I have been a loyal, rule-abiding participant in the Google Adsense program since 2005. Adsense has developed into respectable part-time income stream for me so when I received a mailing from “Google” marked in bold letters FINAL NOTICE, I became quite concerned. Had I inadvertently violated some Adsense program policy? Was one of my websites not up to Adsense program standards? Was I on the verge of losing the monthly Adsense revenue stream that my family had come to rely on?
I opened the mailer cautiously tearing off the perforated edges and unfolding it. My relief was immediate. The first word over my name in big bold letters was CONGRATULATIONS. Phew! I hadn’t done anything wrong…apparently I did something right! Wow! The Google “promotional department” was presenting me a “New Google Tablet Complete with new Android software“.
Maybe this was my anniversary present…a well-deserved reward for six years of being a loyal and obedient Adsenser.
But, alas, no such luck. A closer reading of the fine print on the coupon enclosed with the mailing disclosed that:
- This wasn’t really a mailing from Google. Rather it was a cheesey timeshare piece from The Resorts of Tullymore & St. Ives
- Neither the letter or the tablet computer were really from Google: “This promotion is not sponsored by or affiliate with Google or Android…” and,
- I even had to pay for shipping and handling costs if I ever hoped to see my Android tablet.
I called the phone number shown on the mailing curious to learn what this was all about. A very nice young lady came on and, once I gave her the offer number, informed me this was a time share promotion targeted towards select couples. ((From what I could gather from the phone conversation, select couples means: employed full-time, married, at least one spouse age 25-70, legal US residents, income $60k+)) I would be awarded my choice of a Google tablet or a Blu-ray player once I completed a tour of The Resorts of Tullymore & St. Ives time-shares in Stanwood, MI (pop. 204). And, by the way, I would be responsible for government fees and taxes ($39.95) + shipping and handling. (She didn’t know how much shipping and handling would be, but assured me that they would have the full details at the tour site.)
I Googled the resorts of tullymore & st ives. It appears to be an attractive, reputable golf resort – “Michigan’s Best Golf Resort”, by some accounts:
A luxury golf resort community set in peaceful Mid-MIchigan. Tullymore is named Michigan’s #1 Golf Resort and #27 in the US by Golf World Readers Choice Awards, 2010
Things are tough in Michigan, probably more so for luxury golf/timeshare resorts. Everybody’s trying to eek out a living, so I can’t get too upset about this attempt to pique interest in their timeshare development. Still, it is a timeshare scam when the return address area of the mailing only shows the Google trademark. Clearly they think their mailing has a better chance of being opened if the recipient believes it is from Google. I hope Tullymore sells some of their timeshares; I also hope they stop giving me heart palpitations over my small but important relationship with Google.