Clickbank, the company that helps businesses create and manage advertisement campaigns, is being accused of running a “fake” software product, according to a report from UK newspaper The Sun.
The software, dubbed “FakeAds” in the report, is allegedly used to trick people into signing up for a new ad campaign.
“Fake Ads” can be used to target people in an ad campaign who have not signed up for an ad to get a promotion in their inbox, and the software is allegedly installed in “a vast network of thousands of sites,” The Sun reports.
The site claims to be able to target ads at the following audiences: people aged 18 to 30, women, people who are older than 50, and people who live in rural areas.
The fake ad software, the site claims, can also be used by marketers to target those who are in contact with advertisers and people they know.
“In the past, the software was used to help advertisers reach the target audience and increase conversions,” Clickbank said in a statement to Business Insider.
“However, as a result of our recent development we have identified a number of flaws which are preventing us from continuing to offer the software.”
The company said that it has been working to fix the flaws and the issue will be fixed in the next update.
According to The Sun, Clickbank was able to track the identity of the software developers, and a fake version of the program was used in more than 50 campaigns.
“This is an incredibly serious breach of trust,” David Stokes, an advertising privacy expert at law firm Baker & McKenzie told The Sun in a press release.
“Companies should be using their data in ways that are both transparent and secure.”
Clickbank’s “fake ad software” is a “monumental step backwards” for the advertising industry, Stokes added.
“It means that people are unknowingly getting paid to participate in campaigns that they don’t have a right to be in, which is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.”
It’s unclear whether the software has been used by Clickbank or by other marketers, but the company did not respond to Business Wire’s request for comment.
Clickbank did not immediately respond to The Verge’s request to comment on the report.