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FTC Take Action: Is This The End of The Fake News Site?

FTC Permanently Stops Six Operators from Using Fake News Sites that Allegedly Deceived Consumers about Acai Berry Weight-Loss Products

Above is the FTC’s own headline from a news release yesterday.  The story is that they’ve hammered six operators of fake news sites into making settlements that surrender their assets.  They’ve also halted the six operations plus those of four others, making ten by my calculation!

What Is a Fake News Site?

Do you really need to ask?   !!    (These are for news7digest, see more below on this!).

Anyone who even casually browses the web will have seen these news exposes, quite often advertised down the right side on Facebook and in banner adverts on even the most sensible of websites – like this one, say!

How the adverts work is that they are paid for by the operators.  They deliberately pay to get premium visibility slots, using Google often, but not exclusively.

The fake news site itself will be plastered with well known icons of top companies (like CNN, BBC, CBC, ABC, Google even!) and purport to be a serious investigation by a journalist into whatever the scam may be.  A short list of such scams that we’ve revealed here are:

  • Acai weight loss
  • Tea weight loss.
  • Acai bowel cleanse.
  • Other bowel cleanse.
  • Get rippling muscles.
  • Make money on Google.
  • Get a cheap payday loan.
  • Get a cheap government grant.
  • Get rejuvenation skin cream.
  • Look younger in other ways.
  • Gamble on penny auctions.

channel4online.co.uk

Just yesterday, Peter Farrahy asked why these fake news sites are still going on this post about Jesse Willms.

So taking his example of the very plausible looking channel4online.co.uk and doing a search on it like so:

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=channel4online.co.uk

…produces several links to the actual Channel 4 in the UK, and the scam site….

This shows the deliberate, deceptive and despicable way in which the site name has been chosen to closely imitate a legitimate and bona-fide news organisation.  Fraud, in other words – as the definition says – “an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual”

Amazingly, if you click the link several times, each effort takes you to one of three different landing pages for a new site, the actual fake news site of,

news7digest.com

This shows up in the header image in two, but confusingly is called Consumer Reporter in the other!  They are all visually quite different.

The three screenshots near the top of this article are indeed the three fake news sites which you’ll land on by clicking on channel4online.co.uk.

Here they are again, to save you scrolling:

Conclusion

Is this the end of the fake news sites?  Well, obviously not.

They are still very very current and still very very visible.  The highly photoshopped images adorn well known websites to the point of irritation.  However, the settlement was only yesterday.  The note on the FTC statement goes on the say;

A settlement order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant that the law has been violated. Settlement orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.

Despite this, it appears the six defendants are caving in as no appeals have been launched.  They are and the details of the settlements are as follows:

  • Ricardo Jose Labra Labra’s $2.5 million judgment will be suspended when he pays $280,000 and records a $39,500 lien on his home.
  • Zachary S. Graham, Ambervine Marketing, LLC and Encastle, Inc. Graham’s $953,000 judgment will be suspended when he pays $110,000 plus most of the proceeds from the sale of a truck.
  • Tanner Garrett Vaughn Vaughn’s $203,000 judgment will be suspended when he pays close to $80,000 over a three-year period.
  • Thou Lee Lee’s $204,000 judgment will be suspended when he pays $13,000 plus the proceeds from the sale of a BMW.
  • Charles Dunlevy Dunlevy’s $143,000 judgment will be suspended when he pays an estimated $2,000 from frozen assets and the sale of a boat.
  • DLXM, LLC and Michael Volozin The $594,000 judgment will be suspended because of the defendants’ inability to pay.

 

I see it as a warning shot.  The actual wording of the terms against the six goes as follows.  It’s quite onerous and specific, I think, which means that these News7Digest screenshots at the top of this posting put the operators in deep doggy do if they don’t get their act together pronto.  The highlights are mine.

As part of its ongoing crackdown on bogus health claims, the proposed settlements will require that the six operations make clear when their commercial messages are advertisements rather than objective journalism, and will bar the defendants from further deceptive claims about health-related products such as the acai berry weight-loss supplements and colon cleansers that they marketed.

The defendants also are required to disclose any material connections they have with merchants, and will be barred from making deceptive claims about other products, such as the work-at-home schemes or penny auctions that most of them promoted.  The settlements also require that these defendants collectively pay roughly $500,000 to the Commission because their advertisements violated federal law.  This money amounts to most of their assets.

A Sample of My Previous Posts Mentioning Fake News Websites

This all proves that what I and others are saying is wrong – and the FTC is proving it!  Virtually everything that the scammers do the FTC has now taken issue with and imposed heavy penalties.  It’s now, as they say, case law, as well as being the law of the land.  Let’s hope that Willms who chucked his power derived from ill-gotten wealth at me making me pull a page or two for a time, gets his just deserts – sometime this year would be nice.

 

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Mandelson: Expenses Morals and Postal Flowers

Peter Mandelson

Peter Mandelson

As MP’s expenses come to the fore again, Peter Mandelson spoke on Radio 4 this morning and did his usual self by not explaining anything and being perfectly unclear about everything!  Listen hear here!

Thank god the interviewer cut him off.

The question was “Have you got much sympathy with MPs who’ve claimed under one set of ‘rules’ and now might have to cough-up under a changed set of rules” (my wording)

“Of course…but…” said Mandelson

“…these are the last painful and expensive throws of an old and discredited system…”

Flower Shop

Flowers and Pot Plants

The trouble is that Mandelson’s flower bills for his office/department are over £24,000 per annum.  When news of this started coming out, Darling’s Treasury flower bill of ~£3000 was cut to zero but the Business Dept.’s of Mandelson has remained the same. (see Government departments ran up £780,000 flower bill)

That’s  the painful truth.  And as the most disadvantaged in society, dependant on the State for their well-being, are now coming into the firing line as the cause of society’s ills, it’s a truth that deserves repetition.

As the money given to bankers to pay for their bonuses (~£1.2 billion!) goes out, consider the £3 billion stolen from the Post Office worker’s pension fund by the State in a ‘pensions holiday’ since 1994.  These Post Office employees are now having to suffer because as part of the Royal Mail’s super-imposed business ethic, it has to recoup the missing Pension money from it’s business at the same time as it’s core business changes and it reacts accordingly.

Now, the focus is on the Post Office worker who must change and not go on strike to ‘save the company’!

  • Q. Who is in charge of pushing these Post Office changes?
  • A. Mandelson
Having a Millstone around one's Neck

Having a Millstone around one's Neck

I think a few more ‘rules’ need changing.  If the Royal Mail was not hamstrung by the Pensions millstone round it’s neck it could compete equally with the piss-poor Home Delivery Network owned by the odious Barclay brothers who have their own idea of democracy on their little island fiefdom.

Without the millstone, Royal Mail could have expanded it’s network of local offices as collection and despatch points for the country’s expanding home shopping bonanza.  Instead, it’s closed many down because reduced investment made them un-economic.

The Dept. of Business is a fool’s paradise of blinkered short-sightedness, completely devoid of morals and common sense.  Mandelson though, is no fool.  He knows exactly what he’s done and is doing.

I think he’s borrowed one of Dr Who’s perception filters because of the way that people’s focus shifts as their gaze falls upon him.

Further Reading:

Home Delivery network

The prime problem for HDNL is that they have few offices and don’t deliver out-of-hours which is no use for normal consumers, the majority of whom work 9-5.  Consequently they are cheap so mail-order companies will use them…

Previous Posts

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Spam Disguised as Windows Live

ratherpurposedotcom

ratherpurpose dot com

Below is the plain text of an email spam I got today.  I always view as plain text and all my messages are spam checked, in various ways.  Some POP3 stuff comes in via Mailwasher Pro, which I’ve mentioned before; other stuff I forward through gmail and use the spam filters in there, which are quite good.

Above right is the email viewed in the Outlook client.  It’s the first time I’ve seen a spam claiming I was a Windows Live customer!  Maybe they know something I don’t know… ;-)

<http://ads1.msn.com/ads/pronws/CIQ4440/images/asus_r11_c1.jpg>
Do not see a picture? Visit our site now! <http://ratherpurpose.com/> <http://ads1.msn.com/ads/pronws/CIQ4440/images/asus_r11_c15.jpg>
<http://ads1.msn.com/ads/pronws/CIQ4440/images/asus_r11_c1.jpg>
*Offer expires January 31, 2009.

As a valued Windows Live Hotmail customer, we hope you find this Windows Vista Ultimate offer valuable. If you would prefer to no longer receive promotional offers about Windows Vista Ultimate please click here <http://ratherpurpose.com/privacy_policy.php> .

For general information about how to manage your Communication Preferences with Microsoft please click here <http://ratherpurpose.com/> .

If you have questions about Microsoft privacy policies, please read our online Privacy Statement <http://ratherpurpose.com/privacy_policy.php> .

Opting out of Microsoft e-mail offers will not affect any newsletters you have requested nor restrict important customer communications concerning your Microsoft products.

Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 09359


<http://ads1.msn.com/ads/pronws/CIQ4440/images/asus_r11_c15.jpg>

..
Message-Id: <[email protected]>
<http://cimail15.msn.com/images/blankpixel.gif/Key=5806.Cnx7n..D.JpQ9LD>

The point is that in plain text, it’s obvious the links are not from Microsoft, which is what one would expect.  Who are they from?

Viewing the html version above, makes it clear that it’s nothing to do with Microsoft!  It’s penis pills!  But to find out who it’s actually from, try this whois on the weirdly named ratherpurpose.com doomain:

‘http://whois.domaintools.com/ratherpurpose.com

If you’ve checked, you’ll see it’s our old Chinese friends lodged at the XIN NET TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION!!!  :-?   I get a lot from them, and so does everyone else.  I’m pretty certain that they are an arm of the Chinese State.  The way that the Chinese Government tries to control and censor internet traffic makes this supposition too obvious for words.  Because if the Chinese State feared things so much, there’s no way at all that a gangster bunch like XIN NET could continue in operation.  How so?

In a post some time ago, I wrote how I contacted XIN NET about the abuse from a host (pun intended) of domains.  Within a day, I had a surge of spam emails, all from domains hosted by….  XIN NET!! (these posts listed at the end)

This apparent lack of control, from a state (in)famous for it’s citizen control, proves that the lack of control is by a state directive.  What the ultimate end-game of these actions is, who knows?  But I can guess that it’s to do with botnet control to be used for spying, industrial espionage, personal gain of people in charge, theft, general FUD spreading…

Further Links:

  • Abuse Butlerit was 14th in the list @21:00 today
  • Uriblit was 8th on the Xin Net wall of shame at the same time

My Previous Posts about XIN NET etc:

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Britain Safe for Ammo, Hurrah!

Not that I’m cheering that loud, mind you, but today, the UK Gov has awarded a contract to BAe to supply guns, bullets, mortars and shells to the British Army for the next 15 years.

BAE in £2bn MoD ammunition deal

I do indeed think that there’s a direct correlation with the increasing tensions between East and West and also the continuing waste in Afghanistan (see Strangely Perfect passim).

Previously, the decision was that as well as the already closed works at Puriton (a.k.a. the local bomb factory), the only other one at Chorley was to close as well. My previous posts on the subject are here:

http://strangelyperfect.tv/336/cycle-facility-monthly-pointer/#comment-433

http://strangelyperfect.tv/348/the-true-meaning-of-religion-jet-fighters/

And yes, as I said, the MOD was planning to move explosives production to countries in the former Eastern Bloc.  These next two posts show the start of the process. The actual exact info I had was in the local Bridgwater Mercury for which I no longer have a copy.

http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2005/11/then-there-were-three.html

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmdfence/824/824we17.htm

So today’s news says the ammo will be made here but is non-specific about the actual propellants or charges in any exploding warheads….

Watch this space.  We could be defending ourselves with 2″ long bits of 7.62mm ammo fired by catapults!

The speed of the Russian advance into Georgia could easily be matched by a march into Poland.  What hope for the explosive factories there and what use would they be to us?

The point is, that the world isn’t advanced enough to be free for Buddhism.  We need to protect ourselves so that we can be heard, else, there are no words.

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People Are Mad, Not Cyclists; Extra Information #2

Following on from these two previous posts where I mentioned the laughable penalties for killing someone who happens to be riding a bike and the weasely excuses, I hate to say that it’s another case of

I told you so…

£500 fine and 6 month ban for killing someone…

Family attacks cyclist crash fine

@AmazonThis was the BBC headline covering the fact that van driver Robert McTaggart, 36,managed to persuade the court that he “didn’t see” the cyclist.

This was no ordinary cyclist either.  This was a record holder with a very good chance of winning a medal at the Olympic games starting today…  He was Jason MacIntyre.

  • Now Jason, being a professional cyclist, would have had a lot of experience falling off and being hurt in his highly competitive sport, and also, would be used to avoiding collisions.
  • To do his sport at that level he would have to do a horrendous amount of training, much of it on public roads.

This is what was said in the van driver McTaggart’s defence;

The cyclist collided with the truck as it turned in to a junction across the carriageway, the court heard.

Defence solicitor Craig Wood said McTaggart had considered himself a “competent, prudent and careful driver” and added:

“My client simply did not see Mr MacIntyre coming. As a result, the cycle went into the rear of the vehicle and he was tragically killed.”

Now I’m trying to work that one out and the only conclusion I can reach, as it’s happened to me countless times, is that McTaggart overtook MacIntyre on his bike, slammed the brakes on and tried to do a left turn directly in front of the bike, totally misjudging the bike’s speed..

That’s the only way the bike could hit the rear of a moving vehicle.

Weasely McTaggart (“competent, prudent and careful driver” claimed his solicitor), said he “thought” that MacIntyre was “probably” on the cycle path..  These are not the words of someone who is competent, careful or prudent.  These are the weasel words of someone in a hurry who misjudged everything.

How?

  • A following witness (driver), said the bike was doing about 30mph (MacIntyre was a record holder you know), and another witness said that they’d slowed down as had McTaggart, having seen the cyclist for a full 16 seconds! Even the police said this…
  • So a witness saw McTaggart slow down for the bike and therefore, McTaggart did see the bicycle.
  • Also, I’ve tried to cycle at 30mph on our local cycle paths – it’s worse than dangerous; see my past postings.  I seriously doubt an athlete in training would use cycle paths because of the danger, inconvenience at maintaining a good pace, roughness, glass and obstacles.

So I’m in total agreement with the obviously upset family of MacIntyre who quite naturally, and accurately in my opinion, wanted Robert McTaggart prosecuted on charges of culpable homicide, or causing death by dangerous driving.  Despite being upset, MacIntyre’s dad, David said,

“We are of the view that McTaggart should have been facing charges of culpable homicide or causing death by dangerous driving.”

He claimed that the local procurator-fiscal recommended dangerous driving charges but that the Crown Office downgraded the charge to careless driving, despite an appeal from the family.

“The Crown Office view is that this standard of driving falls below normal standards. We are of the view that this standard of driving falls far below normal standards and is deserving of a more serious charge.”

He refused to accept that to drive along a road unaware of oncoming traffic for 16 seconds, to cross in front of oncoming traffic thereby causing death, amounted only to careless driving. That the Crown Office did, he said, “was a terrifying indictment on our society”. – quoted from The Herald.

500 quid….  And on the same day, is another.

Quoting directly from The Herald again, here,

41-year-old firefighter Garry Trotter, who was “solely to blame” for a crash which killed 51-year-old deaf driver John McIntosh, was allowed to keep his licence by a sheriff.

Trotter, who had been driving a fire tender to an emergency call in Bo’ness, West Lothian, was originally charged with causing death by dangerous driving. However, he was convicted of a reduced charge of driving carelessly, over the speed limit, failing to give way and driving through a red light. He was fined £750 and had his licence endorsed with six penalty points.

It was apparently an emergency, but you know, now there’s another.  Suppose the ambulance speeding to help Mr McIntosh knocked someone else over….

….and so it goes on.  Someone must take responsibility for this shit instead of continually looking for get-outs.

Links:

flying-highlander-dies-on-tragic-a82

http://news.scotsman.com

http://www.timesonline.co.uk

http://www.heraldscotland.com/

http://news.stv.tv/

http://www.bikeradar.com/

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/news/display.var.2420753.0.Anger_over_delay_to_new_road_death_law_as_two_avoid_jail.php

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