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Google AdSense User Experience Interview

has anyone else received this email purportedly from Google?

     
3:25 am on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hey folks - I just received an email from someone claiming to work with the User Experience Research Group at Google focusing on AdSense... and that they are conducting interviews with people who use AdSense, so they can gain a better understanding of how to improve the product experience... and they would like to invite me to participate... Blah.. Blah... Blah...

Checking the email header info... it looks like the email MIGHT be legitimate - received from... blah,blah,blah, (spaceape9.eur.corp.google.com [172.28.16.143])

Bottom-line, they want to conduct about an hour-long telephone interview while simultaneously being connected to my computer & my AdSense account... they said it would only take a few minutes for them to establish temporary connection with my computer... which certainly sounds as cause for security/privacy concern to me!

Just a sounding of the alarm in case it's someone trying to run a scam... But, even if it is real, do I want to allow Google to access my computer in such a manner?

Here's the IP address look-up Results (not conclusive)

IP address: 172.28.16.143
Reverse DNS: [No reverse DNS entry per prisoner.iana.org.]
Reverse DNS authenticity: [Unknown]
ASN: 16559
ASN Name: REALCONNECT-01
IP range connectivity: 1
Registrar (per ASN): ARIN
Country (per IP registrar): *I [[Private IP]]
Country Currency: Unknown
Country IP Range: 172.16.0.0 to 172.31.255.255
Country fraud profile: Normal
City (per outside source): Unknown
Country (per outside source): -- []
Private (internal) IP? Yes
IP address registrar: whois.arin.net
Known Proxy? No

[edited by: alwaysthinking at 3:35 am (utc) on April 18, 2007]

3:34 am on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Why the heck would they need to connect to your computer, or AdSense account?

They'd lose me right there.

Other than that, try a Google search for, User Experience Research Group at Google, if you haven't already.

3:38 am on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Good idea, ken_b... I'll do that now. This looks very suspicious to me.
3:50 am on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It appears Google does have such research groups... BUT the online FAQ concerning their activities falls short of requiring access to one's computer (unless this is a new program).

Anyway, until I learn otherwise, I'm treating this as a scam & advise other webmasterworld members to be on the look-out for similar such emails.

12:04 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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For what it's worth, a couple of months ago I sent some feedback to Google regarding my own experiences of the AdSense program and two days ago received a message from a "member of the Google AdSense team" asking if I would like to be interviewed by phone for half an hour in the next week or so. The message mentions by name the person I corresponded with earlier when I first submitted the feedback and the header info is similar (although not identical) to that you've received. I'm pretty sure the mail I've received is genuine but there's no mention of connecting to my computer in it, nor can I imagine why they would want to do so (the only scenario I could think of would be in relation to the AdWords admin tool, rather than anything to do with AdSense). Probably best to contact them direct and ask for confirmation.
1:48 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I received that e-mail too. I carefully read it and saved it in file cabinet #13. I consider that sort of e-mail simply BS.

I don't let anyone get into my computer, period.

12:22 am on Apr 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I got the email last night and was wondering the same about it. It sounds and looks legit except for the connecting to computer part. No reason for it and they shouldn't need my help to show them my account.

Perhaps it's a poorly worded seminar type thing with interactivity? Or are we just supposed to fall in line and trust whatever the big G says. At this point, it's just filed away and I'm not responding. Maybe they'll try again in another way if everyone ignores it.

2:36 am on Apr 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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We got it too. Very odd indeed. Thought the same thing as you all. I'm very suspicious. It's somewhat legit looking that the reply email is directly to google, and aside from the (650) area code, no other way to get back to them except the valid google address. And what’s even stranger - do they not have access to our account? What does our computer show them - unless it helps us navigate for them to see what we do.

Good luck, we're staying clear.

3:24 am on Apr 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Are they going to pay you for your time?
4:08 am on Apr 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Are they going to pay you for your time?

They mentioned that they are offering a $75 AMEX gift check in appreciation of your time and expertise.

6:42 am on Apr 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Anyone concerned should forward the email to adsense-support@google.com and ask if it's legit.
1:56 pm on Apr 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Man, that's scary. I'd not waste my time on it.
5:00 pm on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hi everyone,

I've spoken to our product and user experience teams and they wanted to confirm that these invitations are legitimate.

The reason the team asks to connect to your AdSense account is that they want users to walk them through their websites and accounts so that they can observe what publishers do on a day-to-day basis.

Still, we certainly appreciate your caution before allowing anyone else to access your AdSense account. It's always smart to double-check messages like these, as you all know.

Hope that clears things up,
-ASA

 

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