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I recently participated in a survey that some of you might have noticed on the Stack Overflow banners.

Banner - is this really from RIM??

The add promised a $50 gift certificate and after completing the survey, but instead of following though, it just said "thanks". I think that sort of ad is misleading, and I suggest the Stack Overflow moderators remove those kinds of ads from their website. Is very upsetting.

Also, it does not help RIM at all! (EDIT: It does because it is a very cheap way to get useful comments, but I won't ever develop for them after this.)

Can this issue be confirmed?

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Reiterating my agreement that this ad is absolutely misleading and supporting its removal, but upon closer inspection, I do see a possible legalese loophole here: The ad states you get the $50 GC for "participating in a brief discussion session". My guess is they would claim that the survey is not the "discussion session". –  Andrew Barber Apr 25 '12 at 13:52
    
@AndrewBarber good point.Would be interesting to have an expert opinion on this. Survey is different than discussion.I am wondering if there are any regulations on ads and banner.In many European country if an ad is misleading consumer can report it and there is an regulatory system that blocks it and fines the company (in Italy Apple has been fined for misleading warranty ads encouraging people to buy AppleCare instead EU eletronic goods rules guarantee 2 years all electronic prouducts, not 1 year). I hope that in the future there will be a stricter regulation on online ads(eg. cartified ads) –  mm24 Apr 25 '12 at 14:39

2 Answers 2

up vote 37 down vote accepted

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. While we were ok with the original offer, we're not ok with them not following through and have pulled the ads for now. We'll let them know this is unacceptable.

EDIT

We looked into this some more on our end, and found that the landing page changed yesterday. Before that it was http://www.ppsg.us/mobile-developer-discussion-session-registration.html which is in line with the ad. We haven't yet spoken to the advertiser so don't know why they made the change without changing the creative. When we speak to them we'll also ask about the process through which they will reward people that participated in the discussion.

EDIT 2

We've spoken to the advertiser and have received the following clarification: Anyone that signed up through the original landing page will be contacted to participate in a discussion. As part of that process you will be asked to also fill out a short survey. The discussion itself will take about 45 minutes. So far 30 people have participated in the discussions, invitations to everyone else will go out in the next two weeks. Incentives for those that have participated will go out this week or early next week, and those that will participate will receive their incentive within a number of weeks of participating.

If you filled out the survey following the new link, which did not offer a way to sign up to participate in the discussion, and you would like to do so, email us at ads dot stackoverflow dot com and we will pass your info along.

Having verified all this, we think the offer (whether you want to take them up on it or not, much like any other advertisement) checks out as long as the old landing page is used. As such we've decided to reactivate the campaign, using the original landing page, and let it run its course.

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Thank you. I feel that this should not be the sole "punishment" and does not bring justice to this. If those ads were really from RIM then some article on some tech magazine should be written as they will use those contributions to improve their brand. I would be ok with this if they had paid the 50$ but not if they don't. A useful comment is worth much more than 50$, and it tells a lot about RIM's ethics if they don't pay. Public and future customers should now about this to avoid trusting someone that doesn't deserve it. Hope my comment is not too harsh. –  mm24 Apr 25 '12 at 13:39
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@mm24 I feel your angst with this sort of thing. There's not so much as an asterisk to their statement of "get a $50 gift cert for...", the claim seems clear. That said, I think removing the ad and telling the advertiser "this is not acceptable" is all that SO probably should do. It's certainly a lot more than most media do... which is accept all paid advertising and issue a "we are not responsible for the ads" disclaimer. –  Andrew Barber Apr 25 '12 at 13:49
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@AndrewBarber I agree with you. I am glad for the quick response of Korneel Bouman and I feel better to have shared my angst on this. –  mm24 Apr 25 '12 at 13:53
    
Shouldn't this post get a [status-completed] tag? –  Ephraim Apr 25 '12 at 14:27
    
@Ephraim Oh, yeah, I s'pose. –  Korneel Bouman Apr 25 '12 at 14:33
    
@KorneelBouman regarding your last edit. Thanks for looking into detail. This explains the differnt experience of my and Lucifer (see answer below). I am looking forward for any update and feedback from any developer that might have had a 50$ certificate (if any). Thanks! –  mm24 Apr 25 '12 at 14:43
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I do not consider 45 minutes to be brief. –  Ian Ringrose Apr 25 '12 at 21:37
    
@KorneelBouman those are fair news. I suggest that you keep an eye on this and try to have feedback from the people that already partecipated to this and verify if they got the reward. That's all. Otherwise good job and thanks for cracking on this. Shows the seriousness of your team :)! –  mm24 Apr 26 '12 at 10:47

Yes, I had the same experience, I joined it before 2-3 weeks. I got confirmation email from them and then proceeds to some more registration for survey. But still there is not rewards from their side like how they are going to pay or when they are going to pay. I think that advertisement is just for get visits of BlackBerry Sites Pages. They looks like fake.

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I did not have to join and completed the survey before hand. At the end they just said thanks for completing it and there was no request to give them an email for rewards. –  mm24 Apr 25 '12 at 13:45
    
Yes, but I did and received only "Thanks" nothing else –  Lucifer Apr 25 '12 at 13:48
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Per my observation (see my comment to the question above), I would be interested in seeing if anyone gets a follow-up request to participate in a "discussion". –  Andrew Barber Apr 25 '12 at 14:30
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@Lucifer see the second update to my answer above. You should be contacted to participate in a discussion within the next two weeks. –  Korneel Bouman Apr 25 '12 at 20:22
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Just curious, did you ever get contacted/paid? –  Pops May 29 '12 at 20:00
    
@Lucifer would be nice to know, have you seen that Rim is considering selling their business to Amazon or Facebook? businessinsider.com/… –  mm24 Jun 25 '12 at 15:54

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