Reply All: #78 Very Quickly to the Drill
September 29, 2016 7:29 PM - Subscribe

Alex and PJ chase down the strangest tips from our Weird Ads hotline, and at the bottom of the rabbit hole they find the Mother of All AdWords Scams.

Futher Reading:
David Segal’s story on locksmiths 
The Ringfinders website
Form to give feedback on specific ads

Google's statement on this episode: "Our goal is to provide a great experience for the users, advertisers, and publishers that interact with our advertising products everyday. An important part of this work is listening to reactions—good, bad, and in-between—from our users about their experiences online. We appreciate this very much; it helps us make AdWords better. Bad ads are an industry-wide issue and we fight them with considerable fire-power: we've invested in best-in-class technology and built a global team of more than 1,000 googlers specifically dedicated to this effort. While this work has produced positive results—we disabled 780 million ads for violating our policies in 2015 alone—we understand this is an ongoing challenge for everyone and we'll continue to battle it."

Related: BoingBoing post on scam locksmiths Locksmith scammer caught on video

Episode page with transcript: Very quickly to the drill
posted by jazon (5 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Related and also back in 2009.
posted by Pryde at 8:05 PM on September 29, 2016

Soo... I liked this episode, and I like this show, but it seems like the big unspoken and to me very sad thing here is that it reflects that we've just given up on the idea of government regulation. The neolibral project has succeeded, and these investigators don't even ask the question: "what government agency should be regulating these scams, and why aren't they doing it?" I feel so sad for my daughter and her contemporaries growing up in the US of today. The US of my childhood sucked in numerous ways as well, but the total erosion of the democracy project is pretty grim.
posted by latkes at 3:32 PM on September 30, 2016 [5 favorites]

The easiest way to get rich in American is to exploit people in need.
posted by graventy at 9:19 AM on October 1, 2016

I'm fascinated that crisis pregnancy centres -- mentioned briefly, with no detail compared with the scourge of overpaying for a locksmith -- were such a shock to them.
posted by jeather at 6:44 AM on October 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

The locksmith thing seems to primarily be an internet-based phenomenon – a few years ago when I needed one, I was shocked to see Google Maps indicate that DC was swarming with a completely improbable number of locksmiths (like, 4-6 on every block of the city.

At the time, I'd meant to post an AskMe pondering WTF was going on, and why such an obvious scam hadn't been widely recognized.... Now I know!

On the other hand, Crisis Pregnancy Centers have been consistently producing Crisis Pregnancies for decades, without the help of the web. That said, it's still shocking – I literally swore out loud when the woman on Reply All told her story (and I'm pretty sure I know of the exact place in DC that she was talking about).
posted by schmod at 8:46 AM on November 2, 2016

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