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Windows 7 - possible scam - John C. Kirk

Feb. 26th, 2010

03:26 pm - Windows 7 - possible scam

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From:johnckirk
Date:February 26th, 2010 04:23 pm (UTC)
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Various people in that forum say that they sent their disks to Microsoft, then got a letter back confirming that the software was conterfeit. Assuming that they're telling the truth, I would expect Microsoft's word to count for more than a random complaint.

If this was just a random search result then it wouldn't bother me - I'm used to seeing various torrent sites turning up in the results. It just seems a bit more iffy if (hypothetically) Google have a financial motive to leave the sponsored link in place, even when they know that it's dodgy.
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From:susannahf
Date:February 26th, 2010 05:49 pm (UTC)
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Various people in that forum say that they sent their disks to Microsoft, then got a letter back confirming that the software was conterfeit. Assuming that they're telling the truth, I would expect Microsoft's word to count for more than a random complaint.

And these people complained to google, enclosing a copy of said letter, did they? If not, how do you expect google to "know that it's dodgy"? Should they read every forum post to do with every company or person who places an ad with them (I'm guessing this is millions of ads, certainly tens of thousands)? Did these people post a copy of microsoft's letter, or are you just taking your word for it that there is such a letter?

I'm not saying that the company is legit - it probably isn't. I'm saying that you can't expect Google to do Due Diligence on every ad. Because if they did, they'd have to either:
1) take down every ad that anyone made the slightest complaint about, which would effectively ruin them, or
2) make damn sure that the ad-maker couldn't sue them for taking down the ad (remember that Google is based in America) (i.e. cover every base and be certain that a complaint is completely legally watertight), or
3) not police the ads at all

I'm guessing they do 2), as I can see 3) leading them open to some legal issues (e.g. infringement of copyright etc). But I bet they get the lawyers in, and they require someone to actually complain to them, not on some random bulletin board.
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From:johnckirk
Date:February 27th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)
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Various people there claim that they've complained to Google. In particular, this person provides links to the complaint forms. I would hope that they've sent along copies of the letter from Microsoft, although nobody's explicitly said that. (Nobody's posted a scanned copy of the letter, but it would be pretty easy to fake one, so that wouldn't really prove anything anyway.)

Basically, I agree with what you're saying: Google can't do detailed background checks on everyone who places an ad, so it's only fair to criticise them if they've actually been sent proof that the company is acting illegally but continue to run the advert. I don't have any real facts here, and it's possible that the company is in fact completely legit, so on reflection I may have been a bit harsh towards Google when I wrote the post earlier.

This is probably irrational, but sponsored links feel different to other search results. In this case, I wasn't actually looking for a place to buy Windows 7, so I only went to that website because Google "suggested" it, so it seemed more trustworthy. I now know that I need to be more suspicious of those links, which is a useful tip for the future.
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