Visual Deals popup spam masquerading as a Pinterest Button?
This isn’t my usual humor post but, as a web designer and host, I spend approximately 23 billion hours of unpaid time a year (give or take an hour) removing viruses and malware and spam from servers, web sites and my own computer. I am so sick of spam that when I find it and destroy it, I want to spread the word.
I was recently visiting my own web store when a little “Visual Deals” bubble popped up right on the page, pushing cheap dog jewelry ON MY STORE.
I lost my mind. I assumed either my web site had been hacked or my computer had caught a virus. Was everyone seeing this? Were people coming to my store to buy things and then being taken away to some other store by this evil thing?
Visual Deals Spam Hides in Chrome Extensions
I did a Google search for “Visual Deals” and only found one thread. In it, people talked about how they’d discovered this Visual Deals crap was part of two Google Chrome extensions, Translate Selection and Chrome Reload – neither of which I had.
I turned off all my Chrome extensions by going up to the little three slash symbol in the upper right of my browser and then to “Settings” and then choosing the Extensions tab. Sure enough, Visual Deals disappeared. I turned them back on, one at a time, and discovered the culprit was my Pinterest Button extension! What?! Why would a big, popular company like Pinterest embed their button with cheesy Visual Deals popups?
I was about to write an angry email to Pinterest and flambe them for putting spam in their add-on, when I realized there were several Pinterest button options at the Chrome store and I had downloaded the wrong one.
Below is the evil one AT the Chrome store. I discovered that the “From firstname.lastname@example.org” was the author of the other extensions people complained about as well. People all through the comments/reviews on this extension give it one star and talk about how evil it is, and yet it still has almost as high a rating as the REAL Pinterest button because the evil pieces of shit who made it filled it with bogus positive ratings.
It does say that it comes with “ads to support development” on the side, but I’m afraid many people will overlook that because they think everything with “Pinterest” on it must be from Pinterest.
So there you have it. If you’re seeing Visual Deals or other junk, check your browser extensions. I’m sure they’ve mimicked all kinds of things in the hopes of tricking people into their ads. Assholes.
PS: I bet eventually someone will leave a comment on this post talking about how they LOVE this extensions and Visual Deals is helpful finding deals. Uh huh. Riiiight.
PPS: Here’s the link for the OFFICIAL Pinterest button: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/pinterest/gpdjojdkbbmdfjfahjcgigfpmkopogic
It looks like the Google App store finally got wise and removed the evil one!