Anti-spyware legal crusader Ben Edelman has posted a scathing report of web marketing company Hula Direct, alleging that it’s in cahoots with spyware vendors and its affiliate sites are little more than “‘banner farms’ without substantial bona fide content.” “If you’ve got computers that are infected with any of the spyware that’s listed in the article, you’re going to get popups from Hula Direct,” says Edelman, who has been studying related spyware and affiliate advertising data since 2005.
Hula Direct is understandably concerned about Edelman’s statements. “When our sites have ever been displayed on any sort of spyware or adware, we immediately shut off that traffic. And Ben Edelman knows that and in fact we have assisted many many organizations in the fight against spyware,” says Hula Direct CEO Mike Warsinske. “We hate it as much as Ben Edelman does. There’s absolutely no room in the marketplace for spyware and adware, and when our products are displayed on spyware and adware, we’re probably more angry about it than Ben Edelman is, and we take immediate steps to remove it.”
“As I’ve spent time more looking at it, figuring out how the money flows, figuring out where the ads come from, I realize this was notable and deserved to be written about,” says Edelman. “[Hula Direct is] the key decision-maker in the middle. They’re the ones who are buying the spyware traffic, and they’re the ones who are getting the right to show advertisers ads in exchange for getting paid indirectly through ad networks by those advertisers.”
Edelmen’s report comes just as Hula Direct begins to discontinue their direct response advertising division due to lack of demand. Warsinske refutes Edelman saying, “He could’ve come to his conclusion from our sites being placed there through multi-broker relationships. We have no relationships with any of the entities that he referred to.”
Earlier in March, we reported that Hula Direct was involved in a lawsuit against ad network Red McCombs Media.