marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

As a followup to my last post, The problem with our ever-expanding list of TLDs, demonstrated in just one link, and as I promised I would do sometime today, I just got done trying to report the website for forgery. I say "just got done trying" because it didn't go too well - Google doesn't have a category to file a website forgery under so I had to go with "This page is really webspam", then click the button that says "Report webspam". The problem is, it's not really webspam. There's just no other category that fits what I'm reporting. Here are my choices:

  • Paid links --
    This page is selling or buying links. (Well, I don't know, maybe it is or maybe it's not.)
  • Objectionable content --
    This page is inappropriate. (What does that even mean? Sure, it's inappropriate - it's a make money fast scam that uses USA Today's logos and branding to give it an air of false legitimacy, and heck, I find that waaaaaay the fuck "inappropriate". But that's probably not what the vague "this page is inappropriate" means.)
  • Malware --
    This page is infected. (Well, by basic greed, perhaps.)
  • Other Google products --
    This page abuses Google products other than Search, e.g., AdSense, Google Maps, etc. (Well, that's what Adblock is for, so I don't have to see Google's or any ad network's ads, so I can't say if that's the case without disabling ABP - maybe next time I'm filing a report, I'll do that.)
  • Copyright and other legal issues --
    This page should be removed under applicable law. (Yeah, it should, but I'm not the copyright holder, so it's not exactly my place to request a it?)
  • Personal/private --
    This page discloses private information. (No, but it's trying to get me to disclose private information under completely false pretenses - that is, via a non-existent endorsement from a non-existent and completely forged page that does not exist on USA Today.)
  • Phishing --
    This page is trying to get sensitive information. (Again, yes, but it's not mirroring USA Today to do that - it's farming you out to other sites from the phony USA Today mirror to harvest the personal info they're after.)
  • Rich Snippets --
    This page doesn't comply with Google's rich snippets guidelines (in other words, it's got crap in the meta tags or in the visible or invisible page text designed to mislead Google into publishing a snippet that makes you trust the site or convinces you the site is A when it's actually B. Haven't checked the page source/don't know.)
  • Something else is wrong --
    This page has other, non-webspam related issues. (Well, yeah, like it's an obvious forgery... *head explodes*)

Where is the freaking category for web forgery? Where is it? Web forgery ought to be against Google's guidelines, but apparently it isn't. Only if the forged site directly engages in phishing is it a phishing site (at least, that's how I was taught to understand what does and doesn't qualify as phishing). Regardless, the forged USA Today site tricks you into believing the next sites you'll visit by clicking through links on the faked USA Today page are legitimate sites that won't scam you. But they are rogue "take the money and run" sites that will scam you in a heartbeat. That's why I reported this. Google needs to get with the times.

After enduring the headache of filing that report, I turned to USA Today, thinking it would be comparatively easy to report the forgery of their own website to them. A Google search on how to contact USA Today brought me to this page, which lead me to a dead link for "Technical questions", which I think this actually is. Did your famous website get forged and your brand and logos stolen just to scam money out of others? Yeah, that's a technical question, and I already know the answer is "Yes", but I won't be using that link to tell them. Neither will anyone else. But I've devised another plan.

So my next step is, play dumb - really dumb, as in, "Hi, I'm still using the AOL!1!11" dumb, contact their editorial department as an outraged USA Today subscriber (which I'm not - I'm perfectly outraged, but not a subscriber) and tell them the article they wrote about how a Michigan mom is making over $7,000 a month by just staring idly at her tablet sounds like one big scam to me. Then I'll add they should be ashamed of themselves for printing such baseless, asinine, potentially dangerous crap and finish with a link to the actual scam website in question. I don't know, maybe then they'll buy a clue?

*with apologies to my RL/AL for publishing an early, unedited version of this post quite by accident