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From Gimlet, this is Reply All.

From Gimlet, this is Reply All. I' m Alexander Goldman. Uh, yeah? PJ: This weeks, as you know, we have a section at the show named Super Tech Powerup. Before you were what you are now, you worked in tech-support. I was a computer operator.

Yes, and more and more with these Super Tech supporting sectors I have the feeling that it hasn't prepared me at all for the work I'm doing. So, your job was, at - Your job now is that sometimes folks mail the show with some tech backup issue and you fix it no matter wherever that will take you.

Yes, and it always brings me far away from my real abilities. PRJ: When that was really your gig, all you had to do was connect your cable and chat to it? Yes. You pull the connector and reconnect it. No, no, no, no, pull the connector from the back of the computer, not just from the side panel.

I only did what my chefs said. So a few month ago we got an e-mail from a girl called Liz. Liz was in New York City on a visit. The West Coast. You should be. She did things like going to Times Square, going to the Financial District, going over the Brooklyn Bridge, all that kind of things that.....

PJ: That's what they do. That'?s what they do. And it was like a failed SLR like a failed SLR. So she' s on the road, she notices, like the minute she gets out of the cab, that her cameras are in the cab. That' right. Oh, I'm so sorry. LIZ: So the very first thing I did was like going on my cell and typing, you know, like going and found New York taxi cab.

" And you know, I just counted on Google to help me get where I needed to go. Then fill out all this information and click Send, and then the next page is something like "wait a second" because it's - they ask you to give 47 dollars. Just to send the review.

She did. * She was in despair, she got all the images from her holiday. * PJ: Besides, I have a feeling that when folks come to New York, they're just like another guy asking me to take cash in an inappropriate way? It'?s like this rugged and proud town.

ALLEX: So she paid the $47, she went back to the homepage of the website and saw a footer - small, right top right that says..... "Okay, so for those who don't come from New York, the TLC is the Taxicab and Limousine Commission - who are the people who actually deal with the cab, found and got it?

LIZ: Those guys could be completely cheating on these guys. Yeah, and Liz just felt cheated. So, I first phoned 14 guys who used it. So, I twittered, quoting: "I'm looking for someone to tell me if a website that sells a particular piece of software is legitimate - who should I speak to about it?

Uh, a little nearer. The first thing he said to me was, "Oh my God, this site is definitely trying to deceive folks that it's formal. Do not throw it in small characters at the top right of the website. Ryan says that although the website does nothing, it is successful because it is aimed at this very fragile public - panicked individuals.

Before I was a lawyer a dozen years ago, I used to leave a mobile in a taxi and I think I logged on to this website or a similar website. Hold on what?! This is crazy! Oh, my God! And that' s why it's difficult for me to be sitting here, and even if I didn't, it's difficult to evaluate those who do things in despair in despair.

It' s so simple to say, "Well, this dude is an imbecile, why would you ever use this website, or why would you ever do that? Ninety-nine per cent of the goddamn case, a frightening attorney's note on attorney's notehead is usually enough to get a website like this. And all they said to me was that folks could complain about on the consumer ministry's website.

I began to wonder how much cash this site could make, and I realised that I could find out because I knew that the site charged $47 per record in this databank, I saw that there were about 350 records in the databank per months, and if you multiplied that by 12, it's that this site could make nearly $200,000 per year.

It' s like someone found the ideal moneymaker with this website. To see if there's anything else. Yeah? Uh, well. ALLEX: [laughs] Yes, so this site is essentially the same as, but in this case it says it is working with over 11,000 airfields and airline companies to help you find your material.

I' ve phoned a number of airline companies - and only Southwest has contacted me, but they said, quote: "We have no connection or relationship with this site," unquoted. He also has, uh, another website. IJ: Oh my God, what is the other website? Well, let me show you.

What is it? Discouraged and mad before. I say this: it looks like Pet Amber Alert sometimes hangs up billboards and makes telephone conversations, but most of the comment you see on-line through this site is just that it's a fraud, it doesn't work. IJ: Most folks who really try to fix things don't mentioned the footer they had their attorney put down, like the third phrase of the statement.

AG: Yeah, um, it doesn't really set you free. He' s nearby. {\pos (192,210)}So we, me and Reply All producer Chloe Prasinos, went to Mark's neighbourhood to see if we could speak to him. When we got there, I phoned him. Okay. Where to, turn right or turn right?

I don't know, let's find out. Is that it? Yeah, it's 3L. How do you know? From, uh, the web. All right. Once more, but as if to keep it quiet. That was good. Hang on, did he call you? Did he call me?

hello? MARK: Hi, is this alex? Yes. Yeah, um, I just had a call you didn't give me? Yeah, is that Mark? Yes, it is. ADVANCED ALEX: "I can reply to your queries by e-mail. Could you please send me a shortlist of your issues, the ones you say are cheating? Nobody has sent us these kinds of objections via e-mail, and we have a 100% peace of mind and full refund policy for those who are not happy with their mail.

" Now I have some thoughts on that. So I think if they think they're going to the TLC website, why should they call him and ask for a reimbursement? Folks - it's actually what makes it a good con, it's like the folks who are angry, it's like this strange, thin strip of Venn chart.

It' s like humans who would go for it, but then realize they would go for it. Probably not a lot of human beings. That' right. We went back to the bureau, and then he made this very interesting discover. We' re ready.

OK. CHLOE: So, uh, something has been happening since you and I found Mark this mornin'. OK. CHLOE: Since we got out there, the cost of the service the site provides has gone down. And now it is $19.95. Get the hell out of here!

Yeah, it's me - it seems that we really, um... we have some influence. Within an hours of our call, Mark had reduced the costs of the call. That' right. AG: [laughs] I notice that I notice that there was no way he could have interviewed me.

Yes. But when I reported this history, I began to see that Mark was just like the symptoms of a much bigger issue. This is because Mark's website wasn't displayed as the first results because, um, of course folks go to Mark's website, unlike the TLCs.

It used a Google AdWords rating that you' re probably used to. PRJ: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. It' s like the payed ad results you get when you look for something in Google, but they look almost the same as genuine results. That' right. However, especially on a cell telephone, it can be very difficult to distinguish them from a normal query.

First: Google has already promoted AdWords on Reply All. That' right. So it is, I think, part of my indignation about this history is because it's like it totally happens to me. I' m sorry I'm smiling. I just imagined the Curb Your Enthusiasm topic coming up. So I panicked - I flew Delta - my telephone out, I Googleed "Delta Support" and phoned her to postpone this trip.

They told me a bunch of cash, but I did it, I had the plane changed the reservation, I took my plane. So I didn't call Delta. What, I had Googleed "Delta Help Number", I had got what seemed like a Google hit that pointed me to Delta, I was calling that number, I was talking to a guy who was sounding like he was working for Delta, I had given them my plastic number, they were selling me a tickets with a big surcharge - but they weren't Delta.

Oh, that's terrible. So, very angrily, at nine o'clock at the night, I phoned her at the roadside in a St. Louis public garden and how I was recording the call. PRJ: And, okay, so I phoned you - your firm this morning because I thought I was gonna call Delta.

But it wasn't Delta, it was her boys. IJ: The changes were made, but you did charge me something that didn't - it wouldn't have hurt me if I had talked to Delta.

VOICE: Sir, how can you be so sure that without the call to Delta or the call to Delta the amount would not have been so high? PJ: Because Delta just said that to me on the telephone. and I want you to reimburse the fee. So when you phoned, you got a docusign... which clearly shows that we were entitled to bill $417.

Right, because you wrongly portrayed yourself as a delta. Voice: Sir, we have a call record, no one has ever said we are Delta Lines. You see, the name you see there, right, it says somewhere that it's Delta Lines? PJ: There's Delta twice! VOICE: Sir, it doesn't stand, even if you checked Expedia or any other airline, no one would ever say we're Delta Lines.

They' re bewildered humans? Maybe they're just somebody who wants to do deals with you. Wow, that's an angry call. Yeah. So... what is it? All I know is that I saw an ad that I thought was a results ad with Delta's telephone number, I phoned that number, thought I was speaking to Delta and instead gave it to a lot of foreigners I still don't know who they are, gave them a lot of my cash - and Google took me there.

and Liz Richmond' expertise with, why are these adverts delivered to us, why doesn't Google stop them before they come to us? I' d like to know why Google takes morons like me by the scruff of the neck and says they'll drop them off at Delta's shop, even though it's really just a fraud in California.

I' m telling you. Welcome back to the show. So, the thing Liz has in common regarding her history of YellowCabNYC and PJ's history of this bogus Delta site is that they both succeeded in finding their way to these pages through a Google ad that featured above the results.

So, what I wanted to know is, if all these pages are dependent on the existence of Google advertisements, why doesn't Google do anything about it? PJ: Yeah, like, that's how I felt after it happens to me, is why Google doesn't just like the cops do that? Well, I've checked it out.

Google is actually monitoring this. Yes. PJ: Does this mean that on the malpractice ladder, 780 million men were inferior to Mark? How do they stop as many folks as they see on the lawn, and Mark wasn't stopped by accident?

It'?s an illuminated light - it's kind of neither. That' right. OLEX: So, I was just asking myself where Mark's pages fell on the extent of Google Breach. It' re difficult to get Google to declare this thing, so I brought in an external specialist. She is Ginny Marvin, she is a journalist for a website named Search Engine Land - and I showed her how works.

No, no, no. When Ginny took a close look, however, she saw at least one thing on the site that could prevent Google from tracking her. GINNY: You got the big 800 number, Google's gonna like that. I feel almost as if this site has been rebuilt to bypass the Google AdWords guidelines.

Well, Google obviously wants to hunt down fraudsters, because Google's entire way of doing things is based on trust. Plus, the firm says it has over 1,000 employees fighting poor advertising, which seems like a great deal. Except, according to Google, these 1,000 individuals were accountable for the 780 million advertisements that were dismantled last year.

Yes. You' always trying to hunt down guys who try to hit the system. There will always be those who try to defeat the system. So of course I tried to get to Google - Google didn't want to do an interview.

Yeah, I know they don't. And then we would say - we would try to ask them many guiding question to get to an interviewer. Umm ..... Well, yeah, Google didn't provide anyone for an interviewer. And I didn't try the storeroom thing.

And then, uh, you know, playing the best pay note on the planet... What I want to say is, like, we've learnt so much, there are so many instructive moment here: be wiser about Google AdWords, be it not - be not so willing to embrace that everything that pops up on a Google page, like, is okay, and they lead you in the right way.

Thank you. Okay. So here's the actual win I can point to. He took the numbers off the site. Yeah, well, thanks. they said that Mark's pages were under surveillance.

That' right. But I thought, like, okay, what if I didn't buy advertisements, but just make a website that offered free ressources for all the things that Mark's stores are supposed to help in. Such as, free pets lost resource, free New York City taxis found resource and free New York City taxis found resource, free... um, resource for humans who have left things at the airports.

Is that a sentence? As if they wouldn't climb to the top of Google. Third, they don't use the facility because it is, because they use it - they use it because they think it is genuine. It'?s an infrastructural problem. Okay. PRJ: One thing I wish Google would never give us is to listen to the fraud these guys have come across.

All right. When you searched for something on Google and received an ad for something that looked like a fraud that took full-heed of what you were looking for, we'd love to know about it. You can send us an e-mail to: Bye. Bye.

If you ever are in New York City and loose something in a taxi, call 311 or Google on the Taxi and Limousine Commission website. You have a lot of ressources there, and we will publish them on our website and in the news items for this week's event. If you are in New York City and think that you are the subject of misleading or incorrect advertisements, you can lodge a claim on the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs website.

The Reply All is host by PJ Vogt and me, Alex Goldman. This show is directed by Sruthi Pinnamaneni, Phia Bennin, Chloe Prasinos and Damiano Marchetti. Others will be performing.

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