Google Cash Scams – SEOs to the Rescue

"White Knights" Take on Fraudulent Results

Get the WebProNews Newsletter:

[ Search]

There is a scam going on inside of Google search results called Google Cash, aka: Google Money Tree, aka: Google Treasure Chest. This is where alleged scammers misrepresent themselves as being affiliated with Google, and advertise a low-cast kit, which would enable people to make money.

Now SEO professionals are teaming up to try and influence natural search results that would ordinarily bring up links to these scammers, to instead include articles warning of its existence. This is being referred to as "White Knight SEO." (HT: Matt McGee)

Google knows about the scammers, and has even posted warnings about them to their company blog, but some wonder why they they are still letting advertisers target keywords like "Google Cash." These ads may not be scams, but it certainly creates some confusion.

Google Cash Ads

"I am more than a little surprised by those defending Googles (lack) of action here. How hard would it be for Google to prevent ads from showing on the keyword ‘Google Money Tree’ or ‘Google Cash?’" asks Jonah Stein, (who coined the term "White Knight SEO") in a comment at Search Engine Land. He has written about the topic in Google’s Cash Cow – Scam Advertising & Profits, as have David Rodnitzky in Alert – Google Cash Scam and Johnathan Hochman in Google Turns Blind Eye to Scam Ads.

It looks like the "White Knights" have prevailed though, because the organic results all appear to be in reference to Google Cash as a scam. As McGee points out, usually Google doesn’t like these organized efforts to influence results, but perhaps considering the cause, they will let this one slide.

Google Cash Scams – SEOs to the Rescue
Top Rated White Papers and Resources
  • http://www.workathometruth.com Paul Schlegel

    Sorry, but I just can’t let this pass.

    This is just a nonsense publicity ploy as far as I can tell.

    My site was ranked number 1 since NOVEMBER 19, 2008 WARNING people about Google Money Tree and many other Google bizkit scams. There are 800+ blog comments of people helping people on the site where we discuss these scams.

    The National Consumers’ league used the blog discussion to issue THEIR warning about Google Money Tree on their savvy consumer blog.

    I spent hundreds of hours of my own time helping people file complaints with authorities, try to get refunds from the company and worked directly with the FTC on one specific case, providing documentation and agreeing to testify should the case go to trial.

    Wake up folks. It’s SEPTEMBER 3, 2009.

    Where were these “White Knights” for the 10+ months when the public REALLY needed them?

  • http://www.laokay.com Steve

    Where were the “White Knights” when we needed them?

    They were not around till they decided to market their own products and services piggybacking on the buzz about these scams.

    The only “White Knights” that are real are the scam prevention websites where the average user can make posts about them all, not just the topic of the week/month.

    • Dan

      Where were the white knights when you needed them?

      That’s the cry of someone accepting free handouts as alms and complaining that they didn’t come sooner. Looter.

  • http://www.hochmanconsultants.com Jonathan Hochman

    Paul, thank you for all your hard work. Jonah Stein and I have been writing and speaking about all types of virtual blight since the middle of last year. We spoke at Web 2.0 Summit in November and at Web 2.0 Expo in April; we haven’t been silent.

    Google Cash is just one among many scams and schemes running around the net. We decided to target this one now because people are *still* getting rooked, even after all the warnings and federal enforcement actions. I’m annoyed that Google continues to run those ads, and make up to 70% of what the scammers gather, from these programs. By drawing attention to the problem we hope Google will realized that they should put more resources into cleaning up their ad network. Hopefully that will end this scam and prevent future ones from developing to such an extent.

  • http://www.cateringonthemove.com.au catering melbourne

    I think it’s nonsense

  • http://www.workathometruth.com Paul Schlegel

    Please, please, please make sure anyone pushing down the scam pages includes the following complaint sites for people to file with and ENCOURAGES the visitors to file complaints with them:

    http://www.naag.org/attorneys_general.php (You should file with the AGs office of the state you are in AND the state that the company is operating out of).
    http://www.bbb.org (the Federal and State government agencies will NOT put out warnings, because doing so could possibly jeapordize their case before they have time to collect evidence). The BBB on the other hand will issue warnings AND the FTC goes through their documentation in case they need extrinsic evidence to make a judgement on matters of deception.

    You might also post that you can help people find the IP address of the companies site as sometimes they complaint forms will request that. Of course the sites often keep switching IPs as the complaints are filed against the host, but it

  • http://www.xrangegifts.com Fakhrul Alam

    I do agree that it is not a hard job for google to block or filter displaying ads with keywords such as Google Cash or Google Money Tree. But on the other hand, suppose a blogger writes on Google Cash referring to Goolge AdSense program which in some relation is Goolge Cash or Google Money Tree as the ads generates money for both.

    In some way or the other, people who displays Goolge ads on their site or blogs, they are affiliates of Google since they get paid to promote Googles Ads.

    Pages that displays to generate message for fraudulent scams by declaring them as affiliates of Google Money Tree or Cash, should be warned and finally taken out of the search results.

    Will be waiting to get a solved outcome on this. Quite interesting and thanks for posting.



  • http://texxsmith.com texxs

    i can’t believe there are SEO’s out there that wuld waste their time on this. If google wants this to stop, they’ll stop it. they don’t because these people are advertisers. Let Google tarnish it’s name for a “a few dollars more”.

    • katie

      I foolishly responded to a google cash ad that was posted on the internet page of a local suburban newspaper- as soon as I did I realized I had made a huge mistake. I immediately called the posted customer service number on my confirmation email- which allowed me to cancel 2 of the services I had automomatically signed up for when I responded to the .99 cent promotion- one costing 59.99 per month- there was no way to know this when I signed up! The first number 1-888-651-9818 allowed me to cancel add-ons. they then gave me a second number for a company called Network agenda- this was a bogus number that rang to no where- I called back and after much insistance I managed to get the real phone number for Network Agenda: 800-673-8171. When I signed up I thought I was dealing with Google- it wasn’t until it was too late that I realized I had been scammed- The following is what Network Agenda added to my trial subscription automatically – as you can see the .99 cent offer really cost about $85.00 per month- Click Money Members Page – 7 Day Trial-Membership access is $59.95 per month after your trial
      Fast Gov Grants Membership Page – 14 Day Trial Membership access is $14.95 per month after your trial. Network Agenda Membership Page – 21 Day Trial-Membership access is $9.95 per month after your trial. They make it very difficult to cancel. The numbers in this comment are the ones that will help you cancel this- beware if you exceed their trial period by even one hour they will not refund your money!!! This is a scam- everything is hidden until you pay!

  • http://www.bikeshopcastlehill.com.au Home Solar Power Systems

    I would say that this will not work out. The only thing which will be helpful is taking steps against the websites who are declaring themselves as affiliates of Google Money Tree or Cash.

  • Guest

    Tis is 1 big scam,they tell you its a one off payment of $1.96 and then bill you $80 a month for nothing

  • http://numonumo.com/ NumoNumo

    We have to spread the fact about this scam. A lot of people do not know about this scam out there.

  • http://www.diyhouserepair.net tamaras

    Basically, you check out the links of your top competitors and then try to build the same links.Knowing who your competitors are and what kind of time and monetary investment they are making into their online marketing.

  • Kelly

    I’m glad these “white knights” were able to step in and put the scammers out of business when google was unwilling to do much about it themselves. I still remember when I almost bought into one of these scams myself but luckily I read this article about Google Cash which has OVER 300 negative responses and was able to avoid throwing away my money. Like I say, always “google” it before you spend money on it on the internet.


  • Join for Access to Our Exclusive Web Tools
  • Sidebar Top
  • Sidebar Middle
  • Sign Up For The Free Newsletter
  • Sidebar Bottom