Spammers Exploit IMDb to Promote Fishy Movie Piracy Sites

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The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is littered with scammy advertisements for pirate streaming sites. Whether it's the latest Avatar movie or an episode of "Loki", you can easily 'find' it on the site. IMDb appears to be the ideal target for this type of spam, as these pages are more likely to rank well in search results.

IMDb has drawn the attention of spammers. Some are currently exploiting IMDb’s list feature to generate advertisements for the latest pirated movies and TV shows.

A list posted by one spammer is shown below, but there are many more like it, and new ones continue to show up all the time.

As is often the case, these spammers are not really interested in providing people with access to pirated films. Instead, they promote scammy sites that lure wannabe pirates into signing up for dodgy sites. These services promise the moon but often require credit card details for a free trial.

It’s not hard to imagine why leaving credit card details and personal information with these sites isn’t the best idea. For scammers, on the other hand, such information can be quite profitable.

Piracy Scammers Exploit IMDb

The examples above all use IMDb’s lists feature, which allows users to provide overviews of their favorite content. As external links can be added as well, they can be used to advertise pretty much anything, spam and scams included.

IMDb is not alone; many other sites are plagued by this type of abuse. LinkedIn, for example, has been popular among scammers recently and the same is true for various official European Union websites, which have been trying to tackle the issue following our report a few weeks ago.

Ideal Target

While spammers are typically not very picky, IMDb is actually an ideal target. This type of scheme relies largely on traffic from search engines and results from a movie-related website tend to rank well.

Add in the fact that ‘real’ pirate sites are actively removed and downranked by search engines such as Google, and it’s not hard to see why the Internet Movie Database is overloaded with dodgy links.

We reached out to IMDb for a comment on our findings, but the company didn’t immediately reply. If this continues, however, it may have to put some restrictions on outgoing links.


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