Why is Gift Card Rebel everywhere on YouTube?

Recently I’ve been noticing a bunch of spam comments all over YouTube — with different text and links, but all leading to one single site: giftcardrebel.co. Why, how, or for what purpose — I have no idea.

The site in question looks like:

Clicking through finally gets you to a page where you need to fill a survey to continue. Boo. I assume the spammer earns a fixed amount per completed survey (cost per action.)

The spammer is very thorough, they have a few different domains leading to the exact same template.

The spam

This is a comment I saw on a very recent DJ Khaled’s Behind The Scenes

The video in question:

This link seems to be masked via the Google Cloud Platform, possibly to prevent the account from being shadow-banned. Clicked on the link redirects to the Gift Card Rebel site that I’ve been seeing everywhere (the link in plaintext https://storage.cloud.google.com/49282391/index.html).

Here’s another comment on one of Stephen Colberts’ videos, #3 on Trending at the time of this comment.

A few days earlier, I noticed links to Google Drive and pointed it out to a friend. However, the comment is now deleted.

Another type of comments say “Guys Look this up on youtube ==> markolife10x incredible´╗┐” (the screenshot is from Convenience Store Cooking Challenge, #28 on Trending at the time of posting)

Searching for the exact term, curiously, gives us a single result:

Which basically is:

We’re getting this video and this video only because the description of the video contains “#markolife10x” (and of course, the term is unique enough that it’s not used anywhere else.)

Summing up

  • These are new accounts with real sounding names, usually without profile pictures.
  • Each comment gets around 200-400 likes and is ranked in top 3 under the video.
  • The spam comment is deleted after a few hours, approximately 24-48 hours of posting (or once the comment loses it’s position in the page).
  • A comment is posted very soon after a video is uploaded, around 30-60 minutes on average. It seems like the spammer is keeping an eye on some the regularly (semi?) viral channels.
  • The spammer seems to be trying new tricks regularly. Earlier it started with t.co links, then it was google drive links, and currently it is google cloud storage links along with “search for x on YouTube.”

In short — the spammer seems to have a comprehensive and automated method and a hoard of different Google accounts that they use and cycle through regularly.

My curiosities

I’m wondering:

  • Why is the spammer doing this?
  • What is their daily investment like?
  • How many people are required to pull this off?

Any discussion or answers will be appreciated — let’s discuss it on HackerNews. I’ll try updating this post as I see new spam/methods.

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