How Social Games Lead-Generation Scams Work

Buried deep inside TechCrunch’s post on the lead-generation scams that make up too much of social games maker Zynga’s revenues are two clear examples of how these scams work.

We thought they were worth surfacing:

A typical scam: users are offered in game currency in exchange for filling out an IQ survey. Four simple questions are asked. The answers are irrelevant. When the user gets to the last question they are told their results will be text messaged to them. They are asked to enter in their mobile phone number, and are texted a pin code to enter on the quiz. Once they’ve done that, they’ve just subscribed to a $9.99/month subscription.

is the company at the very end of the line on most mobile scams, and they flow it up through Offerpal, SuperRewards and others to the game developers.

Another scam: Video Professor. Users are offered in game currency if they sign up to receive a free learning CD from Video Professor. The user is told they pay nothing except a $10 shipping charge. But the fine print, on a different page from checkout, tells them they are really getting a whole set of CDs and will be billed $189.95 unless they return them. Most users never return them because they don’t know about the extra charge. Woot. Again, sites like Offerpal and SuperRewards flow these offers through to game developers. See here for more on the


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Photo: Ken Wooldridge

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