"Make Money With Google" Scams
One of the most popular types of "business opportunity" offer that has been flooding the Internet recently are the "make money with Google" offers.
These offers have caught the attention of many consumers and have become very popular due to the many press stories on Google and the growth of e-commerce.
These offers usually claim you can make anywhere from $100-$300 a day by writing simple ads or doing "data entry" using Google. They oversell their program as "quick and easy" and are extremely deceptive in terms of what you'll actually be doing.
Many of these sites also use fake credentials to make the offer look legitimate with the "As Seen on ABC, MSN, and CNN" etc. statements and/or graphics. Here's an example:
Sometimes you'll even see fake pictures of customers providing fake testimonials. In fact, certain sites have small "fine print" at the bottom of the site that states the testimonials are fabricated. They do this in an attempt to stay out of legal trouble.
Here's another example. You'll notice they all look pretty much the same:
These sites usually charge a small shipping fee for a "free" Google toolkit. After you pay shipping, you're enrolled in an automatic monthly billing program where you get a new CD/DVD every month or some kind of membership for a monthly fee of $30-$50.
They could actually care less about the shipping - the only reason you need to pay a "shipping fee" is so they can get your credit card info to start billing you.
When you receive the free CD or DVDs, you'll find that they are filled with outdated affiliate marketing information that has been repackaged from other sources.
The information is not provided by any known experts from the Internet marketing industry and does not offer a realistic or proven strategy to profit with Google.
Aside from the products themselves, the other problem with these companies is that their customer service is either unresponsive or contact is limited to only email. This makes it very hard to cancel the monthly billing.
And even after you request a cancellation, some companies will continue to bill you and you'll be forced to go to your credit card company to resolve the issue (all while you're racking up hundreds of dollars in monthly charges).
Some offers are downright scams. You have to be careful and make sure you read the terms and conditions as some of them don't even mention the monthly fee.
These sites will usually try to hide their terms and conditions in small links on the bottom part of their sites. Basically, they're doing everything they can to bill you for at least 2-4 months before you figure out what's going on and cancel.
In addition, most of these sites are actually owned by a small handful of companies. They constantly change the program names and put up new sites to make it harder for people to contact them and/or harder for the authorities to track them down.
As soon as too many customers start to report them to the BBB, FTC, etc. and start posting complaints in forums and on review sites, they simply put up new sites with new names to start fresh and avoid a bad reputation.
Here's another example. These are just a few of the sites this company uses:
Because these offers are very easy to sell, many affiliates heavily promote these offers for easy commissions. That means that these "make money with Google" offers are probably going to be around for a long time, just with different sites and names.
In short, do NOT sign-up for any kind of "make money with Google" or "free Google toolkit" offer that looks like these and includes any kind of monthly fee. There is a 99.99% chance that it's a scam and completely worthless.
Keep in mind that while the free trial offer is a popular business model and associated with a lot of scams, it doesn't automatically warrant a product or service a scam.
You need to make sure you read the terms and conditions, see if you can contact customer service easily, and see if they clearly state you are billed every month.
Legitimate businesses are not shy about providing their contact information and telling you the terms of their program. And as always, do some research and look for positive reviews from real users before making any kind of purchase.