Google's Deceptive Ad: Google Puts Ad in Email Under Promotion Tab

By Xah Lee. Date:
Gmail Google ad as email 2013-08-19
Google's ads showing in gmail's promotion tab.

Recently, Google add a new feature, so that mails are automatically sorted into 3 tabs: {Primary, Social, Promotions}. The primary is your normal inbox. The social is any email from social networking sites, such as {Facebook, Twitter, …}. The “Promotions” are “promotional” emails of sites you use, such as news letters from Amazon, your internet service provider, etc. Very nice feature.

Gmail tabs screenshot 2013-08-19
Gmail tabs screenshot

Today, i went to the Promotions tab to check what's up of sites i personally signed up and requested their ads. Then, i saw this giant “Win $5000.00” scam. Huh? I've never subscribed to any site that would send out Win Big Money, and i thought i had email images turned off by default. Then, i went to check the email header to see where it came from. But no email header is to be found.

Then i thought, “aha, some scammer have found a way to break gmail”. Then, i googled, thinking that this must be widely reported by all the SEO sites and spam watchers. But i couldn't find any such report. Eventually, found that is this actually Google's new advertisement scheme.