Thursday, November 12, 2009

More News in Battles Over Internet Marketing Scams

Techcrunch has another post news from the social network gaming scams this evening. It sounds like there's been a class action lawsuit filed against a number of the game companies who provide the infrastructure for the scammers. The ScamVille Lawsuit: Facebook, MySpace, Zynga And More Face Possible Class Action Suit gives you the story and some interesting related links.

After two weeks, you might think that this story would have run it's course, but I think we're just getting started.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More from the Dark Side of Internet Marketing

Techcrunch has a post up about congressional hearings next week into the marketing practices of a number of companies with linked to some questionable ecommerce practices. Similar to the social network gaming scams, the practice in question here involves getting consumers locked into a monthly subscribed charge that is very difficult to cancel. Here's how Michael Arrington describes the scam:
Immediately after an ecommerce transaction takes place, buyers are presented with an offer to take a survey and/or get a partial rebate on their purchase. If they click yes, their credit card information is transferred to the ecommerce company and the user begins a difficult-to-terminate subscription to a worthless service.
It's worth noting that the companies that have received letters about testifying are not fly-by-night scam businesses. Most are actually names that you will immediately recognize.
The companies that received letters:, AirTran Holdings Inc. (AAI), Classmates Online Inc., Continental Airlines Inc. ( CAL), FTD, Fandango Inc., Hotwire Inc., Intelius Inc., Inc., Orbitz, Pizza Hut,, Redcats USA, Shutterfly Inc. (SFLY), US Airways Group Inc. (LCC) and Vistaprint USA Inc.
So why would they participate in this type of business? Arrington notes that,
Ecommerce sites that use these types of offers can get CPMs for the ads ranging from $2,000 – $2,500, say experts we’ve spoken with, and they make up a material percentage of revenue.
The full post, Next Week: U.S. Senate Committee Hearing On Aggressive Internet Sales Tactics, has more links and example of what the offer looks like. Check it out.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Updated: Marketing the Social Gaming Ecosystem - A Series of TechCrunch Posts

Over the weekend, I was following a series of posts on Techcrunch that I wanted to share with you. As I've mentioned before, in following the job boards, there are a couple of types of jobs in the marketing category that I see popping up a lot recently. One of those revolves around marketing and lead gen for an assortment of social network start-ups. While there are trade-offs with any opportunity and any work environment, this is an interesting look at one market where the demand for marketing people is active. Hopefully, you'll find it educational. Caveat Emptor.

Here are the links presented in the order that they were posted:
Social Games: How The Big Three Make Millions
Scamville: The Social Gaming Ecosystem Of Hell
Two Companies That Said No To Social Media Scams
How To Spam Facebook Like A Pro: An Insider’s Confession
Scamville: Zynga Says 1/3 Of Revenue Comes From Lead Gen And Other Offers
Zynga Takes Steps To Remove Scams From Games

Techcrunch has continued to follow this story. Here are three more links on the topic.
Offerpal Tries Out A New CEO. Shukla, Queen Of Scams, Is Out.
ScamVille: New Offerpal CEO Admits Mistakes, Makes Bold Promises
Zynga CEO Mark Pincus: “I Did Every Horrible Thing In The Book Just To Get Revenues”

More news. After Zynga's CEO vowed to remove this type of advertising, they started running again. An interesting aspect is that they actually tweaked Michael Arrington's account so that it wouldn't display any of the offers. Here are more links:
“Horrible Things” Slink Back Into Zynga
Zynga’s FishVille Sleeps With The Fishes For Ad Violations
Zynga To Remove All In Game Offers