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Spammers Exploit IMDb to Promote Fishy Movie Piracy Sites

By , in imdb Piracy scammers spam , at January 8, 2023

imdbThe Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is one of the oldest online repositories to cement its place in Internet history.

The service actually predates the world wide web and was initially launched as the Usenet group “rec.arts.movies”. Three years later, it moved to the web in the form of the now widely known

Ever since, the site has served multiple generations of video fanatics. Today, it is owned by Amazon and despite the many alternatives that currently exist, millions of people continue to use it regularly.

Piracy Scammers Exploit IMDb

More recently, the site has garnered the attention of a subgroup of Internet users that have also existed for decades: spammers. Some are currently exploiting IMDb’s list feature to generate advertisements for the latest pirated movies and TV shows.

A list posted by one spammer is shown below, but there are many more like it, and new ones continue to show up all the time.

As is often the case, these spammers are not really interested in providing people with access to pirated films. Instead, they promote scammy sites that lure wannabe pirates into signing up for dodgy sites. These services promise the moon but often require credit card details for a free trial.

It’s not hard to imagine why leaving credit card details and personal information with these sites isn’t the best idea. For scammers, on the other hand, such information can be quite profitable.

Piracy Scammers Exploit IMDb

The examples above all use IMDb’s lists feature, which allows users to provide overviews of their favorite content. As external links can be added as well, they can be used to advertise pretty much anything, spam and scams included.

IMDb is not alone; many other sites are plagued by this type of abuse. LinkedIn, for example, has been popular among scammers recently and the same is true for various official European Union websites, which have been trying to tackle the issue following our report a few weeks ago.

Ideal Target

While spammers are typically not very picky, IMDb is actually an ideal target. This type of scheme relies largely on traffic from search engines and results from a movie-related website tend to rank well.

Add in the fact that ‘real’ pirate sites are actively removed and downranked by search engines such as Google, and it’s not hard to see why the Internet Movie Database is overloaded with dodgy links.

We reached out to IMDb for a comment on our findings, but the company didn’t immediately reply. If this continues, however, it may have to put some restrictions on outgoing links.

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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