I have to admit, I’ve become a Mob Wars addict lately. On one page of the game, it offers you points to help you if you, “fill out one of these offers.” It looks like this:
Unfortunately, it is a scam, and I strongly caution you not to fill any of these out. And if you’re advertising a product, don’t pay to be on a list like this. I’ll explain why…
Why you should stay away
I decided to be adventurous and see what would happen if I filled out one of these forms. I have a Yahoo! e-mail address I don’t use, a PO Box address so I don’t have junk mail hitting me at home, and a Google Voice phone number so I can block out telemarketing scum. In short, if I ever need to fill out an online form, I’m Teflon. I hope.
Anyway, once you do fill out one of these surveys, you are then required (though they didn’t tell you this when you began) to complete an “offer from one of our sponsors.” That looks like this:
I sought out the one I figured would be least likely to get back to me – a college loan company that supposedly gives education grands to soldiers. I’m too old for the military and have never served, so this looked like as safe a bet as I was going to find. Once I’d done that, though, I still wasn’t shown my Mob Wars points – there were more offers shown to me. At least I had the option to skip these, until I found one that I couldn’t. And this is where things looked downright insideous:
See the graphics that didn’t load? They meant I could go no further. I had a lot of patience while doing this, figuring if I could just make it through all their offers and surveys I’d eventually get the promised Mob Wars points. This page made sure they I wouldn’t, but that these companies still had my contact information, and, if I had given them real addresses and phone numbers, would be hounding me until long after I am dead.
Now, you may have already seen these forms, and decided on sight they wouldn’t give you what they promise. I’m here to tell you you’re right – stay away from them. They’re a scam, and they’ll see to it they ruin your day.
Why you shouldn’t advertise this way
I am sure the company that provides this advertising model (Super Rewards) tells the people they sell services to that, “You’re getting targeted traffic on Facebook!” That can be enough for very lazy people do sign a contract, as many businesses have.
But each lead isn’t targeted, or high quality – they’re from people playing games on Facebook who are willing to fill out a form or sign up for an offer to get some help. What each of these companies gets is someone who wishes they would go away. I can only imagine how many companies will get the contact information I provided.
Besides not getting quality leads, they become bothersome, and generate negative buzz. If I were to get a call a week from the military education grant company, you can bet I would be telling everyone within earshot of this horrible company and their non-stop calls to get my money. With a blog, a Twitter account, a Facebook page and a YouTube channel, you can very safely bet your ass that I can make a LOT of people hear my complaining. And I’m nothing special – EVERYONE has access to these loudspeakers!
There’s a reason Don Lapre is universally vilified: His victims have access to universal communications.
This kind of advertising wouldn’t exist if so many companies didn’t pay for these services. It’s easy to blame this Super Rewards company, that will surely have a new name in a couple of years. But they wouldn’t be able to take advantage of people in this way if there was no one paying them to do so. The number of companies that do this are legion, and should certainly be informed that these ads are not helping them.
What is Facebook doing with these people?
If ever there was an argument for charging a subscription fee for Facebook, this is it. Facebook needs money – they offer a free service, and have yet to find a way to monetize it. In fact, each time they try to leverage their user lists or find a new way to sell advertising, they get into trouble for it. Somehow, this kind of advertising has flown under everyone’s radar as something worth complaining about. So they keep doing business with these kinds of companies.
If anyone at Facebook does read this, I would like a response: Why don’t you quality check these offer sites? If the author of Mob Wars is actually the one responsible for these ads, why aren’t you doing any quality checking of their advertising, since it is on your site, and accessed by your users? Why do you allow them to make claims that, “completing one offer” will result in getting some reward? These claims are false. If you don’t look at what companies like this do, the advertisers aren’t the only ones who won’t be trusted. All Facebook ads could get the reputation for false claims, false promises, and continuous telemarketing calls.
Keep in mind, I went in knowing it was a fool’s errand. There are groups of users all over Facebook just like this one, complaining about not receiving their offer rewards, and finding proof of fraud from Super Rewards. Why is nothing ever done? Why does Facebook continue to do business with these sites?
How much complaining does Facebook require before they decide something is actually wrong?
10 years ago, advertisers ponied up for banner ads in droves. Enough people clicked on to get pop-ups, cookies that invaded their privacy, telemarketers, spam e-mails… and then they stopped clicking on them altogether. It took years for these kinds of ads to come back as a viable marketing tool, mostly because major sites like Yahoo! and MSN quality controlled the ads, and forbade certain companies from buying this space. Today, people still click on an eBay banner with confidence, because eBay hasn’t ever steered someone wrong. They also stay away from any banner that asks about your credit score, because so many of these companies have.
Facebook needs to control who can advertise as well, lest they completely ruin their advertising platform.
In the meantime, be very wary of what you click on and what information you share when someone has a “deal” for you. I’ve never met a single person who got a, “free Xbox just for filling out this form!”
BTW, Coming soon: How to tool your Google Voice account to screen out telemarketers.