What if you were told that if you agreed to "test" a Dell XPS laptop you could keep it, for free?

Would you expect the offer to be from Dell Computer?

After all, who else but the manufacturer would care to give a computer away for simply having you test it?

Would you at least expect the offer to be affiliated with, or authorized, or approved by Dell Computer?

What if the unsolicited email offer avoided your spam filter and looked something like this?

Would you click on the "CLICK HERE" icon as instructed, or would you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page to see if you might be able to learn more before clicking?

If you had followed the instructions to CLICK HERE, before scrolling down to the bottom of your screen, you would have missed this purported disclaimer:

The advertisers in this email are not affiliated with any of the above brands.

This is a third party advertisement sent to you by the list owner. If you no longer wish to receive email from this list owner, please write 101-1001 W. Broadway Suite 765 Vancouver BC 76H-E4E or visit our email removal site by click here.

If you do not wish to receive correspondence from the list manager you will need to follow the unsubscribe instructions provide by the list manager on how to remove you from their list.

What do you think, is the disclaimer valid and effective in avoiding a likelihood of confusion?

What about initial interest confusion?

Does the above email advertisement constitute fair use of the Dell and Intel trademarks and logos? 

We have blogged before about spam email solicitations that attempt disclaimers and make liberal use of the trademarks and logos of others like Google, here.

Do you see this one any differently than the Google Fortune spam ads?

  • Skye Smith

    I’ve been receiving similar offers for days. I do not display pictures by default in any of my email accounts for reasons which are likely to be obvious to many. Yes, one would expect the promotion to be offered through the Manufacturer (Dell). As a rule, I *never* click on an embedded link in email, even when the message appears to be from a friend I know to be somewhat inexperienced with computers in general and security in particular. I always hover the link to reveal the actual address, which often differs from the alleged address in the link. I also set my preferences to show header information on incoming messages.
    Given the current joke that is the U.S. economy and the number of people who are desperately in need of money and/or state of the art equipment, no doubt many inexperienced wishful thinkers will eagerly click on the link leading them to “soupworth.com” and other very dubious sites. I believe the true tester would forward such questionable email to: spoof@dell.com and wait for the billowing clouds of pixels to clear.

  • DEE

    I now count myself as lucky I originaly fell for this scam but fortunatly for me the conformation email did load completly. Being new on a computer I have alot to learn. The worst part is all the spam that even after unsubscribing won’t go away!!!!!