Don't Let Hackers Steal Your Online Sales With Fake Ads

Namogoo is a Hebrew word meaning “faded away,” or “vanished,” or “disappeared,” says Chemi Katz, co-founder and CEO of the Israeli company bearing the word as its name. The name fits.

“This is what we do to digital malware,” Katz says.

Chemi Katz, left, co-founder and CEO; and Ohad Greenshpan, co-founder and CTO of Namogoo.Courtesy of Namogoo

The digital malware Namogoo targets is so-called “customer journey highjacking,” which entails detecting and blocking unauthorized product and promotional ads injected into visitor sessions, preventing your customers from being diverted to your competitors.

It’s a pioneering effort on Namogoo’s part, according to Katz.

“In the old days it took a lot of education for everyone from prospects to parnters to analysts and journalists,” Katz said. “It’s still a problem. Let’s say some out there still don’t know about this problem. If someone doesn’t tell you or show you, you don’t know this is happening. Even the client doesn’t know.”

If you see a competitive product on the page you’re browsing, most of the time you will think it comes from the website you’re visiting.

“You don’t even know who is promoting a different kind of product, because it looks so natural embedded into the page,” Katz explained.

Screen shot of American Eagle website infected with digital malware. Red box around the injected ads that are not part of the American Eagle website.Courtesy Namogoo

Writing in Total Retail last month, Katz said online customer journey hijacking appears during 15 to 25 percent of online shopping sessions, and up to 30 percent of sessions during peak holiday seasons.

“This happens when malware is inadvertently installed on a consumer’s device, causing unwanted ads to be injected into their browsers,” Katz wrote. “These ads can often appear legit, as if the retailer is allowing them on the site. Other times, the ads are blatant disruptions to the customer journey.”

Katz says the scope of the problem is growing “exponentially,” affecting retailers of all sizes.

“ recently filed a lawsuit over malicious advertisements that are misrepresenting the company,” Katz wrote. “If this problem can be this disruptive to the world’s largest online retailer, no retailer is safe from online customer journey hacking.”

Namogoo is also growing exponentially. Founded in August 2014, Katz said the company grew revenue year-over-year by about 300 percent from 2016 to 2018, and hopes to do the same this year. Namogoo started with clients in Europe but quickly moved into the United States, where it now does 80 percent of its business.

Namogoo’s clients include Office Depot, Dollar Shave Club and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“We want both businesses and consumers to have clear and safe browsing,” Katz said.

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