Digital Point Founder Facing 20 Years in Cookie Stuffing Scheme

A couple of months ago, I named Digital Point Solutions as one of the chat forums that could make you dumber than you already are. That same month, I told you about how thieves were using cookie stuffing to steal your affiliate commissions.  Apparently, the two articles should have been merged into one, as it appears that Digital Point may not only make you stupid.  They may have also stolen affiliate commissions.

Digital Point Forum founder, Shawn Hogan, was formally charged by the FBI for his alleged involvement in a cookie stuffing scam designed to bilk millions from the eBay affiliate program.   (Download the pdf indictment here.)

Investigators claimed that Hogan, 35, used computer code to illegally send affiliate tracking cookies to the web browsers of unsuspecting visitors of his Internet marketing chat forum.  These cookies are designed to track users actions and pay affiliates for customers that use the eBay service as a result of clicking on legitimate affiliate links placed on websites or emails.

The government alleges that Hogan also “attempted to place this computer code on a large number of web pages, including web pages that were not directly affiliated with Digital Point Solutions.”  The twelve page indictment, issued last week, claims that Hogan attempted to hide the cookie stuffing from eBay and Commission Junction, the third party vendor that handles eBay’s affiliate program, by geo-targeting his code not to show up on computers located in San Jose and Santa Barbara, CA, the home bases of eBay and CJ.

Hogan, along with his alleged partner, Brian Dunning, are accused of profiting almost a combined $20 million in 2006 and 2007.

The two were released on $100,000 bail and forced to surrender their passports.  If convicted, they face up to 20 years imprisonment.  A civil suit against the two was filed by eBay in 2008.

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