It was sad but not at all surprising to see spammers exploiting the swine flu topic.
Today we came across a yet another example of Internet “entrepreneurs” being cynical enough to use the situation for their financial benefit.
Rx-Partners is one of many affiliate networks promoting and selling generic drugs online. They do it via a MLM-like network of affiliate “webmasters” who generate and drive traffic to online stores. A successful affiliate would rely on a variety of SEO techniques (often including blog and forum comment spam) to earn their portion of a profit. I don’t have a specific example at hand, but there is evidence that some may even resort to an old-fashioned e-mail spam.
The title says “Cure people from swine flu — sell Tamiflu“.
“Starting today, you have an option to sell Tamiflu – a pill that fights swine flu and lowers severity and duration of the decease. Given the recent outbreak that already killed a few hundred people worldwide, this pill will be in high demand…”
The post is complete with instructions on how to add the pill to your store catalog. The real pill’s name is “Oseltamivir“, apparently, which is a generic version of Tamiflu (TM) produced by Indian pharmaceutical factories.
“Wishing you good sales, and your customers – happy treatment. :)
You guys rock! Rapid response and decent prices.”
A quick search reveals that RX-Partners is the same network that was offering Tamiflu (TM) as a cure for the “bird flu” during the last outbreak.
UPDATE (Apr 30):
The idea seems to be working quite well so far. Here is a new blog comment from a happy affiliate:
“We added it to our stores last night and the results are obvious. 20% of all sales – tamiflu […] If you haven’t started yet, do go ahead white the topic is hot!”