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Advertising Scam "Search Engine Data Merging"

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."

Owner Quote

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?

From a legal standpoint it is important to understand that all major search engines have some sort of terms of use agreements.

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."


The other search engines have similar published terms of use agreement items related to displaying their search results. From a legal standpoint I can not imagine any search company giving approval for allowing their results to be tainted, modified, manipulated, or any other action that would deface their pages. Any company caught doing this type of activity runs the risk of having major lawsuits from every search company they are doing this to.

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

New RedZee Search Engine Privacy Policy

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:
Children's Privacy

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.


As though an under 13 child is going to read the privacy policy.
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.

Illegal Activity

Once becoming aware of the legal search policies for terms of use & the Law, and do nothing, you would be implicating yourself in this illegal charade activity also.

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.

Pass this Free, tuff hard hitting, honest & trustworthy "No BS" technology sales and marketing AND Online advertising information newsletter on to others before it happens to them. Email this advertising scam link or email our new technology, Web marketing, Online advertising, seo, Internet, corporate branding newsletters link to them today.

Permission to reprint this article on another website is given with the following stipulations: article must be provided free of charge, article published on Mondaq - Online Advertising Scam "Search Engine Data Merging" may not be sold, provide proper credits to the original publisher, and a hyperlink to the original at: ProfessionalWebServices.blogspot.com/2005/07/advertising-scam-search-engine-data.html

If you need help now from a Successful Ethical Professional Organization that can truly help you with your online brand, site creativity, and maintenance contact Professional Web Services, Inc., Internet Marketing, Online Advertising Strategies, & B2B And B2C Web Branding Solutions.


Above All - We Tell It Like It Is, And Do It With Style!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

i just wrote an article about RedZee as well.

toolbar merges results

-tpiddy

J said...

Good perspective on the article you wrote: "Toolbar merges ads into search results"

RedZee and the ISE Corp certainly seem to have a money making scam. No matter if they have hundreds or millions of people that have downloaded the software, they turn around and sell to professional people that don't have a real clue what they are buying. They think they are getting huge advertising numbers of people that visit their website, when in reality there are very little online conversions and I even wonder if the visits are in fact real. It would not take much to randomly generate clicks through computers through-out the country to make it look like there are hits to the professional website.

Take a look at how this company is generating new websites to go after other targeted markets. Take a look at the Search Engine Marketing Data

carter said...

Yea i have no idea how googles letting redzee get away with this

Anonymous said...

The information that leads to RedZee is interesting. Apparently Link Positions is a business partner of RedZee. The following is/was posted on their privacy policy page, if they haven't changed it.

"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."

When doing a search on MSN it was interesting comparing all of the the following companies plus some from the online forums: Link Positions, Window Billboards, Winspeed Technologies, Keywords Guru Network, Traffic Windows Network Website, Search Elevators Netowork, iTime Marketing Inc. They all seemed to be the same company.

The fine print on the services section of those websites state the following:

"Once registered all traffic derived from our network from sites such as MSN®, Google®, and Yahoo® will now deliver visitors to your website. It's that simple. Above is an example of what we can do for you. You will be given access to our login area where you can track your visitors and see what search engine brought them to you."

In effect they are simply stating traffic will be diverted on their network of users. Who knows how many that really is...

Maybe this new search engine of theirs is a way of trying to shift the focus off of their other businesses. The technology they use for all of these are the same and they have incorporated this into RedZee Search Engine.

Anonymous said...

RedZee is nothing but bogus. If you have purchased key phrases in their "top 3" ppc program, every single hit that comes from either their search engine or their spybar is a bounce.

I'll say this again because it is very important:

Every single hit that comes from either their search engine or their spybar is a bounce.

Excluding my own testing, in every single case where an IP address has entered my sites from the redzee search engine - either directly from their search engine or from browsers that have the redzee spybar installed, which appends redzee "top 3" ppc results to the top of the Google, MSN or Yahoo organic listings - that IP address goes no further than the landing page. In some cases, the IP bounces out before the entire landing page is requested from the server.

I have tested and confirmed this through exhaustive manual analysis of my raw log files. There is absolutely no doubt that the redzee "top 3" is a scam.

I have severed my relationship with redzee in total disgust.

Anonymous said...

Hey everyone,

REDZEE is a total SCAM. I had the same results...

Bogus traffic, no conversions, 99% bounce rate.

I filed a complaint to the BBB...

http://www.bbbwestflorida.org/

In addition, I filed a complaint with the Florida Attorney General.

I recommend that everyone goes to this easy online form and complain - let's go after these crooks.

http://myfloridalegal.com/Contact.nsf/Contact...

Finally, you can see the RipOff Report I filed here...

http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ripoff226...

Feel free to add to it or post some new ones. The more the merrier!

I am sooooo mad at myself for falling for this scam.

I'm out $2500 - but, I'll spend twice that amount making these guys pay.

Oh, what the heck - I'll go ahead a post the complaint that I sent to RipOff Report, the BBB, and the FL Attorney General here.

It bears repeating...

***********************************

After tracking my website statistics, it came to my attention that all the traffic I was receiving (and paying for) from RedZee search was worthless.

Here is an email that I sent to Bill Masters at RedZee - who was my account Rep...

#############

Hey Bill,

I've been using Google Analytics to track my traffic and conversions and the traffic I receive from RedZee to www.TheAwristocrat.com is questionable at best.

From all other sources we have an average conversion rate of over 3% - that's 3 out of every 100 visitors, and every single source with at least 150 referrals has at least 1 conversion - EXCEPT for Redzee!

In the past 30 days, out of 1500 referrals from RedZee there has not even been ONE SINGLE CONVERSION! Noone has even joined our Coupon Club, which costs nothing. Obviously, this violates all laws of statistics (and reality).

In addition, traffic from RedZee has a Bounce Rate of 99%, meaning that everyone just goes to the home page and then leaves from the home page without visiting any other pages or doing anything else at all. This is waaaaay beyond the norm. Yet, unexplainably, RedZee visitors stay on the site twice as long as anyone else - yet, do nothing! This reeks of suspicious click activity and fraud.

I'll be honest with you. I feel like I've been duped and I'm not happy about it.

Please refund the $1,000 that I paid last - Inv. #16631 on 10/03/06. I still have the majority of these credits remaining and do not wish to use them.

In fact, I feel that I should be refunded ALL the money that I spent with RedZee for worthless traffic; however, I am willing to just cut my losses as long as you refund my credit card the last $1,000 that was billed.

My only other option would be to call the BBB and the Florida Attorney General and report Redzee for unfair and unethical business practices.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

You are welcome to contact me if you have any questions or comments.

--

Best Regards,

Clark...

...

...

...

...

#############

Their response was to have an "Internet Tech Guy" call me a tell me that I was interpreting the data incorrectly. This Tech Guy wasted over an hour of my time on the phone and ran me around in circles trying to confuse me.

In the end, I was told that the money I had paid was not refundable. The analogy used was, "Go buy a $20 phone card and try to stick it back in the machine and see if you get your money back."

After that conversation, I am convinced that RedZee Search is driving fraudulent traffic to their customer's websites - known as "click fraud."

In addition, I found it to be completely unreasonable that they would not even agree to refund the credits which I have yet to use and refused to even cancel my account.

Clark

Columbus, Nebraska

U.S.A.

***********************************

Now, after reading this, I'll be filing a complaint with The Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) as well.

Phil Morris said...

Well, RedZee are still doing it. I paid $1800 for over 10,000 visits to my home page, and nothing (<1%) beyond that.

How about a class action lawsuit?

Anonymous said...

Wow,

It seems like there are clones of the clones. Amazing how many websites have been created to do the same type of search engine data merging, and making claims that they can place your website at the number one position of Google Search and others.

Most of the websites making claims today of a number one position in Google Search are outright lies. Either they are merging their results with the original search engine results and displaying the merged results on their spyware, malware, and phishing network of infected computers, or are making promises of a number one position in the search engines for keywords that are seldom searched for keyword phrases.

Many of these websites and companies entice their prospects with a price that sounds fair, (not too expensive and not too cheap) and that is how they get new customers everyday. Many of the companies actually operate with many websites all doing the same exact thing. They just do a slight re-brand and tell the world that they are number one.

Warning! Do your due diligence before investing any money in this type of keyword advertising scheme.

Anonymous said...

OnlineBannersNow is a giant scam that actually operates under a couple different names such as NetBannersOnline, Redzee and a host of others.

The sales pitch is that you can buy the keywords that you want and they will place your website (not an ad) on top of all the key search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN among others. When you do your demo you asked to "update" your browser which, of course, they happen to have handy. After you have installed this "update" you can magically see the top of your website in a window on top of the search page. It looks like a great idea! You can immediately see how that would drive traffic to your site better than PPC.

The problem is the so called “update” to your browser is nothing more than a file that presents an Iframe on your system. This is so that when you can see your website atop the search page (on your computer.) It looks great. But, no one else can see it but you (and anyone else that has fallen for this scam and then only if they happen to look up the keyword you bought.) Absolutely nobody! You will get a song and dance about the millions of people that have downloaded this on Download.com. But if you try it, it won’t be in the download. They do say they don't guaranty sales, just traffic. There is a good reason for that.

I started to look more closely at my web stats when I had this huge increase in traffic with absolutely no increase in sales (a mathematical impossibility). What I found was that ALL the increase in traffic came from the same URL. Guess who? In fact I got nearly the same stats every day on each keyword. Kind of strange since one keyword had 5-times more searches on Google than the other. So I called EVERY person that purchased from me over a three week period and NOT ONE PERSON saw our web site on the top of the search page. So I asked them to do me a favor and Google my keywords. NOT ONE saw what I did. NOT ONE!

When Google saw that all my traffic was coming from a single URL and that their search page was being mirrored they slapped me down. Admittedly I have never been on page one for my keywords but I was up as far as page three when I signed on. I am now on page 64! Kind of strange for a program that is supposed to "improve" your SEO through increased traffic.

When I asked to cancel for my guaranteed 30-day refund (now over two weeks ago) I was told he would “look into it.” Since that time not a single phone call has been returned or email answered. I wonder why?

This scam I later find has been done a number of times under different names. They all eventually disappear and surface under a different name later. There are also a huge number of articles about how great this is all over the internet. Most written by the same guy all directing you to his site. He even passes himself off as an SEO guru for credibility. When I talked to REAL SEO specialists over at our local college they all told me that Google watches for this so you can’t scam the system by just looking yourself up. When they see the con they slap it.

Do yourself a favor and stay away from this one. It will not work and you will lose your money as well as any chance of seeing any SEO improvement.

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