There’s no disclosure of the ongoing credit card subscription anywhere on any of the checkout pages except in the terms and conditions via a link. People think they are just getting a poster for free, with a $.99 shipping charge. If you call the customer service phone number to cancel you are put on hold indefinitely (I was on hold 20 minutes before hanging up). And just to really put a cherry on top, you never even get the free poster (I didn’t, and a lot of people complain about that).
Actually, not sending you the poster is part of the scam. Once they’re billing you they don’t want you to ever think about them again. Sending you a poster just reminds you to check your credit card statement, where you’ll see a charge for $30.
Tatto Media’s CEO denied knowledge of the scam when I spoke to him last month. He also said that he removed the offer, and in fact the page showing the offer was removed.
And now of course, as the press cycle wound down, it’s back. And Tatto is pitching the scam to affiliates again. Here’s an email they sent just today:
Subject: incent offer
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2010 10:09:42 -0500
Long time no talk..hope you’ve been well. I wanted to let you know that we have an internal incent offer that has been doing really well on other GPT sites so I thought I’d let you know, in case you haven’t already tried it. The offer is Wozo.com, and I’m not sure if someone named Andrew already hit you up to run direct but it would be the same running through me. It’s a credit card offer that has no promo restrictions (cash incent and content lock are just fine on these). Payout is $18 cpa…let me know if you’re interested or you have other questions.
I’ve emailed Tatto’s CEO once again to hear what bullshit he’s spinning today. Will update if I hear back.
I’ve said this before and want to say it again. These scams may make some of you think “buyer beware,” but these companies are able to constantly tweak the offers to ensure maximum conversion and profit. And it all eventually flows to “legitimate” companies that we talk about every day – Google, Facebook, Zynga and others. The only way to stop it is to continue to pour sunlight on it, and for pressure to be put on companies on the top of the food chain to ban it.