A Montreal-based marketing firm is at the heart of a scheme involving a massive network of streaming websites that has scammed thousands of internet users out small amounts totalling hundreds of millions of dollars with promises of free unlimited access to premium content that they do not offer, a Radio-Canada investigation has found.
The websites are run by a Barbados company called Hyuna International and offers users access to movies, books and music.
These users were lured to those sites through false promises and misleading advertising set up by subcontractors collecting commissions from AdCenter, a web marketing company run out of sleek and modern offices in downtown Montreal, the investigation by the disinformation-busting program Décrypteurs found.
The investigation revealed that both AdCenter and Hyuna International are linked to a Canadian businessman, Philip Keezer. This network uses a complicated web of hundreds of nearly identical websites and offshore shell companies to evade scrutiny, according to sources and experts cited in the report.
AdCenter is an affiliate marketing company, a legal and widespread practice. In this type of marketing, partners called affiliates promote goods and services and receive a commission every time a client they refer makes a purchase. Affiliates are not employees, but rather subcontractors.
Unlike other affiliate marketing companies, AdCenter has only one client: Hyuna International. Its affiliates are only paid when they…