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From Simon Phipps <si...@webmink.com>
Subject Re: Scam issues.
Date Fri, 03 Aug 2012 15:16:05 GMT

On 2 Aug 2012, at 17:31, Rob Weir wrote:
> 
> Right.  This is how it seems to work:
> 
> 1) They buy advertisements on Google and Bing and spam social
> networks, offering OpenOffice,Free Office and similar keywords.  These
> lure users into going to their page.
> 
> 2) The pick URL's and brand the site in a way that makes it look official.
> 
> 3) To download OpenOffice you need to use their special "downloader"
> tool.  The main purpose of the downloader tool is to install other
> unrelated applications onto your system.  It may or may not then
> install OpenOffice.
> 
> 4) These other applications are sponsored apps, meaning another
> company is paying for these applications to be promoted.  That is the
> source of revenue for the websites that do this.

The other way the scam works, which has been a constant source of problems for OpenOffice.org,
is that to proceed to the download the scammer requires a small payment - maybe $10 or $25.
The download then proceeds (maybe even via the official download network!) and the transaction
is forgotten. 

But in the small-print, the victim has "agreed" not to a one-time payment but rather to a
regular "subscription". The scammer then "legitimately" collects regular payments until the
victim spots them and attempts to stop them. Stopping them can also be very hard.

The (long-term) solution to both kinds of scams is two-fold;  encouraging and enabling users
to complain to the trading standards offices involved, and the trademark holder intervening
for abuse of the trademark. Only by establishing a reputation for spirited defence by the
project can scammers be encouraged to go pick some other target.

S.


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