More than 65% of spam consists of “pharmaceutical spam” sent through a variety of well known spam botnets such as Rustock and Cutwail. These spam messages use multiple shop brands and sell a variety of drugs, especially Viagra. These pills, sometime fake pills, are shipped to buyers from pharma manufacturers, often in India or China.
There are pharma campaigns that have been found to use thousands of domain names and fast flux DNS techniques which can effectively resist takedown efforts. However, pharma operations are not just centralized campaigns. Much like FakeAV, Pay-Per-Install, and Pay-Per-Click operations, pharma is also organized through affiliate networks. Affiliate networks allow centralized pharma operations to diversify with individual operators maintaining pharma websites and generating incoming traffic through spam or search engine optimization.
This post will focus on RX-promotion (rx-promotion.com) which has been linked to a variety of operations including the payment service ChronoPay. The FDA are aware of Rx-promotion and have sent a warning letter to them in October 2010. Rather than focus on those behind the operation, this post simply focuses on how the affiliate program works and Rx-promotion’s pharma brands including:
The Canadian Rx Drugs – http://canadianrx-drugs.com/
Meds Leader – Top Online Pharmacy Supplier – http://medicleader.com/
Health-Refill – http://healthreorder.com/
Men Drugs Shop – http://drugsshopformen.com/
The US Drugs – http://the-us-drugs.com/
Canadian Online Meds – http://canadianonlinemedicine.com/
Trusted Meds Online – http://trusted-drugs-online.com/
MedrugsPlus – http://med-drugs-plus.com/
Internet Drugs Pedia – http://i-drugspedia.com/
The Canadian Rx Drugs – http://herbiedrugs.com/
Always Great – http://always-great.com/
RXED On Green – http://rxed-on-green.com/
StallionsRX – http://stallionsrx.com/
Golden StethoScope – http://golden-stethoscope.com/
Star Of Health – http://star-of-health.com/
RX Pharmacy Center – http://rxpharmacy-center.com/
Cheap Meds List – http://cheap-meds-list.com/
Health Online Leader – http://health-online-leader.com/
Drugs For Us – http://drugsforus.com/
Meds For Us – http://meds-for-us.com/
Great RX Pharmacy – http://great-rx-pharmacy.com/
World Of Drugs – http://world-of-drugs.com/
Number One Clinic – http://numberoneclinic.com/
It is actually quite simple to get started with a pharma affiliate operation and there are even guides that walk users through the process. After creating an account, one can download rx.tar.gz, a package that allows anyone to setup a pharma shop of their own. RX-promotion operates a number pharma brands that are available as themes after setting up the pharma shop. (*See screen shots at the bottom of this post).
Although the brand shops are operated by the affiliates, the shops are connected to the Rx-Promotion infrastructure which provides the backend for the prices, payment and support. The shops make HTTP connections to xml.paymentrx.com and receiving XML updates. Payments are handled through secure.paymentrx.com and customer support is available at rx-drugs-support.com.
As orders are received, the affiliate earns money from Rx-Promotion and can “cash out” through a variety of services.
There is ongoing development of the shop code. Affiliates can easily update their installations through the administrative backend.
In one such update, Rx-Promotion left the “./svn/” directory from the subversion revision control system indicating that their source code and development resides at:
RX-promotion is behind many different pharma brands that are marketed using spam and search engine optimization techniques. RX-promotion provides the backend of the pharma operation while numerous affiliates promote its products in order to receive a portion of the profit generated.
Screenshots of the various pharma brand themes available is the Rx-Promotion shop code: