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Nov 3, 2008 08:43 PM

DECEPTIVE survey request - Chow, be very ashamed!

If the many site performance issues weren't aggravating enough, I just found another.

The Trader Joes survey link appearing in the right column IS AN EMAIL/PHONE/ADDRESS HARVESTING SCAM!

It put me through many pages of 'discount offers' and never got to a TJs survey. One of the forms even asked for my SSN!!! Holy crap! Of course I didn't fill it out.

Chow, don't you check out your ad suppliers at all?

I'm so ticked off I'm scared to check my blood pressure. Dammit. Some ad sales person needs to be beaten severely.

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  1. I finally tracked down the link for these scum, unfortunately served by

    Label -

    Actual URL -

    Clicking EITHER yes or no gets you to the same page:

    Workaround - block and

    I reported this to and hopefully I'll get a answer.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DiveFan

      I don't believe that the survey has anything whatsoever to do with Trader Joe's. It reads and looks like they've basically tried to construct it to get people just like you (and others on here) roped in. I'll be interested to hear in TJ's has anything to say about it.

    2. Is that from the 'sponsored links' text ads at the bottom of the page or from one of the graphical ads?

      If it's a 'sponsored links' text ad, they're not something we actively choose to run -- they're generated automatically by a third party and we don't have any idea what they are or are going to be. We can block them, though, after the fact if we find any turning up that we don't like. I'll ask to have this one blocked.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Jacquilynne

        Yes, it appears in the Sponsored Links area. It took a awhile for it to reappear 'in the rotation' so I could get more info.

        1. re: Jacquilynne

          With all respect to you as an individual, that sounds like a cop-out. Ultimately, CHOW is responsible for what it puts before the public. If I'm served rancid fish in a restaurant, it doesn't matter if that's what their fishmonger sold them; it's the restaurant's job to ensure that it never leaves the kitchen--and it's certainly not my job to be the one to spot these things for them.

          1. re: meatme

            However, you paid your hard earned money for that rancid fish. How much did you pay for the privilege of accessing and using Chowhound? There is a difference.

            1. re: Servorg

              1) My time has value, lots of it. 2) By clicking on its ads, I am (we all are) providing income to CHOW, just as surely as I provide income to our theoretical restaurant. 3) By posting about restaurants and food, I am (we all are) also building the site's content, which provides income to CHOW.

              Now that I've answered that question, what does whether or not I "paid" have to do with CHOW's responsibility not to proffer deceptive ads and phishing schemes?

              1. re: meatme

                Your time - your choice of how to use it

                Don't want to click on any ads? No one is forcing you to click on them.

                Don't want to post about restaurants or cooking? No one is forcing you to do so.

                As Jacquilynne said above, the site has no control or prior knowledge regarding the placement of 3rd party ads, but will block them when & where appropriate (and notified by hounds) to do so.

                Unless you want to pay to keep this site going then ads are the price of admission.

                1. re: Servorg

                  That’s quite true; just as each of us chooses whether or not to patronize a restaurant, we also choose which web sites to visit. Too many deceptive ads and phishing schemes -- and browser lockups -- and we'll go elsewhere, costing CHOW click-throughs and content. (Note also that some ads reported have masqueraded as content.) That's exactly why people who care about the future of the site post in threads like this.

                  But back to the analogy: When a well-managed restaurant encounters problems with a supplier, it proactively monitors the quality of the product delivered by that supplier; it doesn't wait for customer complaints. When it finds that a certain supplier frequently delivers tainted fish, it drops that supplier entirely, rather than risk losing valued customers.

                  Whether or not we wish to pay for the site -- and I’d gladly pay -- is another red herring. It has nothing to do with CHOW's responsibility not to proffer, even unintentionally, deceptive ads and phishing schemes.

                  My apologies if I have exceeded my quota of phish/fish/herring analogies.

                  1. re: Servorg

                    Oh Servorg... Why are we so often at odds? I agree; you have too many red herrings in your pocket. Frequently, you seem to be crusading for holding Chow's staff inviolate of any wrong, as if they were your little sister; as if you need to protect them.

                    The phony argument that "you get what you pay for", and that we have free will, is lame. Part of why we are on this site is trust. I don't think Jacquilynne or the staff is interested in operating an unsafe site because it's "free". They have indicated that they are addressing this issue. I just don't think "third party advertising" absolves them of responsibility.
                    You wouldn't want friends of friends coming in an ruining your party! They should be doing better vetting of advertisers.

                    Technically, Chow may be free, and certainly is free for lurkers, but I see it as a mutual, symbiotic relationship where we both expect, and get, something in return. We want to be able to trust that they have legitimate advertisers, just like they expect us to be honest in what we contribute and share.

          2. In case anyone else finds a scummy Google Ad link, I just found a spam reporting page:

            Since Google loves to hide contact pages, there might be a more appropriate one for 'fraudulent advertising'.

            1 Reply
            1. re: DiveFan

              Justine, our Product Manager, put a request into block it from our side, as well. Thanks for letting us know.

            2. Good news, just got this email from Trader Joes:

              Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. The website that
              you had visited is not a Trader Joe's website. We are in no way
              affiliated with another site other the We are
              currently aware of this matter and would like to inform you that Trader
              Joe's does not participate in these types of surveys, as we prefer to
              talk to our customers. This is an unauthorized use of the Trader Joe's
              name. Trader Joe's does not accept any vouchers from these websites for
              our products. We are actively working within our Legal Department to put
              a stop to this email survey campaign. Please visit the link below to our
              Website for more information.


              Thank you for providing this important information to us.

              Thank you for your understanding regarding this matter.
              OTOH Google couldn't be bothered with responding to my inquiry about their spammer ad link. Boo Hiss!

              1. Bumping this topic again since I just viewed ANOTHER bogus, Google sponsored, Trader Joes 'related' ad:

                Is Trader Joes Going Broke ?
                Visit Web SiteOh No ! It's Just A Gift Card We Are Giving Away for Your Opinion...

                Do NOT visit this site and complete the survey unless you love to be spammed!

                5 Replies
                1. re: DiveFan

                  Please don't include links to sites you think/know are spam or otherwise not above board.

                  And maybe stop clicking on ads.

                  1. re: ccbweb

                    On the contrary, please DO include links to those sites. We can only block them from those ad blocks if we have the links.

                    1. re: Jacquilynne

                      I read corrected, thanks Jacquilynne.

                      Also, DiveFan, as I thought about this more it seemed clear that Trader Joe's simply doesn't advertise in any of these ways so any sort of link on a website to some survey or gift card offer is not going to have anything to do with them.

                      1. re: Jacquilynne

                        Jacqueline, is there any way people can send the links to your and/or the tech support team instead of reposting them here? it's obviously a phishing site, but those are also the sort of websites that load your computer with "malware" when they can. NO ONE should click on the links.

                        My concern is that this is a classic way to spread malicious programs to un/underprotected computers. Currently there is a malicious worm making its way around the globe according to the NYTimes. You can read about it here: Or here if you prefer the whole URL:

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          Certainly -- if you'd prefer, you can send the links to me at jacquilynne dot schlesier at cbs dot com and I'll ask that they be blocked.