Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

December 8, 2009 -

A class action suit filed against the Zynga Game Network and Facebook alleges that “most, if not all” of the advertisements presented in Zynga’s social games are scams.

Rebecca Swift of Santa Cruz, California filed the lawsuit on November 17th in the United States District Court, Northern District of California. Swift claims that in April 2009, she provided her cell phone number to a Zynga advertiser/lead generator (offered in the form of an IQ test) in order to be texted a code that she could redeem for virtual currency in Zynga’s YoVille! game. Swift was then billed $9.99 on three different occasions as a result of her transgression.

On another occasion Swift signed up for a program centered around the “risk free trial” of a green tea herb supplement that promised to bestow Yoville currency on participants. Swift claimed the ad said she could cancel within 15 days of her order, so she went ahead and signed up using her debit card and was charged $5.95 for shipping and handling of the product. After receiving the product on June 24, 2009, Swift attempted to cancel the agreement, but on July 6 was charged $79.95, plus a $2.38 foreign transaction fee. On July 20, defendant was charged another $85.90, plus a foreign transaction fee.

All in all, for $165.85, Swift received 60 green tea pills and six tea bags from China. She believes that “Facebook and Zynga both profited and shared the funds” that she contributed, and that “both were aware, or should have been aware, of the false and misleading nature of the advertisement.”

The candor displayed by Zynga’s CEO Mark Pincus earlier this year, in discussing how he would do anything to make money for the company in its early days, may come back to haunt him, as the defendant cites direct quotes from Pincus on the subject in her complaint.

Defendant stated that the “aggregate amount in controversy for the Class exceeds $5.0 million.”
Zynga-developed applications include Farmville, Mafia Wars and Roller Coaster Kingdom in addition to the previously mentioned Yoville! The company claims 60.0 million daily users.

Fool me once, strike one. Fool me twice, strike three.


|Via USA Today|


Comments

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

I hope these guys get taken to the cleaners.  Zynga is an company that is making over $250M a year by scamming people in ways that are only quasi legal and outright illegal in some countries.  Their CEO is on record having admitted that he would do anything it takes to drive traffic.  That these things are so popular is a travesty and is giving a lot of companies the idea that scamming people with non-games that require a first grade IQ in order to "play" is a brilliant new way to do business.  They need to be stopped before they can start lobbying.

Parallax Abstraction
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
blog.digital-lifeline.ca

Parallax Abstraction
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

The company that makes and markets Enzyte has their headquarters in my area.  For those who don't know, these are the "Smiling Bob" advertisements for "natural male enhancement" you see all over the TV these days.  They were just fined millions of dollars (under appeal) for what basically accounts for this exact type of fraud -- extra and hidden charges, failing to stop charges from being applied once people had canceled the service, etc. And I think the head of the company is supposed to be doing some jail time.

The lesson here is: guys, if you have a small weiner, you're stuck with it.  People selling you a miracle cure just want your money.

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

I don't think there were any card numbers given out here, she gave out a cell phone number and then was billed, most teens and young adults give their cell numbers out like they were candy, instead of guarding them as they should.  The games aren't a scam if you don't click the advertisements, they can also be played without adding extra currency as they are meant to be played that way.  The last time I checked there is fine print on those ads that you will be billed and signed up for a subscription so its not like it isn't there, people are getting too addicted to the games and not reading the fine print.

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

2 things.

First, there are indeed many companies like Zynga and this tea company who use shady tactics to fool customers.  In my industry, there is this one company who has done this for years with 1000's of complaints all over the internet.  Somehow, with all the fraud and upset customers, credit card companies still process their cards- even though they doubtless get tons of complaints from cardholders.  Shame on the companies and the card processors for this.

Second, there is a staggering amount of people who just throw their personal info and their credit card numbers all over the internet without any care or responsibility.  Half the time these idiots don't even know what company or website they gave their credit card info to.  We get calls every day from angry people who got scamed in the internet and call any random phone number they find on the internet.  They are even more angry when we tell them that we aren't the company they are trying to contact- often they tell us that they don't remember whose website they were looking at when they gave their credit card #.  Shame on these people for being just plain stupid- no wonder they get taken advantage of!

 

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

Don;t give money to anyone/thing untill you verfied thier worth thoughly.....


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

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http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

I hav no sympathy for the "victim". Do not click advertising links on the internet for ANYTHING. This should be common sense by now.

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

Eh, my favorite scam is still that 'secret shopper' scam that they pull on 'social networking sites'.  Hell, they've even branched out into newspapers now, I hear.

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

kinda reminds me of something norton did to me recently.. they billed me $80 for a refresh to my subscribtion to their services when i never agreed to this automatic re-upping of it, let alone was i ever notified of its impending fee when i signed on originally..

to top it, i could buy a NEW copy of the program for LESS than the digital subscription to their update services! and get the full 1 year cover no less... ummm yeeahh.. (BTW this is from THEIR web site, not even from buying in a store)

couple emails and they refunded it (but apparently forgot to cancel the sub since for some reason its still auto updating without any "subscription required!" notices as i'd normally get....)

still.. gotta love these "buy now and cancel later without reprecussion!" ads that turn out bogus :)

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

Newsflash:  Norton IS a virus. 

Only this virus comes pre-installed on most store bought computers, when the subscription runs out they have annoying pop ups reminding you to resubscribe or your computer is DOOOOOMMMED! (and you can't turn them off) and it's absolutely nearly fucking impossible to uninstall it from your computer.

 

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

What about AVG?

 

 

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

AVG and Kasp have been having issues with false positives on games lately, so.. no.

 

oh and on google giving away peoples info.

http://www.megagames.com/news/html/software/googleceoadmitsdivulginguser...

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

most store boughts in my area come with something worse.. McCaffee.. almost every comp someones asked me to fix looking like it had a virus, it turned out McCaffee was just whoring all the memory to itself.. remove that and the comp was fixed (and i made an easy 20 bux for about 5 min of work)

Norton is my preferred, alright its not perfect, and its only hated because its a brand name (just like wal mart is hated for not selling things at higher prices, and M$ is hated for their monopolies)

as for the messages.. yes you can turn them off actually, though it'll leave a little red mark on the Norton symbol in the toolbar its hardly intrusive.

and its actually very easy to uninstall if you know how. uninstall regularly, run norton removal (also known as "Nasty file remover" IIRC that one does both Nvidia and Norton files/registry) and done.

theres also the hand method of uninstall and manually removing registry entries.. now that one is a pain, but not nearly impossible.

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

I didn't hate Norton because it's a brand name.  They were too slow in updating their definitions and this caused some pretty serious infections on my computer that were instantly remedied by FREE software like Adaware or Spybot.

1) Norton was a total memory hog.  Now that it's gone everything runs smoother or faster.

2) No, it was not "easy" to uninstall.  Most software has a very handy "uninstall" function that you click and the software goes away.  I had to hit their tech support section on their web site and even then the answers weren't exactly easy to come by (why?  because they DON'T WANT YOU TO UNINSTALL because they want your money).  

3) That annoying pop up?  I did about everything I could think of to make it stop.

Norton might have been a great brand at one point, and they certainly position themselves as #1 in computer defense, but they have a pretty horrible business model and a high annoyance factor.

I will give you this...McAfee is much much worse.

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

Get rid of Norton, their protection sucks horribly anyway and their auto-renewal without explicit consent(its actually in the fine print when you give them your credit card) is BS.

Kaspersky is awesome, BitDefender is good, and if you don't want to spend money Microsofy Security Essentials isn't horrible.

But please, go google "Norton Removal Tool" and get a decent AV program.

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

Why is nroton almsot always in the top 5 AV apps?

And you need to google norton clean sweep as thier normal removal tool is kind of a joke...

 

I use kaspersky but I buy OEM stuff for 10-15$ a year.

I like it has the most options and easit to use out of the all the pay for stuff I have run!


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

when i signed on for their updated stuff that wasn't in the fine print, they appended it sometime after i bought the program and even admitted to it prior to the refund.

 

Kaspersky and AVG have had issues with false positives lately, and i won't touch googles government ridden spyware with a 150 foot virtual pole.

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

Appearantly she didn't learn the first time. I play those games sometimes, but does that mean that other websites that offer ads like on Facebook mean they are scams too?

 

 

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

It's not so much the ads that are scams, more the "free offers" that are supposed to give you points in game for doing something seemingly innocent like filling in a survey. Next thing you know you're getting waves of junk mail through your door and malware is on your computer.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

Yeah good think my cell phone provider isn't included in some of the "free offers". lol. I don't really fill out my main email to surveys, only of course its w/a site that users have made & not what companies have made.

 

 

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

Good. Zynga "games" aren't games, they are progress bars you click to make go faster. That's a scam right there in itself.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

What do you mean by they are progress bars you click to make go faster? Btw there was something in the GameInformer magazine 2 magazines or 1 magazines ago that said developers are looking the Facebook games "Zynga" games to see what casual gamers like to play........I wonder if this could lead to a good or bad thing......

 

 

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

"What do you mean by they are progress bars you click to make go faster?"

You... uh... still quite haven't wrapped your head around sarcasm, have you? Lol, it's kind of funny to watch points soar above your head.

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

I used to play Zyngas Pirates and Mafia games. All they are is an XP bar and buttons you click that fill up the xp. That is all.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

Unlike the XP based games we play, where you have to click the correct button to make the bar progress.

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

The right button at the right time wearing the right gear in a team of the right people :-P

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

I don't play Mafia Wars on there. I used to play it on another site, but it got old to me.... O.o I love to play Cafe World & 2 of the farming games on there. Can't remember the names. But thanks for explaining. I just would have thought clicking a lot would make the games contribute money to Facebook or other websites that do have those "Zynga" games.

 

 

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

I'll have to keep an eye on this.. My girlfriend plays farmville or some crap like that. If Zynga goes down, I sense an oppurtunity to profit from this class action!

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

zynga is VERY well aware of these problems, while only those in the right departments at facebook are aware of them. Both hide behind TOS and EULA equivalents, while collecting proceeds from these crimes.

Re: Lawsuit Targets Zynga In-Game “Scam” Ads

Doubt it will protect them, they'll need better than TOS and EULA.

---

I once had a dream about God. In it, he was looking down upon the planet and the havoc we recked and he said unto us, "Damn Kids get off my lawn!"

I once had a dream about God. In it, he was looking down upon the planet and the havoc we recked and he said unto us, "Damn Kids get off my lawn!"
 
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