Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Clickbait Scam

Why do people want you to click on links?  Because they make money!

A comment appears in my inbox today:

Please for Christ sake please help me
I need your help and support to help PAY MY Tuition Fees. I need your only 3 to 5 minutes approximately

What you have to do is
1.go to and search "*******************"
2.then visit my blog from the the search results.
3.Remain on the page i.e **** for one minute or so and do some random surfing
4. click ONE of the ads that appeals to you from AdChoices and visit there.
5.remain on that page for one minute or so and do some random surfing.
and that's it.

NOTE: Only ONE click is needed.
I will be grateful to you.
May God Bless You.

What is up with this?   It appears to be a clickbait scam, which is becoming more and more popular on the Internet.  A lot of websites, blogsites, and other sites out there are nothing more than SEO (Search Engine Optimized) Clickbait.  How does this work?  And why?

Well, to begin with, Internet advertisers are dumb enough to pay "click revenue".  If you go to a site and see an ad, the owner of the site might get some revenue from that.  But, if they CLICK on an ad, they get even more revenue.   And if they BUY from the ad, they might get even more.

In theory, it makes sense, as you are selling eyeballs, one pair at a time, to advertisers.  No Nielsen funny-stuff, where they project "ratings" based on what some fat chick in the trailer park watches all day on her Nielsen-equipped TeeVee.  Rather, you pay for each view.

Granted, the amount paid is not much - fractions of a cent at most.   But if you can get thousands and thousands of people to look at your blog and click on a link, well, it could result in some revenue for you.

Of course, the links are often for odious deals.  What am I saying?   This is the Internet!  Nearly all ads on the Internet are for odious deals.  And that is one reason I DO NOT MONETIZE THIS BLOG - as the sidebar ads that would appear (based on key-word context) would be for the very agencies that I am decrying.

Is the guy posting the comment doing anything illegal? Well, he might be violating the ToS of AdChoices, but I have no sympathy for Internet Advertisers.  And he is SPAMMING my comments section, as well as that of others (a search of the text of the above message finds identical copies in hundreds of blogs).

And, he really should get a job.

More and more today, we are seeing these types of "Content Farms" that are generated by people, often from overseas, that are designed to get clicks from Google or other sites.   For example, I search for a review of a particular brand of automobile and I get a hit on Google from a site called "AutosNow!" or some such B.S.   The "article" is written in pidgin English, clearly by someone from India or Africa (e.g., "the feature of this cars are most amazing!") and the article contains little real data.

Other sites are just conglomeration of words and text and garbage - with lots of sidebar ads.  And still other sites, well, they've copied MY CONTENT from this blog and re-pasted it with some sidebar ads.

What's the harm in all this?   Well, to begin with, most of this "content" has no content, so it wastes your time when you are searching for real, hard data.   Hopefully, Google and other search engines will realize they are being played for a patsy and filter out garbage content sites.

And hopefully, internet advertisers will realize that the clicks they are paying for are garbage clicks - views by people who are not viewing at all.

But the whole thing underscores one fundamental truth:  NEVER, EVER, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, click on an Internet Ad.   They are never good bargains, and usually are for rip-offs, raw deals, or scams.  And the same is true for "paid hits" on Google or other search engines.

Do your research independently and contact sites independently.   People who use saturation advertisements on the Internet are never going to give you a "good deal" or even "one trick to the tiny belly".

But then again, you already knew that, I hope.