Monitoring Special Offers
by TSG on Thu, July 29th, 2010 at 1:00 pm
TSG wanted to let you know that we’ve removed several offers from our Special Offer walls. Why, you might ask?We didn’t look into it because of any complaint we received – we found it because we’re constantly monitoring the offers to make sure that you have the best possible experience. We test them out, make sure they’re working properly and not doing anything harmful to your computer.
Recently we became suspicious that offers from Gamevance (maker of free downloadable games like “Play Sushi” and “Fashion Girl”) were not crediting users if they refused to take “bundled” offers during the game download. These bundled offers included a Weather Channel desktop that charged the end user (you all) $9.99 a month. Nowhere in the instructions did Gamevance ever specify that opting-out of that bundle would result in a user not receiving their Swag Bucks. But that’s exactly what we discovered was happening in our tests. So much for the “free” in that Free Offer.
Further, after we rejected the bundled apps, and completed our downloads, the games were nowhere to be found on our computer. So if you actually wanted to play the game, you were out of luck. Further, we soon discovered some strange behavior on our computers owing to registry changes that Gamevance apps were making, which resulted in websites (including Swagbucks.com!) being altered to display invasive ad units, just like the ones you see in the screen shots below:
Here is the Swagbucks.com Quick Links being altered from afar by Gamevance.
As a result, we have removed ALL Gamevance offers from multiple offer walls. Just to be clear, there was no malware or trojan involved in these offers, but the adware it installed was enough for us to remove it.
Little actions like these frequently go unnoticed, but we felt it was important to demonstrate to you our committment to ensuring the best possible user-experience when it comes to these offer walls. We’ll continue to test offers to make sure that the ones you get to are legit, but if you spot something that doesn’t seem right, please report it to us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org - this is not a support email – think of it as more of a “tip line” to help us sniff out adware and other potentially harmful things in the offers.