According to a group of Italian security researchers those spammy links you see posted on Facebook are not only annoying but also profitable. Quite profitable. In a piece by The Guardian, Italian researchers Andrea Stroppa and Carlo De Micheli calculated that these 3rd party scam sites being promoted by these Facebook links are earning $200 million dollars every year.
These links are currently being promoted by Facebook profiles, and by Fan Pages like the one above. These entice users to click on links that in turn send users to spammy sites. In the majority of cases, the research team found that link shortners were used to hide the final destination of the website.
Of the spammy pages, 9% were found to leverage Google’s AdSense product, helping to give Google a small cut of the profit. The study showed that on average a page with 30,000 fans would get up to $13 per post and those with 100,000 fans would get $58 on average.
Of course, this type of action is against Facebook’s terms of service, but the sheer volume of posts and pages makes it tough to crackdown on spammers. For more information, see the full article on The Guardian.
Image courtesy of The Guardian.