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Religious group urging email recipients to click sponsored links

Would Ask care?

11:53 am on Mar 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator anallawalla is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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A UK service helps fund-raising groups by giving them an Ask search box for their website. Their site looks above board and a few sites have placed the search box with nothing obvious on their sites.

Last week I got one of those "pass it on" emails originating from a religious group in London. It urged recipients to make their search page the default home page for one's browser and to click the sponsored ads because "We get 6 pence if you click one of the “sponsored” links at the top and 5 pence for any other link that you click."

I checked Snopes and didn't see such an email doing the rounds, so I wrote to the original writer and said that it looked fishy and I didn't like clicking fishy links. To my surprise, the organisation confirmed that the email is genuine.

Any idea why Ask would pay for clicking a regular search result (not the sponsored links)?

Although I don't advertise on Ask, I don't think advertisers would be pleased to have their ads clicked to raise funds for charities.