Online Advertising Scams "Search Engine Data Merging"
Downloading free Web software to do keyword searches in your Web browser address bar can get you more Online advertising than what you asked for.
Unethical Marketing And Advertising
Spyware and adware companies are promoting themselves as: "get to the top of Google, Yahoo, and MSN search guaranteed for your keywords."
Believe it or not, they do get websites to the top of the Internet search engines of whoever has this special tracking software installed on their computers.
How do they do it?
Software Step One: Laying the Web Trap
When someone, including children, have downloaded this online free tracking software onto their computer and do any type of search in the browser address bar, side bar, or even in the browser itself the program takes over and in a millisecond before the actual results are displayed, the information is data merged and manipulated with other pay-for-keywords data feeds. Then, when the search results page is displayed to the user it looks like the natural results or even large site targeted Banner Ads at the top of the leading search companies. Depending on who you talk to in these organizations, they claim to have 10 or 20 million network users. Their idea of a network user is anyone who has downloaded this special software onto their computers.
Once these spyware programs are downloaded and installed it can be extremely difficult to remove them. Many times they will not even show up with a logical name in the Windows control panel for add/remove programs. Since they attach themselves to the Internet Explorer Browser, which is integrated directly into the Windows Operating System, there is no way to click un-install to reload a clean Internet Explorer.
People do not have a clue that this downloaded software is changing the relevant results of their searches, plus potentially monitoring all the keywords they type in their browsers. Maybe it is buried in Web Semantics or the FinePrint as to what the applications program is doing but most users, I suspect, think they are downloading this nifty software application to do keywords searches in their Internet browser address bar. This is the first part of the scam.
Step Two: Springing the Website Advertising Scams Trap
Enter B2B and B2C - Attorneys, Realtors, Insurance Agents, and any other type of professional businesses looking for leads in the hot consumer market place. An agent gets a cold call from a very nice and sincere sounding sales representative asking the agent if they are interested in getting hundreds and thousands of leads and website visitors guaranteed? The agent is told a very glossy story about how they can place the agent's website at the top of certain keywords searches from the 10 to 20 million network users. Of course with numbers like that, anyone would want to hear more information.
The agent asks, "How does it work?"
Sales person answers, "Let's say someone is doing an online search for: 'San Ramon Homes For Sale' or 'San Ramon homes.' We can place your real estate website at the number one position for anyone looking at Homes For Sale in San Ramon, plus, the hits to your website will prove that we are sending traffic your way. You will be getting thousands of hits monthly with people searching for your keywords and you will be number one! And, to prevent over selling this new technology to too many Realtors in your area we are limiting it to the first three that sign up for it right now. Imagine being number one. We even have a demo that we can show you. Just type in your keywords and your real estate website then return and see how it works yourself. Get a picture of what it looks like on our networks."
How much Revenue does this Pay-For-Keywords advertising scam Net?
A single real estate agent can pay hundreds or thousands of dollars annually depending on how many keywords are requested. There is no telling as to the extent of how many American and International Professionals, for all professions, are captured by this net and how much revenue is being taken in. The gross sales figures could be in the tens of millions. The tentacles of this illegal operation could be much greater than anyone could imagine. In fact, multiple websites are being created under different working ownership groups to go after new targeted professional working groups of individuals and revenue. The branding features of the websites are the same for all except with different names at the top.
One representative at one of the companies told a source, who was approached by a second brand type, stated when pressed, "each is a different company."
On another day the same source when asking for his money back from the scam, was told by the owner: "yes, we are all the same company... We have hundreds of thousands of clients in all different industries. Whoever told you that we are not the same company I would fire if I knew their names."
The professional person was taken in by the scam several months before this second one called. This individual was even able to go into a private area and verify that the contact was updated to reflect a new saleswoman as the customer service contact who had just called from the second company.
The owner of this company had refused to give my source back his money. The owner had stated, "with hundreds of thousands of clients, you are the first to complain. Also, we have had our attorneys look this over and there is nothing wrong in what we are doing."
Verify, do searches on each of the company names, read the complaints in the forums, confirm for yourself and learn more about this now: see search engine results for this new technology of "Search Engine Data Merging" G Y M
For an additional documented story see: Seeing Red - Search Engine RedZee™ Reviewed. This article goes into additional details about the RedZee™ TOP3 Program. RedZee™ TOP3 Program is the "ethically corrupt," as stated by the author, approach to advertising on their network of web sites that reach millions...
What are the legal and regulatory ramifications of operating an e-Business?
Here is the actual quote from Google, (when this article was first published).
"The Google Services are made available for your personal, non-commercial use only. You may not use the Google Services to sell a product or service, or to increase traffic to your Web site for commercial reasons, such as advertising sales. You may not take the results from a Google search and reformat and display them, or mirror the Google home page or results pages on your Web site. You may not "meta-search" Google."
Consider the false and deceptive advertising claims that could be laid out against the companies. Operating this way is totally ignoring proper representation of their product. It has the air of arrogance that no one is going to do anything about it. A representative of one of the companies even stated, "What is Google, Yahoo, or MSN going to do about it? They have bigger issues than this to deal with."
Online Privacy Issues
Additionally these businesses talk about monitoring what words you search for online. If they are monitoring what keywords you type in a browser that could be everything that is typed, including logging into Web mail and reading emails online, not to mention the potential to plant virus threats. With a company operating this way, are you really going to believe them when they promise to protect your online privacy? This, in your face, arrogant attitude by these companies are once again ignoring all the state, federal, & international regulations pertaining to: ebusiness ethics, legal and regulatory issues, & privacy in E-business and throwing it right out the window.
Children's Privacy: The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act
Do to the very nature of children being able to download these programs online, many times without the parents aware of it, this type of operation is a threat to our children. Since the monitoring of the keywords is being done at the browser level, any information a child might type could be monitored. This is a big Red Flag for Parents.
See: ftc.gov children's privacy
Certain search results may be "sponsored" results, which consist of websites who have paid for placement in the search results. These listings are provided by our business partner, Link Positions, which is a subsidiary of ISE. These premium results may contain tracking URLs provided by Link Positions to identify clicks from the search results page.
And this quote:
Redzee.com is not structured to attract children. Accordingly, we do not knowingly collect Personal Information from anyone under 13 years of age. If you are under the age of 13, please do not provide any Personal Information to us.
See news press release for site information
What Victims Should Do
If you are a victim of fraud or either end of this type of criminal marketing scam or sales pitch activity, a complaint report should be filed at the Internet Fraud Complaint Center. The Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). Victims need to report these incidents and start fighting back. Don't let the Internet Search Engine Data Merging Keywords Flim Flam scammers do this to other victims.
What the Internet Legal Issues Are and Laws Broken
With this type of illegal activity is a list, (miles long) of the legal and regulatory areas affected and the criminal laws broken from: Anti-trust / Competition Law, Financial, Real Estate, Consumer, Corporate, European Union & International, Federal And State Law, Government & Public Sector, Information Technology & Telecommunications, Regulatory, Internet, Privacy And Security Law, Insurance, Intellectual Property, Media, Copyright, and other Law Areas of Practice.
Contract Law - What a Legally Binding Contract Is
If you find yourself having entered into a contract agreement with one of those disreputable companies consider the following:
The State Bar Of California
To be legally binding, a contract must have certain elements:
- An offer by one person and an acceptance of that offer by the other.
- Mutual agreement to the terms of the contract-both parties agree on what is promised.
- An exchange of consideration-something of value is given for something else of value.
However, if a contract involves something illegal or against public policy, even if all the elements listed above are present, it is not legally binding.
Once being made aware of the legalities with materially changing the displayed search results a person should demand their money back and the contract considered no longer binding. Additionally, if you are showing up in a banner ad, does not change the fact that the search results are materially changed for anyone having the software on their computer. The banner ad is just one inclusion application of the Search Engine Data Merging" scheme. These companies can implement any number of inclusion items at the same time, thus actually changing the relevant search results.
About What You Should Do
So if you happen to get an advertising call with a keywords guru sales person on the other end, with keywords promises they can place your website at the number one position on 10 to 20 million network users, consider closely the legalities & ethics that are employed and what this can do to your brand.
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