Techcrunch sounds the alarm regarding those shady shady games online: Scamville: The Social Gaming Ecosystem Of Hell
....And some users aren’t dumb, either. For every user who gets tricked into some fake mobile subscription, there’s another who can beat the system. That’s where the legitimate advertisers, like Netflix and Blockbuster, get hit. Users sign up for a free trial with a credit card, get their game currency, then cancel the membership and start over. Netflix has a policy of only paying for a user once. But game developers use a complex set of partner chains to launder these leads and try to get them through for payment. Netflix sees an overall lowering of quality and pays less for leads. Game developers, desperate to monetize, then search for ever more questionable offers to make up the difference. In the end, the decent advertisers are out, and only the worst of the worst remain.
Left alone, the system really will slide into a full blown disaster.
Techcrunch is right, and advertisers should take a good long look at this before we "let it go" unchecked like we did with email marketing in the nineties. We all know how well that turned out. The techcrunch post has many updates and extra links - check it.
Watch Anu Shukla from Offerpal Media responds to Michael Arrington's questions that were challenges the ethics of virtual goods offer providers at the VG summit Oct. 24th 2009. "We should get some advertisers here next year" they say, yes, they should.