If you surf the web for any amount of time, you’ll likely see a number of ads and “news” stories designed to get you to mouse over and click. They look intriguing of course, but at the same time subtly suggest that you may be led to a disreputable website, or at the very least duped into looking at or listening to some kind of time-wasting nonsense.
Here are some of the most popular ads and links designed to pique your interest enough to give them a click.
There is another version of this that proclaims “Ellen Dropped by Covergirl,” a sister post if you will. Both lead to the same place, a site called womanswaymag.org. While that web address suggests it’s the home page of a magazine geared towards women, it is in fact a landing page for a skin care product. It insists that Oprah Winfrey and Ellen Degeneres use this product as opposed to Clinique and Covergirl which they endorse respectively. A Google search reveals several similar landing pages extolling the virtues of this “miracle” cream. One has the web address scholarshipguides.com. Wait, what?
The claims that Winfrey or Degeneres use the product are likely false. According to US News & World Report. Winfery, for one, has sued several Internet vendors for improperly using her likeness.
[Your town] rattled by new website
Bit of a letdown, this one. Clicking on this ad, often designed to look like a news story or blog post, leads to a site called InstatCheckmate.com that conducts public records searches for a fee. The website contains several posts or “articles” that explain why you should use such a service.
It’s pricey; $24 a month for unlimited search capabilities. Handy if you’re curious about what is on file out there about you, or a potential date, or business associate, however reviews on the accuracy of Instant Check Mate’s data could not be determined. It may waste your money, but is otherwise harmless as web security firm Norton reports no problems or threats connected to the site.
Shocking! Important information that could be affecting your food supply
There are several versions of this, most of which start with the word “shocking.” One, “Shocking! The Government Does Not Want You to Know What We Discovered,” uses as the thumbnail picture an image of a giant squid, which has nothing to do with the landing page to which you are directed. Making its round on Facebook the message was a bit more forthcoming, displaying a YouTube video that talked about the “American Parasite.”
While it’s a great name for a punk rock band, it’s hardly a threat. The “parasite” is candida (another great band name if you’re looking for one). What is candida? Yeast. The company behind the landing page is Keybiotics, and they are ready to help you combat the American Parasite— for a price of course. The website TruthinAdvertising.org gives a skeptical and more detailed account of Keybiotics on its website.
New rule in [your town]
Neither the words “new” nor “rule” are applicable as it turns out. Clicking on this one will take you to an auto insurance company’s landing page. There’s quite a bit of exaggeration involved, but nothing overtly deceptive. It says right at the top of the page “Advertisement,” and along the bottom disclosure clearly explains that it’s not a news article, blog, or consumer protection update. The purpose is simply to get you to compare your car insurance with companies affiliated with a website called FreeRateReport.com.
The new rule, which isn’t new and isn’t really a rule, is: “NEVER buy insurance without comparing all of the discounts online first,” according to the landing page. Consumers are presumably furious because they have allegedly been paying far too much for their auto insurance. It’s an arduous way of reminding you that various factors, both external and internal, can affect your insurance rates up or down, and to review and compare your policy periodically.
Everyone loves a good list, right? Of course. You’re reading this one after all. Answers.com, Clipd.com, and other sites have been trying to capitalize on this for a while now. Using promoted social media posts, as well as teaser posts on other websites, Answers.com, and sites like it, entice the web surfer primarily with lists about pop culture, sports, general interest, and more. They range from mildly informative to hastily thrown together trivial nuggets.
Posts from Answers.com and Clipd.com are mostly about the popular culture, movies, and TV series such as The Big Bang Theory and illustrate the varying degrees of quality. Answers.com, for example, offers a rundown on what the stars of that particular series did before landing their roles on the show. Clipd.com, on the other hand, gives us “13 Secrets Revealed About The Big Bang Theory,” very few of which are secrets to fans of the show. One, which looks at the location of the apartment building given as 2311 North Robles Avenue in Pasadena, California in the show, could have been made far more interesting if the author had Googled the address and discussed the results.
In case you’re wondering, there is a street named North Robles in Pasadena, but it dead ends into East Woodbury Road in the 2000 block. The domed structure seen outside the window of Sheldon and Leonard’s window? That’s Pasadena City Hall. Judging from the view though, the apartment would likely be on South Robles near Colorado Boulevard. You’re welcome.
Americans to be hit hard by new currency law that went into effect July 1st, 2014
This one started appearing in early in 2014, presumably hoping to get a head start scaring people about a real piece of legislation that indeed did go into effect on July 1, 2014. After that date, the headline was altered slightly, but the fear factor was not.
The hubbub centers on a bill in the House of Representatives called H.R. 2847. Urban legend debunkers Snopes.com give a detailed analysis of information contained within the landing page that tries to explain why H.R. 2847 is so dire. Essentially, if you pony up $149 you can get all the information you need to protect yourself, your family, and the American way of life from this law.
To click or not to click?
In most cases, clicking on one of these links won’t have any ill-effects except for maybe wasting your time. If your virus software is up to data, and you trust the site where the link or ad is posted, you can give in to temptation. If you end up on a site you’re not familiar with, or looks spammy, and there’s a link there to something enticing, be weary.
Research and insights for this article were provided by Check ‘n Go.
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