Sneaky survey adverts prey on ham-fisted Wikipedia users

Filed Under: Uncategorized

Do you have Wikipedia bookmarked as one of your favourite websites, or do you just type its URL into your web browser?

Well, be careful if you're a clumsy typist because advertisers may be trying to take advantage of you not having invested time in a "Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing" course.

Clu-blog reader Pete got in touch with me to tell me that he had accidentally visited http://en.wikpedia.org (note: there's no "i" before "pedia") when he really wanted to go to Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org.

And here's what he saw:

Not the real Wikipedia page

A message pops up in the foreground with an iframe displaying the real Wikipedia website shaded out beneath. The message says that you need to fill in a survey to access the information on the site below (in this case, Wikipedia)

Users who accidentally type the wrong address might be fooled by this into thinking that the survey is in some way endorsed by Wikipedia, whereas clearly it isn't. And the individuals behind the survey presumably make a few cents every time someone a survey is completed.

So how many innocent people will see this survey and may be tempted to complete it?

Well, according to the site analytics at compete.com, the site playing on poor spellers receives over 10,000 visits a month. Not a vast amount - but certainly not to be sniffed at either.

Wikpedia.org receives over 10,000 visitors a month

, , , ,

You might like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

About the author

Graham Cluley is an award-winning security blogger, and veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.