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GAN-tastic satisfied customers

Coupon website coupons.ivoicesoft.com is full of positive reviews from satisfied customers. Unfortunately, neither the reviews nor the customers are real.

At first glance, coupons.ivoicesoft.com, a website which allegedly offers discounts on a variety of software products, appears to have a lot of satisfied customers. The site is full of brief five-star reviews, featuring glowing (albeit awkwardly worded) praise such as “I couldn’t have asked for more than this fearsome offering sales. Keep up the excellent work!” and “Needless to say I am extremely satisfied with the awful promo sales. Thanks for the great service!”. These reviews (and the customers who allegedly wrote them) are not what they seem, however.

(Site is not hyperlinked as it is potentially malicious.)

collage of discount offers from coupons.ivoicesoft.com and alleged customer reviews
to be fair, everyone loves the fearsome offering sales

As of October 21st, 2022, the coupons.ivoicesoft.com website contained 96,382 reviews from 2,037 alleged customers, with accompanying images that allegedly depict the customers’ faces. The reviews are not unique, however — each is repeated an average of 5.4 times, for a total of 17,652 distinct reviews. The reviews appear to be assembled from smaller fragments that get used over and over, such as “We were treated like royalty!”, “We have no regrets!”, “I will recommend you to my colleagues”, “awful offering sales”, “amazing offering sales”, and so on. Needless to say, these “reviews” are far more likely to be the output of a piece of computer software such as a Markov text generator than genuine reviews from actual customers.

table of the most frequently repeated reviews on coupons.ivoicesoft.com
Markoff Cheney has been very busy

What about those 2,037 customers, and their accompanying face images? As it turns out, the reviewers are no more real than the reviews: each of the 2,037 “faces” is a GAN-generated image, similar to those produced by https://thispersondoesnotexist.com. There are a variety of indicators that the faces are artificially generated, the most obvious being that the major facial features (particularly the eyes) are in the same location on each image, regardless of the apparently angle of the “face”. This effect is extremely obvious in the video at the top of this article. (These particular GAN-generated faces also contain an ivoicesoft.com watermark in the lower right corner of the image.)

grid of 54 GAN-generated faces, with lines showing the extremely consistent eye placement
the eyes on unmodified StyleGAN faces are always in the same pixel position

The images contain other anomalies indicating their artificial origin, including but not limited to:

  • surreal backgrounds

  • nonsensical hats or clothing

  • vestigial heads to the left or right of the face (also known as “side demons”)

  • hands, glasses, or hair that blend into the face in unnatural ways

collage of particularly unrealistic GAN-generated faces
not all GAN-generated faces are as obviously fake as these, but the artifacts seen here frequently show up in more subtle form

For the sake of completeness, here are all of the 2,037 GAN-generated faces used alongside the repetitive “reviews” on coupons.ivoicesoft.com:

collage of GAN-generated faces from coupons.ivoicesoft.com
collage of GAN-generated faces from coupons.ivoicesoft.com
collage of GAN-generated faces from coupons.ivoicesoft.com
collage of GAN-generated faces from coupons.ivoicesoft.com

This research was originally presented in October 2022 in this Twitter thread by @ZellaQuixote and myself:

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