The fake Chinese rainbow seeds fooling gardeners but paying Google & eBay

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Have you noticed the cyber invasion of fake ‘rainbow’ coloured tomato and flower seeds that are flooding the Internet? From ‘rainbow tomatoes’ to ‘rainbow roses’ and ‘rainbow chrysanthemums’, the horticultural Facebook forums are full of excited gardening newbies, tricked into buying these fake seeds off the back of obviously photo-shopped or faked images. In all likelihood the seeds delivered will either be weeds or regular tomato plants.

I find this quite irritating, not least because it may put off those new to gardening from continuing with their newfound hobby, but also because in the process it takes money away from our economy and sends it far flung bank accounts where it can be used for nefarious purposes. A quick check today reveals four seemingly legitimate websites selling such seeds, all four websites are registered to similar addresses in China. The seeds are ALL completely fake but appear on Google and on eBay with multiple websites to get around Google’s ‘one advertising account’ policy.

Chinese Con Merchants

Gardeners! What you need to do today – click to waste their cash!

These companies are actually paying Google each time somebody clicks on one of their adverts or ‘Google shopping’ listings (and yes that might make you suspicious about why Google hasn’t clamped down on them…). So here’s what I’d like you to do for the next few days:

Please conduct a Google search for ‘rainbow tomatoes’ (OR CLICK HERE) then click on each of the three companies shown in the top left corner of the Google results (those with a ridiculous photo-shopped rainbow  image – NOT Thompson & Morgan’s legitimate variety). Each time YOU click, THEY pay, and if we all click en masse regularly as a gardening community they will soon be spending a fortune selling nothing and go away – nobody wants to lose money:

Fake rainbow tomato seeds

The only real variety here is the Thompson & Morgan listing (don’t click that one, we like T&M!)

I invite all gardeners interested in stopping this scam to do this every day for the next week (it won’t help to click the same advert multiple times per day, Google don’t charge for extra clicks on the same day).

I’d also like to see ebay stop listing the products too, they are no doubt taking a commission for all these fake orders (again that might make you suspicious about why THEY haven’t clamped down either):

The fake flowers that pay eBay

The fake Chinese seeds that pay eBay

 

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About Author

Matt Peskett is GrowLikeGrandad (if you want to know why read 'About the Editor). He has a 'heavy clay' allotment and is a member of the Dorking Allotment Holders Association (DAHA). Matt also has a medium sized 'sandy soil' hillside garden (Italian terrace designed) and enjoys photography - especially nature. Matt takes inspiration from gardens like Hidcote, Great Dixter and Sissinghurst and enjoys watching anything on TV with Monty Don in it.

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