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Travellers taken for a ride on US visas

Scammers advertising via Google

     
8:41 pm on Apr 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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"UNOFFICIAL websites charging Australian travellers to the US for mandatory security checks that should be free are still occupying top paid-for spots on Google despite the US Government complaining about the scam."

[smh.com.au...]

Presumably these will also appear in AdSense on travel sites!

8:48 pm on Apr 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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A new U.S. government rule requests travellers from Australia to complete a free online form. Companies have sprung up with official looking websites charging for guides to the forms. The U.S. consulate has asked Google to take down the AdWords ads but the article states Google affirmed they are legitimate sites that aren't breaking any laws.
6:44 am on Apr 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

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For better or worse, depending on your perspective, there appears to be nothing criminal about charging people for what they could get for free if they knew where to look.

As an example, I think back to my wife's AOL account. At some point, AOL decided to give away the basic content that came with their interface. Uninformed, we were still paying a monthly charge for same. A friend told me that AOL Basic Services had been free for some time.

When I called AOL, they informed me that I had "chosen" to continue paying for the now free services. After some haggling while pointing out the absurdity of such a policy, they refunded the most recent monthly payments.

Is exploiting my ignorance right? Probably, yes in "legal" terms. Is it ethical? Not by my personal code of business anyway.

********

I could go on about every auto-rebill and auto-ship that I've been taken for in the past. I can't always be on top of these things else I'd get nothing else done. I can't always spend valuable time pursuing class action suits when such behaviour goes way over the top.

These exploitations do leave a bad taste in my mouth. But they do appear to be "legal".

********

Needless to say, you don't have to worry that I'll market a PPC e-book of tips and tricks culled from tips and tricks found in Adwords help and other sources. I need to sleep at night ;)

Still, as long as such offerings fall into a "grey area", all should be on the lookout for similar schemes. Some people catch shuteye more easily than I...

Israel

1:49 pm on Apr 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

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from google.com/corporate/
"Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."

Useful, to me, would seem to lead to indicating to these information seekers that a perfectly legitimate and efficient free alternative exists.

Then again, I like that G doesn't act as the price police... what if they only showed search results for the lowest priced merchant offering any particular item...

So I'm a tad torn on exactly where they should be... generally, if they make the free site available for people to see and easily choose, i'd say it's incumbent on that free site to indicate their legitimacy at zero cost, and everything's as it should be.

 

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