Readers are probably familiar with online ads that make bold and often misleading claims in order to get clicks. The resulting articles typically feature slideshows that require a seemingly endless number of “next page” clicks in order to find the answer promised in the ad. This answer is sometimes never even revealed.
For example, this ad read, “Woman files for divorce after seeing this photo – Can you see why?”
The announcement led to a 77-page slideshow article. On the last page, he revealed that the whole thing was “a story made up for entertainment purposes.” Yes, you read that correctly: 77 pages.
The reason these types of ads lead to articles with lots of pages is simple: money. A budget is needed to display original ads on the Internet that draw readers to long slideshow articles. In order to get that money back and even make a profit, scammers fill the many pages of their slideshow articles with sometimes hundreds of ads. This is called advertising arbitrage.
We’ve rounded up 13 such weird ads that we checked in 2021, and we’re taking the new approach of listing them all on one page.
Note: This page is part of our annual Snopes content review, and you can read all of our “Staff Picks and Stars” for a variety of content categories here.
False. We couldn’t find out who this man was, but we know for sure that he was not showing a young Donald Trump. The announcement in this story led to a lengthy article that never even mentioned the photo.
Badly subtitled. This ad was misleading. The photo actually showed a bespectacled (hairless) Andean bear named Dolores.
False. This photo was a fake from a fake. Whoever created it added a larger wave to an already faked image.
True. Remarkably, the answer to this is yes. A bag over a car mirror can keep ice and snow from building up in cold weather. However, it is not known if this is something that a lot of drivers do.
False. We found two announcements on this subject. They each led to 50 page slideshow articles. None of the 100 pages mentioned anything about placing a bottle on a tire when it is parked.
False. This ad showed Dr. Phil McGraw with his second and current wife, Robin McGraw. They are not divorced. However, the article only mentioned his first wife, Debbie Higgins. We couldn’t find any credible source that confirmed they had a million dollar divorce settlement.
False. In 2021, several online ads targeted actor Milana Vayntrub with baseless accusations. Vayntrub portrayed Lily in AT&T TV commercials. The articles that resulted from the advertisements never ended up addressing the accusations of the advertisements.
False. The ad led to a 43-page article that never even mentioned phones. Please do not spray your phones with WD-40.
True. We told you it would be strange. Some of them are weird and wrong. This one is strangely true.
False. The claim here was that this tiny Icelandic island has a home with a grim truth as to why it is empty. It is also said that Björk once lived there. Neither was true. We decided to take the opportunity to document the myths of the island.
True. Two men actually photographed their exploration of the bunker pipes sticking out of the ground in northern Germany. However, we recommend that you read our story instead of relying on the misleading ad below. The articles that resulted from this announcement led to a dramatized story with fictitious names.
False. Yes, it’s still WD-40. Please do not spray your gas tank with WD-40. None of the pages in the long article mentioned anything about spraying WD-40 on a car’s gas tank.
False. The ad below led to an article that never mentioned why an empty toilet paper roll or a red cup should go under a toilet seat at night. If we had to guess, it’s possible that placing an empty toilet paper roll under the seat could alert others that there is no toilet paper. However, why specifically “at night”? The article did not mention it, so we rated the claim as “False”.
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