Facebook Ad Cloaking Script Doesn’t Work

There is a Facebook ad script going around that basically has this logic: “if the referer is from “dev.facebook.com” or “intern.facebook.com”, etc etc… then redirect to some “clean page” that facebook will approve of … otherwise, send them to your dirty little offer. Here are the problems:

1. Referer can be EASILY tricked. For example, in linux curl you can set the referer to whatever the hell you want. In fact, referers can be hidden easily. Think about it this way… Facebook is an internet company with internet people. Do you think they NOT know this?

2. The second half of the “algorithm” says that if the IP is in known array of IPs that people have collected (the file I downloaded has 12,105 known IPs as of this date), then do the same cloaking. Problem is, Facebook people are internet nerds that understand proxy, vpn, and using their bots to check on their ads. Well, duh. Wouldn’t YOU? So why wouldn’t they do the same shit?
For example, I have my own tracking I’ve noticed an ad rejected. The reviewer had IP and NO referer. Sure the IP mapped to Palo Alto, but, they got reviewers EVERYwhere. The hostname of the IP didn’t even resolve to some “facebook.com” domain either. And the IP wasn’t even in this list of 12,105 known IPs.

So unless you got some better ways, i suggest you not cloak and don’t run scammy offers.

Disclaimer:

You should NOT cloak your ads. Yes, I used to do it (on another ad platform). Not anymore. No matter what your reason is, just don’t do it. It breaches the TOS of the ad platform, but most importantly, it’s just flat out lying and cheating. I used to rationalize that “oh.. XYZ blah blah”.. It don’t matter. You can’t rationalize unethical behavior and that’s why it’s UNETHICAL. If you can rationalize it, then why the hell is it NOT unethical?

Besides, it is SUPER easy to catch cloaking now. Super easy. If you’ve got 1/2 the brain of a squirrel, you can probably catch them too.

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Facebook Ad Cloaking Script Doesn't Work by

taewoo

Ex-code monkey turned entrepreneur, marketer, blogger, and speaker. TaeWoo writes about online marketing and growth hacking. You can read more about him here.

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2 Comments

  • Jo Deer November 3, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    I agree with what you said about cloaking being unethical, but what about the unethical reviewers from some of the big networks seeing your offers converting well and stealing your keywords/offers?

    When a reviewer knows you have done some good profitable campaigns and monitors what you are working on, it’s easy to ‘borrow’ some of the better campaigns that they are reviewing.

    Any comments on how to prevent this? Or have you experience this? It is kind of hard to prove except when the campaign starts out really well then dies a sudden death.

    • taewoo November 11, 2010 at 12:26 am

      Hey Jo.

      This is simple: hide the referer and don’t pass any information like keyword or creative names in the URL. And if they bitch about how you don’t have any referer, then… there’s ways around that too. ;)

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