block continues to be used for all the different web properties. So have no fear, SurfSideKick lives on as DeluxeCommunications targeting domains to pop their advertiser’s web sites on for as little as a penny a ‘visitor’ according to the KeywordMarketplace web site. Affiliates are still doing ad buys through them forcing their affiliate tracking code on traffic which is already on the merchant’s web site. All is well in the adware world and for those affiliates who chose to ‘deliver traffic to the merchant’ via third party adware applications