Scams abound in free social network games
Facebook and MySpace games are rife with shady advertising, blogger says.
Trouble's brewing in FarmVille.
A small online firestorm was stirred up recently by technology blogger Michael Arrington at TechCrunch when he called out free Facebook and MySpace games for their deceptive advertising practices.
In the post "Scamville: The Social Gaming Ecosystem Of Hell," Arrington says games such as Mobsters and Farmville are raking in big bucks from ads that promise in-game currency in exchange for signing up for often dubious services. To make matters worse, the games that feature the most egregious scams have become the most popular with users, edging out games that don't feature such trickery.
There's a lot of blame to spread around, Arrington says. MySpace and Facebook have rules prohibiting such scams, but they are frequently ignored by developers. Enforcement of the rules by the social networks, which are indirectly profiting from the deception, is lax.
Arrington says it's easy to determine if these in-game offers
"For any particular offer, ask yourself if anyone would buy the product or service if the terms were clearly spelled out for them, and they weren’t being bribed with in-game currency. The answer for many of these is a resounding 'no.'"
It should be pointed out that there's little risk involved when playing these games as long as you avoid clicking on the advertisements. Of course, before playing you should realize you're sharing your personal information with the game developers and marketers.
The post seems to have already sparked some change among developers. Zynga, one of the companies singled out by Arrington, announced last week that it would remove all in-game offers. That accounts for a 1/3 of Zynga's estimated $250 million in revenue.
What do you think? Have you noticed anything shady while playing free online games? Should Facebook and MySpace step up their enforcement of scam ads? We'd love to hear from you.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Saving just a single month of expenses may take longer than you think. See how your savings rate affects how quickly you can build a solid emergency fund.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
BLOGS WE LIKE
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'