Friday, March 3, 2017

A Yahoo Spokesperson Speaks

If you're not sure what this is about, it's probably worth reading yesterday's blogpost... and possibly the long post before that one...

But here's Yahoo's response. I've screen grabbed it from the email so that I make sure I maintain the context.

It doesn't specifically answer any of the questions I raised yesterday but, at face value, it looks like exactly the right thing to say. They agree that these ads shouldn't be there. And they're telling us that they do take steps to stop it. Regularly.

It's just a shame that those steps don't seem to, y'know, actually succeed in stopping them...

Let me give you an example. On February 9th, I sent an email to Michael Todd and Gavin Patterson at BT with a screen grab of this ad:

The business name for the ad has been squeezed on the page, but it was businesscasestudies. The title for the ad is How Bannatyne Got Rich and the tag line is Learn more about Duncan's investment secrets.

The ad was also being served on Yahoo's home page etc.

If someone clicked on the ad they were taken to a URL that starts:

I've removed some digits from the end of that URL so that it no longer works - I don't want to send anyone there - but here's a screen grab of the page it lands on.

If you click on the picture and enlarge it, you should be able to read the text.

Or you could not bother and just trust me that it is  transparently untrue.

You know the sort of thing. There's a secret system. It always beats the market. You can't lose. And anyone can use it.

And Duncan Bannatyne's found out about it. And one of his friend's has accidentally revealed it. The way you do. And now there have been loads of national TV and newspaper articles about it - you know, you've seen them! Haven't you?

No wonder the establishment is running scared that everyone will find out about it. I mean, it won't be long before everyone's a millionaire.

Anyway... the important detail is that BT knew about this ad on February 9th.

On March 1st I sent Michael and Gavin another email. And this time I also included Charles Stewart (PR Manager, Public Policy, Yahoo). The email included a screen grab of this ad that was on Yahoo's home page that day.
That's an ad from businesscasestudies for How Bannatyne Got Rich with the tag line: Learn more about Duncan's investment secrets. The URL it pointed to started with

That's the same ad. With the same wording. Using the same company name. And pointing to the same website.

I also emailed them on March 2nd. Because it was still showing up that day.

I emailed them again this morning. Because it's still showing up today. Same picture. Same words. Same ad.

But it's okay, because we have their statement. So we know that they regularly take action to block ads in violation of their policies, as well as bad actors who work to circumvent their human and automated controls.

It's just that they haven't done so on this advertiser in the 22 days since they first became aware of them.

That's 22 days in which this deceptive and misleading ad appears to have been accepted by Yahoo. But let's not be misled by that evidence of fact. Their statement is more important than the facts before my eyes. The statement makes it perfectly clear: ads like this are unacceptable. It's just that it is, as I type, still accepted.

So that's that sorted.


Unknown said...

Does Equity know that all of these bad actors are behaving criminally?

Unknown said...

This same ad pops up on Facebook regularly. And no I haven't clicked on it.

Unknown said...

Using this secret was my retirement plan. You've destroyed my dream. Damn you Gorman!

Andy B said...

Isn't this something the ASA can get involved with?

Unknown said...

Regularly doesnt mean often Dave. Once a decade is regular.

Anonymous said...

Is it not worth contacting Duncan bannatyne ET Al who are used and then seeing how they feel about the abuse of their images to work together and make a difference, increasing the pressure to make sure checks are made?

Kenton Dalziel said...

I bet if you put an advert on their system saying how BT & Yahoo are complicit in the promotion of fraudulent activity. It would be taken down in minutes.

Kenton Dalziel said...

Just had a thought don't you know some guy, some might say he was a bad actor, who'll do you a video ad for a couple of quid.

LB said...

Pedantry says that regular could be annually, or even a longer interval, it applies merely a consistent period of time. Frequently however would have a reasonable implication that they have caught this in 22days. Frequently is better than regularly!

John said...

These ads appear everywhere!

Unknown said...

Do they have the right to use Duncans name for these scams?

Anonymous said...

Dave, we can kick starter an advertising campaign to cover the costs. Let's make an advert that explains the points you make and get it hosted by BT and Yahoo.