Sunday, August 7, 2016

Clickbait Run Amok

I have noticed these ads constantly as I browse the Internet and they annoy me because, well, many things annoy me. (CPA Boy will vouch for this.)

Here's a screengrab of one:

Here's the second:

I don't know if they will be legible enough for my readers to see. Both feature a black & white photograph of the actress and both say: "Melissa McCarthy says her goodbyes at 45, Messages pour in after fans realize she's gone..."

For the record, Melissa McCarthy has "gone" nowhere.

I have seen these for Judi Dench and Meryl Streep. They also exist for Betty White, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts and many others. Apparently these actresses are the most click-worthy. (I haven't seen any --- yet --- featuring men. Sexism runs rampant everywhere, I guess.)

When I first saw one for Judi Dench I was sad because I love her work. But I was skeptical and instead of clicking the link I chose to do a Google News search to discover that Ms Dench was not "gone" at all.

There are several iterations of the Melissa McCarthy ad. Many of them are related to the cancellation of "Mike & Molly".

I did a search on "What's with all those Melissa McCarthy ads" and found out that if you click the links it will take you to a weight loss supplement ad with before and after pictures and purported quotes from Ms McCarthy related to the product. It seems rather obvious that the "after" photo was years ago, probably around the time she was on "Gilmore Girls". As one blog author commented, not only does the product make you lose weight but it takes you back in time!

Others actresses pictures will take you to ads for youth creams or other beauty-related products.

There is another type of ad, mainly featuring Ellen deGeneres and Oprah Winfrey and how their "lies" are leading to their downfall, or something along those lines. There are usually GIFs of Ellen and Oprah looking like they are crying, maybe from a segment of a Barbara Walters interview?

If in doubt head to your favorite news site or Google News. If any of these extremely famous people pass away they will be featured on the front page of a reputable news site.

You can also see the phrase "You May Like" in the second photo. These are ads sponsored by Taboola, a company that places them. Apparently they are infamous for these ads of misdirection. And clickbait is everywhere!

And don't get me started on "listicles": a numbered list which requires you to click through every item individually while the pages themselves are loaded with other ads. "Item #17 will SHOCK you" as the listicles often promise. It won't.

Add in all the the phone calls some people receive threatening arrest because you ignored jury duty or didn't pay your taxes --- unless you forward them cash card information, of course --- and it's another facet of our crazy world. The IRS tax return ones are especially hilarious as I am close to three CPAs: retired Pops, my good friend CPA Shell, and my hubs, CPA Boy himself.

I have to say though, since switching our phone number and using the Ooma device instead of Comcast, we have received only a small handful of telemarketer calls in over a year. We used to get 10-12 a week. The phone rang only four times in July! Bliss!

I personally receive trolling scams from being connected with the Creative Memories company. My e-mail address is accessible in case a customer wants to find me (I created a separate Gmail account for it). The scam e-mail goes to many of us at the same time.

It usually has an order request for multiple quantities of items. This is unusual because people rarely purchase, say, 12 blue albums and 12 identical paper packs. It is misspelled with randomly capitalized words while the e-mailer is always deaf and her boss will send a check to pay for her items. Sometimes they use the old "check will be for more, send back the difference" ploy.

Since all things Creative Memories are accessible on the Internet it sends another red flag: deaf persons should have no trouble ordering from any CM Advisor.  Who has a boss that will buy scrapbook items for her?! Again, deaf persons are perfectly capable; they can use checking accounts of their own. And who wants to accept checks from strangers these days?!

But several CM Advisors have fallen for it. They receive the (fake) check and mail the items before it clears (and it will bounce back as fake). I looked up the address of one scam e-mail. It was a rural Pennsylvania road with no houses. The assumption is the scammers get the merchandise and then sell it on eBay.

One needs to be alert and skeptical about everything on the Web! Don't click on ads. Google search --- or whichever search engine you prefer --- is your best bet!

1 comment:

  1. More people would read this if you had some click bait: CPABOY is gone, click to see what happened.