how to avoid online marketing scams and ripoffs

Download How to Avoid Online Marketing Scams and Ripoffs

Post on 27-May-2015




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The online marketing world is full of ways for people to be the victim of some form of scam. Here are the top 5 exploits less than scrupulous providers of online marketing services employ - being aware of these and taking some elementary precautions can dramatically lower your chance of getting ripped off.


  • 1. WARNING You are entering a BS free zone

2. Exploit #1 Law of the High Seas in cross border transactions 3. When you buy products or services online from another country you effectively dont have any legal protection The laws of your country dont apply to something sourced outside your country Law enforcement from the vendors country are likely to be disinterested unless the offence takes place inside that country 4. Even when you buy online from within your own country, dont expect much help You will be seen as a business customer and not a consumer, which typically provides less legal protection If things are not right, its up to you to prove the case and its simply not worth the effort and cost unless the amount of money involved is large 5. Treat your purchases as full and final and once you have paid do not expect you will ever get this money back. If you arent happy to make the purchase under these effective terms, then dont make the purchase 6. Exploit #2 Easily faked reputations 7. Not only was Groucho was right, but he would have laughed at how easy it has become to fake your reputation on the internet 8. Take a sellers reputation, testimonials, income claims, and even peer referrals with a grain of salt as these are regularly and convincingly exaggerated or totally fabricated. Would you make that purchase without any of the reassurances and testimonials? If not, then dont buy. 9. Exploit #3 True identities are easy to mask 10. It is very easy to disguise many aspects of the true identity of an individual or company online Most purchasers are inclined to take statements made at face value, and this fact is often exploited It can be difficult to obtain validation because references and other substantiating evidence is also easily faked 11. We checked out a company offering some similar services to us in the area of social media activity Payment was in US$ Nothing on the site indicated where the business was located, ownership, principals, etc however there was reference to a Facebook Fan Page The Facebook Fan page gave the full address which was confirmed by Google Maps, as a respected Midtown Manhattan address This was further substantiated by a Manhattan area code 212 telephone number However the domain was registered to a company in Chennai, India Further investigation revealed the US address to be a sham and the business totally operating from India 12. You need to be aware how easy it is to promote a false identity online, and the less scrupulous will position themselves with an identity that appears bona fide and rings no warning bells. Scrutinize everything with care and look for anything that is slightly out of place like spelling or grammatical mistakes, things not explained as they should be, or an address too good to be true. Any group misleading the purchaser about their identity, location or any other factor should be avoided totally, and if the integrity of the provider is important you should seek to validate the information (see next slide) 13. Validating an Online Identity/Bona Fides Check social media identities for depth and consistency. It is increasingly difficult to maintain a false identity as well as credible multiple social media profiles for any length of time. Warning signs of a flaky identity include no social media profiles, very recent profiles, activity that is superficial and lacks depth of 2-way engagement, excessive duplication between social media channels or a general lack of believability when you scan recent posts Check the LinkedIn profiles of the owner(s) or senior management Failure to clearly indicate the individual(s) behind the business is an initial warning sign why would this be the case? When identified, search for these individuals initially on LinkedIn. While this is not foolproof, if the individual does not appear or the information is inconsistent, this is a further warning sign Undertake a Bing or Google search on the company ID and the names of the principals 14. Validating an Online Identity/Bona Fides Undertake a Bing or Google search on the company ID and the names of the principals Be aware that if this group or person is seriously trying to portray a false identity there will likely be a web of identities or URLs that will appear to substantiate one another. So look for authority sites or websites that appear only once and are not connected with any others in the search as possibly being of more value. Try adding a few terms such as scam, quality, true identity, real identity to the search to see what might appear Undertake a WhoIS search on the organisation There are many different WhoIS providers and services look for inconsistencies! 15. Exploit #4 Originality, ownership and copyright uncertainties 16. The purchaser of online marketing resources including content or software expects (whether stated or not) that what they receive is original and does not carry a nasty sting in the tail by being a copyright infringement Unfortunately as many have discovered, this cannot be guaranteed and you need to take specific steps to lower your risks in this area 17. Ensuring You Receive Original Material When requesting any material including graphics, text, or software to be written or created for you: State clearly on the instructions that the material must be original, and it must not use any material that is subject to copyright or any other form of confidentiality or protection State clearly that all intellectual property rights including copyright are to be in your name as the owner Also state that at the completion of the contract the provider is to pass to you the original source files of all material produced and must certify that all copies have been deleted or destroyed These requests will by no means prevent something nasty happening but they do signal you are serious about the issue and not an easy mark, which is likely to discourage unscrupulous behaviour 18. Ensuring You Receive Original Material There are also checks you can undertake and/or insist are undertaken to help ensure originality. Here are a number of online plagiarism checking applications And for images 19. Exploit #5 Exposure of private and sensitive information 20. Purchasing online marketing support often requires information to be shared or made available for access which could be mis-used This may include login details and passwords for websites and control panels, email addresses and passwords, confidential files and personal information For example a contractor asked to set up a new company website including hosted email may openly be given: Full admin/super admin access to both front-end and back-end control panels including access to and ability to modify HTML and CSS files. In cases where more than one website is hosted together this extends to all the companys websites Knowledge of all company email addresses and potentially ability to access emails via administrator privileges Knowledge of and access to login details for other company systems environments, etc 21. The dangers are real An Australian based online retailer engaged via a well known online contracting marketplace a company in South Asia to build a new online store. Initial and mid project milestone payments were made in good faith, however there were repeated failures to deliver and the developers admitted to having installed incompatible versions of shopping cart and CMS software and their attempts to remediate had created such complexity they requested approval to start over with the correct versions The client elected to decline and terminated the contractor, writing off the amounts paid and changing logins and passwords for the site About one week later the clients entire online environment vanished. As the hosting company commented this was the work of anonymous but highly skilled operators who removed all traces with precision. It was like going to work one morning to find that the skyscraper next door had been demolished overnight and in its place was a perfectly manicured park with no sign there had ever been a building there 22. The dangers are real The CEO of an Asian company recent;y had a call from his bank, just confirming they had received his instructions and were about to transfer a 7-figure sum to an account in the Middle East. This was the first he had heard of the issue Several months before he had outsourced the setup of a new website host and company emails, including his own The job had been done smoothly without any problem and that was the last he had thought about the matter Because the issue demanded no attention and was Out of sight, out of mind he neglected to change administration password for the company email system allowing his and his employees emails to be viewed without anyones knowledge Over time enough information was obtained for his identity to be replicated and he was saved from a financial disaster by a thin margin 23. The dangers are real A US based online entrepreneur regularly outsourced product and content creation and website development tasks to a variety of contractors scattered across the world A prolific and successful Twitter user, he possessed a well known and memorable Twitter handle and also many tens of thousands of engaged Twitter followers Without warning one morning he was unable to post a Tweet, and found himself unable to log in to Twitter. Attempts to change his password or recover login details were unsuccessful Twitter were not able to help as as far as they were concerned HE was the impostor He then received an email from a person statin