Gina Kaysen Fernandes, a writer for momlogic.com, contacted me recently as she was preparing an article for MomLogic on home-based business and work from home scams. Essentially, she wanted to know if any of the many advertised home business and work from home opportunities were actually legitimate. During our conversation, I mentioned the Google work from home scam I had been following and I told her how many people were getting ripped off or came awfully close to it. I also mentioned to her that the FTC was starting to clamp down on an organization that featured the Google work from home scam in a variety of ways. Apparently, I got Gina's attention, as her article, Home Based Hoax, Don't be fooled by work-at-home schemes has now been published on MomLogic.
Fernandes was able to get a response from Google, which I have been unable to do so far. In her article, she writes:
In their defense, the company issued the following statement to momlogic: "As Google is not affiliated with these sites, we can't comment on individual claims. However, we recommend that users exercise the same amount of caution they would when evaluating other types of get rich quick claims. If there are trademark concerns regarding sites that misuse Google Trademarks, our Legal team reviews them and takes appropriate action if necessary."
In addition to links to these scams being created in Google AdWords and then published on sites that post Google Adsense ads, these scam ads show up in email and have been also showing up in pop-ups lately. Google should be banning these phony ads through its AdWords program as the landing pages used violate several conditions of Google's AdWords program policy, especially when it comes to their landing page and site quality guidelines, including, at the very least:
- Under the Relevant and Original Content section: "Feature unique content that can't be found on another site. This guideline is particularly applicable to resellers whose site is identical or highly similar to another reseller's or the parent company's site, and to affiliates that use..." How the scam fails: I know for a fact that the identical content is being used on a variety of the Google work from home scam sites. In fact, the blog comments posted on many of these landing pages are identical, they are supposedly from the same people saying how much money they made, and they use the same images of the Google AdSense checks and the account earnings screen shot. The policy goes on to state: "It's especially important to feature original content because AdWords won't show multiple ads directing to identical or similar landing pages at the same time." Oh really?
- In the Transparency Section: Visitors personal information - "Allow users to access your site's content without requiring them to register. Or, provide a preview of what users will get by registering." Sorry, these scam landing pages are a blatant violation!
- Under Navigability "Avoid excessive use of pop-ups, pop-unders, and other obtrusive elements throughout your site." On many of these scam sites, if you start filling out information and try to close the window, a pop-up appears asking you to chat with a representative. Sometimes, these pop-ups are not easy to dismiss. Violation!
Another interesting point (and I admit, I'm not a lawyer) is found in Google's Terms of Service, specifically in section 8.3:
"Google reserves the right (but shall have no obligation) to pre-screen, review, flag, filter, modify, refuse or remove any or all Content from any Service."
Wouldn't that, in and of itself, give Google the right to refuse to include these ads? Are they deliberately NOT refusing the ads because they don't want to appear biased?
Yes, Google's making money from the ads. But I have to believe with as blatantly false as the claims being made are and with the risk they run of damaging Google's own brand and reputation, the money wouldn't matter. Plus, you have to figure, that for every time someone clicks the ad link and Google's cash register goes "ka-ching", someone else is in danger of getting scammed. Maybe we'll have to wait and see what is decided in the FTC's case against some of these swindlers. Once the court agrees that they are engaging in illegal activity, wouldn't that give Google the final reason they might need to shut these idiots down?
As I was finishing this blog post I saw another ad for this same scam ON THIS ABOUT SITE leading to a landing page designed to look like a news site. I've reported it, of course, but I'M GETTING FED UP WITH IT.
Don't get me wrong. I am a big fan of Google and everything it has to offer. But it's time they choose to step away from the scams and get off their ass, and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. IT'S TIME TO STOP BEING PART OF THE PROBLEM AND BECOME A PART OF THE SOLUTION.
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