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Virus? Adware redirect for Green Man Gaming and Gamersgate links


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When I try to open links from PCGamingwiki to Gamersgate or Green Man Gaming, it seems to add an adware site.

Example: https://www.greenmangaming.com/games/ubersoldier-ii/?tap_a=1964-996bbb&tap_s=341948-7fd0d2 becomes https://www.dpbolvw.net/click-6723194-10912384?url=https://www.greenmangaming.com/games/ubersoldier-ii/?tap_a=1964-996bbb&tap_s=341948-7fd0d2

(from https://www.pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/ÜberSoldier_II

Googling this site dpbolvw suggests it is some kind of Adware infestation.

Not a problem because of my system, I tried on different devices and from different internet sources (WiFi, 4G...). Can anybody verify this?

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I dug into this some time ago myself, and it has also been addressed in the Discord server a couple times.
The dpbolvw.net domain is owned by an advertising, analytics, and tracking corporation, and is specifically used to track when a user comes to a site from an affiliate, what affiliate it was, et cetera.
This means the domain is blocked by many tracking link blacklists because, you know, it tracks.
The redirect is a required part of an affiliate system for PCGW though.

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The affiliate links that PCGW uses have now been updated to the current format and should work again, though as GamersGate changed many of their page URLs a few months ago some articles might need to be updated to use the new store identifier on their end.

That these sorts of redirect/referral/affiliate links are blocked in some ad blockers are a known but acceptable limitation in this case -- using such a link is required to track the number of clicks that comes from PCGW so that the affiliate program knows how much to pay PCGW for pointing visitors to the store pages, and the only way these links would be changed were if the affected stores had their own referral program that used their own backend/domain to process the referral, which sadly isn't an option for these specific stores.

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I'm technically siding with Stuttgart on this, even if only because dpbolvw is frequently used in various malware redirection trains (i.e. when you click on an old link, and suddenly the browser changes between 10 sites in 5 seconds, and the arrival point is a Bitcoin scam article or a fake McAfee warning), although PCGW's links seem to stay well clear of such scenarios.

Affiliate redirections (or worse, link shorteners) aren't worth the risk or possible reputation problems in most cases.

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On 4/30/2022 at 12:42 PM, Dandelion Sprout said:

I'm technically siding with Stuttgart on this

There's no sides in this thread since we all want the same thing but can't since Andy feels that the revenue generated from the program is reason enough for PCGW to retain using them.

The way to get Andy to agree with the removal of these links is most likely to help the Patreon reach a point of where it covers all operating costs of the site as well as any additional funds generated through these affiliate programs, so that there's no loss incurred as a result of leaving the affiliate program.

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7 hours ago, ViperAcidZX said:

I've been dealing with similar problems with the GOG store links for various games that have a GOG release.

If you have examples of pages with such an issue, please post them.
As far as I know, all GOG links use GOG's own affiliate tracking, through af.gog.com redirects.
If blacklists are triggering on af.gog.com redirects, then that's an issue that GOG should be made aware of.

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