Shawn Hogan the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Digitalpoint in a report on his blog, apparently spilled the beans on the going ons of internet giant eBay from about 2004 to 2007 while he worked as an affilliate.
As an affiliate Shawn Hogan forwarded web traffic to eBay and according to him made lots of money on the venture. eBay.com is an on-line auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide.
On June 24, 2010, two separate indictments were handed down by a grand jury in California against Shawn Hogan and Brian Dunning following an FBI investigation by the Cyber Crimes Department. The indictments charge Hogan and Dunning with wire fraud and criminal forfeiture. Hogan was charged with ten counts of wire fraud and Dunning with five counts of wire fraud. This can be seen here
On July 22, 2010, Hogan and Dunning appeared before the court. Both were released under a $100,000 property bond and surrendering their passports. Both Hogan and Dunning entered not guilty pleas. Hogan's next court date is September 9, 2010 and Dunning's is August 19, 2010.
The two men could face imprisonment of 20 years, a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain/loss (whichever is greater), or Three years of supervised release
The indictments parallel the eBay civil suit, accusing the affiliates of engaging in hidden forced clicks within the eBay affiliate program.
Hogan in his blog post has, however, descredited this as being the case, and has sought to set the record straight.
Excerpt from Hogan's Blog
I started doing things with the eBay affiliate program in the fall of 2004. On October 20, 2004, I decided I would see if I could rank well for one of the "holy grail" SEO keywords... "eBay". .....
People saw me outranking eBay's own domain for the keyword "eBay" and in December of 2004 the Ad Network exploded in popularity. All of a sudden we had hundreds of millions of pages on the Internet serving billions of Ad Network ads every day.....