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Updated on March 18, 2012

Complicity With the Big Search Engines

The Pitch

How many of you who may be reading this ever got anything worth any value for free?

I once won two seats to the Hollywood Bowl for being the "x" caller who could answer some radio show question accurately. The seats were nearly in the trees, but they were free.

Other than that I can't think of anything else that fell into my lap.

Advertising space on the Web has become very tight. Even these humble Hubs we write haven't coughed up a single red cent -- even after writing 87 pieces -- and yet ever conceivable corner is crammed with advertising (lots of smart Google advertising in particular). I didn't set up my "Adsense" account properly when I first started, and it remains permanently broken.

So, I could write ten thousand Hubs and never receive ANY compensation for it. And I'm not alone. I wrote a separate Hub about this problem, and received sympathetic comments from people who were in the same jam.

And HubPages has no customer support center, so they can spend more time running their algorithms to see if your writing happens to bear any resemblance to something somewhere on the Web (even if it is your own content). They have time to tell you that your pictures are too pixilated, but they can't do squat from a business partner standpoint.

They are simply too busy advertising for more and more and more Hub writers, with the idea that someone somewhere will find something of interest to read among the million Hubs (and key words) on the HubPages site. And among those people browsing for information, some tiny fraction of them MAY click on the links to the jammed-packed advertising on your story.

HubPages allows you to write about anything under the sun because they are playing a numbers racket. Sooner or later, Auntie Jane's recipe for chicken beak and feet pies will cause someone to open the door. And who knows ... that same individual may also be interested in getting a university degree at some mail order operation in Tuscaloosa.

So, if you haven't figured it out by now, HubPages is a scam and sooner or later the FBI or other agency will raid their post-office-box "place of business."

My favorite "for free" ads are the ones that begin by ensuring you some kind of valuable information is 100% free and they want to share their secrets with you because it took them so long to uncover the truth and they don't want to see you wasting your time.

Skip to the end of the ad (which can be quite lengthy, with all sorts of testimonials by complete strangers or made-up individuals). Somewhere near the end of the ad you'll see a request for just $29.95 to cover their cost in reproducing the information (postage will be additional). They offset the sticker "shock" by emphasizing that you will recover the amount of this fee back with the first "x" you sell.

The ads are obviously geared to the gullible or the desperate, and the web host (such as Google or Yahoo) should be made responsible for warning users that the ads are ersatz. Don't you want to make millions from EBay or Amazon while sipping a latte from the convenience of your own home -- not having to spend more that four hours to garner an $80,000 annual income?

There should be some accountability because these ads are running scams, and the big websites are just collecting their cash and not giving a hoot about the schmuck who lost "x" numbers of dollars. Some people are simply too naive to recognize a con.

We don't need to run a "nanny" state in order to enforce some ethics into the world of advertising and marketing. If the drug companies were forced to place "child proof" caps on all their bottles, it wouldn't be nearly as big of a deal to authenticate an advertiser's credentials.

Every ad, at a minimum should have a working customer service hot line, and a number of a federal agency to register complaints and rip offs.

I don't know about you, but I loath liars, cheaters, fraudsters, and slick salesmen. They need to go away.

With companies like Goggle monitoring your every click and keystroke, they certainly have the resources to analyze, filter and scrutinize the obvious cases of fraud. In so doing they may also be eliminating a countless amount of adwear and trojan horses.

Not even the most popular antivirus software can protect us from all the malware that has crept (and now flooded) into the Internet.

As a precaution, if you see the word "free" anywhere in an ad, immediately ignore it, send the rancid pitch and any attachments to the trash or whatever.

The truism "there is no free lunch" is more relevant today than at any previous time in our history.

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