Deceptive dental ads get a kick in the teeth

No, it's not just you. Those terrible teeth-whitening ads really are on every Web site in the galaxy, and they really are as scammy as they seem. Thankfully, a few brave souls—namely, the Better Business Bureau and the Utah Division of Consumer Protection—are dropping the hammer on some of the worst offenders. Wired's Epicenter blog reported Tuesday that Cyprus-based Farend Services is being scrutinized for its ads running under the name Dazzle Smile, which is now the target of a Utah "administrative citation" for allegedly steering customers into a thicket of fake articles and unexpected costs. The BBB, citing Dazzle Smile and several other companies, says on its blog that it has "received a recent onslaught of complaints from consumers who thought they were signing up for a free trial of teeth-whitening products but were repeatedly billed for products and services they didn't want." Meanwhile, some teeth-whitening companies feel they've been wrongly targeted in the backlash, and search engine giants like Yahoo! and Microsoft must decide whether to keep running the ads despite consumer complaints. At a time when revenue is so hard to come by, I wouldn't be surprised if the ad networks simply decide to grin and bear it.

—Posted by David Griner