How to Make Easy Money on Google

Jun 27th

Want To Make a Living on Google Money?

AdAge has a good post about how Google's promotion of fraudulent advertising is undermining their brand...

In a world of double-digit unemployment and old-line industries in mid-collapse, here's a sales pitch tailor-made for the times: "Get Paid by Google."

It's a pitch that's compelling millions of people to visit sites such as Kevinlifeblog.com, Scottsmoneyblog.com, Maryslifeblog.com and Googlemoneytree.com, all promising some variation on one theme: Just buy our guide and we'll teach you how to make thousands from Google, right in the privacy of your own home!

Google's 5-Step Easy Money Process

  1. Find a high paying affiliate program which sells a product about how easy it is to make money on Google.
  2. Ideally the program will just charge for shipping to get the credit card details, and make most of the money through back end reverse billing fraud.
  3. Create a fake blog (or fake news site) complete with fake comments about how you lost your job, this program took you from zero to hero. And it makes you 6 figures a year.
  4. Do keyword research to find freshly desperate and unemployed people.
  5. Create ads targeting those people and market them through Google AdWords.

Drug Dealers ***ARE*** Affiliated With Their Drugs

The surprising thing about this process is that Google claims no affiliation to these ads. From the above AdAge article

"As Google is not affiliated with these sites, we can't comment on individual claims," a [Google] spokesman said.

Nice try, but Google ***is*** affiliated with such offers, since they create the distribution channel. Just as a guy who just happens to have a boat load of cocaine he is distributing to clients ***is*** affiliated with the drugs if he is caught in possession.

Businesses Are Responsible for Their Own Business Strategy

Google gives webmasters this guideline "Your site’s reputation can be affected by who you link to." Why shouldn't it apply to Google as well?

As long as Google has 30%+ profit margins they are making a BUSINESS DECISION to run these fraudulent ads. They could spend 1% of revenue on cleaning up this issue (if they wanted to), but they are making a choice not to. Hal Varian has probably done the math, and the offers stay after repeated media exposure of the issue.

Google keeps running the ads because they want the revenue. And they know exactly how much revenue comes from scamming consumers with these ads:
Get Rich Quick with Google.

Amoral Ad Networks Constantly Promote Fraud

Is risked mis-priced? Is an asset class overvalued due to fraud? Are consumers unaware of a new type of fraud?

It does not matter where there is a bubble in the economy - amoral ad networks will find it. As Jay Weintraub put it:

The truly complex part of the problem comes from the size of the un-branded continuity program market and just how much it is helping certain companies hit their numbers, along with what happens were it to go away. In so many respects, the current fakevertising trend is the 2008-9 equivalent of the mortgage advertising boom from 2002-2006.

Not surprising that yield based ad systems promote the biggest scams in the marketplace. Mortgage fraud was a multi-trillion dollar industry, and even as the market heads south, there is still yet another way to exploit the public with ads by targeting their dire situation and desperation.

Could Fraudulent Ads Eventually Change the Web?

If the central network operators do not police their networks then eventually web users will stop trusting online advertising. That (plus pending affiliate regulation) could eventually lead to a significant thinning of competition for mindshare online. It might also push many media companies away from ad based business models to creating businesses built through actually taking money from real human customers.

Please Help Google Fix This Issue

Since Google has not put up consumer warnings and lots of consumers are getting ripped off, I believe it is our job as marketers to help warn consumers about this brazen looting and fraud. If you have a blog or website could you please write about this topic? Bonus points if you reference this post using keywords like "Google money" and "make money" as the anchor text such that we can try to rank a warning high up in the Google search results.

And if you write about this topic to help consumers and your site does not carry AdSense ads on it, please list it in the comments below such that anyone who comes to this page can see how big of an issue this has become.

Published: June 27, 2009

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Comments

June 27, 2009 - 3:08am

... and I did not pay them a dime.

Basically they say everything they know and best they know on their landing pages, sales letters, videos... only you have to be above the game, watch it like chess board from above and do not be one of peons who are going to die in first moves of the game...

Most important is do not be involved in that game... for example if you sell one jacuzzi or queen size bed you make 50-100 bucks for joining seller and customer only you have to find one and another and scale it.

June 27, 2009 - 8:11am

Nice work mate - added nod to this over at SEW. Let's hope this gets some attention and ranking so people really stop buying this crap and giving the industry such a bad name.

How are small businesses - and for that matter big ones - every to feel comfortable with SEO work etc. if they have been scammed by these sites?

http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/090627-024317

June 27, 2009 - 9:01am

Thanks a bunch Frank! :)

If you are coming to SES San Jose I will see you soon.

June 27, 2009 - 1:44pm

Here you go:

http://www.davewooding.com/is-this-a-scam/

This has been going on for far too long. Thanks for highlighting this issue.

Dave

June 28, 2009 - 3:19am

"they are making a BUSINESS DECISION to run these fraudulent ads"... yes Google is out to make money that is why I am always leery when Cutts starts telling ppl how to SEO and "best practices". Yeah... like nofollow. LOL! There is always a business angle in it somewhere even if we do not see it... even if it is just to keep Google top of mind. Yes I see these phony news sites etc as you point out more and more... even more so now that twitter has become more mainstream. Thanks for the article.
Jim

June 29, 2009 - 12:20am

Hey Aaron,

"If the central network operators do not police their networks then eventually web users will stop trusting online advertising. That (plus pending affiliate regulation) could eventually lead to a significant thinning of competition for mindshare online. It might also push many media companies away from ad based business models to creating businesses built through actually taking money from real human customers."

This part makes me wonder something, as it reminds me of an old post by you a while ago that made me think (where you mentioned the web would/might be a ton spammier in a few years from now than it is at the moment). If this hurt/destroeyed online advertising what would happen to e-commerce? I assume sites that get traffic the organic way and monetize it not using ads (but selling an actual product or an affiliate product with a strong&trusted brand) shouldnt be hurt too badly if web users started to distrust online advertising?

PS: speaking of double standards hehe I was just reminded of a video about "9-11" and conspiracy theorists (it was obviously done to counter the lose change video). The main plot of that show was to make conspiracy theorists (in particular the guys from "lose change") look bad saying "they suck because they just don't stick to the facts"......And then that show all of a sudden switched rather subtley to saying how mean it is of conspiracy theorists to still talk about that stuff, because it hurts the families of those victims so much (with lots of sad family members of the victims on film, of course)....Talk about sticking to cold hard facts (and double standards)!

June 29, 2009 - 9:50am

Here is my little contribution:

http://www.yvonh.com/internetmarketing/is-google-shooting-its-own-foot-b...

I suppose by not showing Adsense on our site, you meant "not misleading" readers (because those infamous scams would show up on Adsense ! )

June 30, 2009 - 6:32am

How do you feel about televition networks running ads for ringtones, horoscopes, sms dating services and similar offers? Are CNN, MTV, ABC, NBC, VH1, etc to be held liable for advertisers products? Do people get upset at the television networks for running the ads? Do people stop watching those networks becuase they get scammed by commercials?

June 30, 2009 - 9:15am

I recently saw an ad for an elephant fart ringtone and it made me feel sad about the state of society. I feel the goal/roll of the mainstream media is to make money by misinforming society. They do their job well.

But the big difference is that CNN doesn't push legislation to try to make undisclosed affiliate links illegal while also building out an ad network full of undisclosed affiliate links promoting reverse billing fraud scams.

To put it more bluntly, CNN doesn't warn me about the ads I chose to run on my own website.

  • If I promote what CNN promotes CNN does not call me a spammer.
  • If I promote what Google promotes Google does call me a spammer.
July 1, 2009 - 4:34pm

Hey Aaron,

your post (and something rather unfair that happened) sparked a thought in my head. I know most people who read this will consider me plain silly, because they are too attached to popular belief/what society says right and what's wrong, but you are obviously not like that. Here it goes:

Personally, I "feel" that ripping people off by selling them get rich quick schemes is "wrong" and "unfair". However that small, logical thinking person in my head thinks the following:

I would say that doing (perfectly "white hat") SEO is not fair, at all. Unfairness starts right at birth. You can't influence your genes, and your genes influence intelligence obviously. So by ranking a site in the top 10 you just moved another site at #11. Maybe that person is just as hard-working as you, however, because of the simple fact that you were born smarter than that person you move them out of the top 10. You make money. They lose money. If both of you are working as hard in that particular niche and intelligence makes the difference, then obviously it is not fair, at all.

Another example that comes to mind is if a great stock trader or a professional sports bettor constantly makes money with stocks (on the other side someone loses money everytime that person makes money). Of course intelligence plays a big part in who comes out the winner and who comes out the loser, too. The great stock trader knows each time he makes money, another person must lose money.

Thinking about it logically and rationally (detached from society's randomly formed values), how is this more fair (or "better") than making money by selling people junk products?

One is considered being "smart" or "outsmarting"/"outthinking" the competition. But I'd say thinking of it realistically it is plain unfair.

How is it really better than selling get rich quick schemes to make money?

PS: I have never sold a get rich quick scheme nor have I ever ripped anyone off, and dont plan on doing it anytime, soon. However, I fail to see how one is more fair than the other. Both times the person making money is out to make money "in the market" (translation: at the expense of someone else).

July 2, 2009 - 3:14pm

Businesses compete.
Some businesses create fraud.
Competition and fraud are not the same thing.

July 4, 2009 - 11:29pm

To be completely honest, I cant say this has convinced me. I'm not saying they're the same, but that competing in any market is never going to be anything close to fair (even if we like to think so) as long as people are born with different genes and thus different levels of intelligence & creativity, etc.. But I understand you dont have time to talk about this philosophical crap on here - I probably just should have kept it to myself, its just that something pretty unfair happened in my life (that Ive gotten over by now), which made me think about that stuff. Anyway, I never should have brought it up, really - I'll try to keep my comments a bit more on-topic in the future ;-)..sorry

July 4, 2009 - 11:37pm

Who decides what is fair? Would society be better off if all the smart and the competent and the hard working people were handicapped down to match the level of the dumb the incompetent and the lazy?

You need to read Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron

July 1, 2009 - 7:48pm

Hey Aaron,

Love your stuff - been a subscriber for over a year. Really a great job in illustrating Google's role in all this. We are in the very hard position of selling a completely legitimate, no free trial, no autobill, Acai supplement. This means that we spend most of our time writing about all the Acai Free Trial Scams out there and it is very FRUSTRATING.

We are stuck trying to explain Point #2 in your Google 5 Step Easy Money Process to consumers, who really have no idea these scams are going on. We hear day after day - "If these review sites are fake, how come they can advertise in Google?"

I just updated our Acai Scam Spotting Post to have a link back to this article -

http://www.powersupplements.com/blog/139/acai-berry-scams-oprah/

We have no Google ads on the site and I made sure to use "google money" in the anchor text - would love to see you on top for that search.

Let's review who loses with these scams..
1. Consumers who are scammed out of their money
2. Legitimate businesses that need to compete with the scammers
3. All other advertisers on Adwords who need to pay a higher CPC due to the scammers.

An who wins?
1. Google
2. The Scammers

For a company that wants to do no evil - do they really want to be grouped together making money with the scammers?

July 2, 2009 - 3:17pm

Nice post nessel!

July 3, 2009 - 1:07am

I work for one of the largest newspaper chains in the US and we accept the same ads to run throughout our entire network! When I ask if that is appropriate for an industry that says it's there to keep the public informed to run scam ads, all I hear back is "we need the ad revenue".

July 4, 2009 - 3:12pm

Some businesses are just too big and slow moving to change. Most papers need to lay off something like 50% of their staff, stop publishing print, and re-negotiate various contracts if they want to survive.

Each day they wait to change the more wrong they become with their assumptions and business model.

July 3, 2009 - 4:10pm

Aaron,

I liked this post, and hope that the FTC will start looking at Google's "non-evil" enabling of this type of fraud.

The FTC recently shut down the Google Money Tree, which I wrote about here: http://www.bizop.ca/blog2/adsense-and-fraud/easy-google-profit-scam.html

Keep up the focus on these frauds!

July 4, 2009 - 3:07pm

Nice graphic showing how that fake newspaper is getting way more traffic than FTC.gov ... sorta drives the point home well I would say! :)

July 3, 2009 - 9:04pm

Hey Aaron,

Thanks for alerting people to this and I'm glad to say I've made a contribution:

http://www.foxleymarketingsolutions.com/468/google-money/

Regards,

Karl

July 4, 2009 - 3:07pm

Thanks for the contribution Karl :)

July 5, 2009 - 3:43pm

Been calling out these scams for a while now, and it looks like Google is finally taking action on them. Of course, they went totally heavy handed with some automated action across all Adwords advertisers it seem.

Check out http://electronplumber.com/google-finally-goes-after-google-money-tree-s...

July 5, 2009 - 5:54pm

Wow. Nice to see them take action, but sorta sucks they hit your account.

It looks like they are still running the scammy government grant ads though. I just saw one for "even millionaires qualify for free government money." hehehe

July 6, 2009 - 3:57am

It's not hard to start over with a new Adwords account, but it's more the principal of the thing. I hate to think in the bowels of Google is a database entry with my site listed as "scammer".

And yeah, there are plenty of other *very* similar scam sites being advertised on Google right now. I still see fake news sites linking to junk like Google Cash Secret Club and Google Pay Day on various Google searches.

Thanks for the Tweet btw! And thanks for your free SEO tool sets too! I have both your Rank Checker and Toolbar on at least three computers. Eagerly awaiting an iPhone app...

July 6, 2009 - 3:55pm

I haven't thought about making an iPhone app because there is so little space on the iPhone. But maybe that could be a decent idea :)

July 17, 2009 - 3:59am

Woo hoo! The mistake was finally noticed by someone at Google apparently and my Adwords account was reinstated earlier this week.

http://electronplumber.com/google-adwords-account-unsuspended/

July 17, 2009 - 4:06am

good deal :)

August 24, 2009 - 4:31am

Great post. Google in some ways contradicts itself when it comes to its monetizing strategy. On one side it appears it always puts content over money and here you show how revenue generation is so important that it can run fraudulent ads in its name.
Matt Cutts spoke recently in a search engine conference against these ads, and warned against any 'quick money to be made on Google signs'.

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