Sorry to reply twice. I just wanted to add: all Google Sites have a little "(i)" symbol at the bottom-left side of the page. (It's a standard template which Google imposes to prevent exactly this kind of abuse through their site.). Click that, and you have the option to report abuse (phishing/scam). I just did it to four sites.
If everyone googled "Roku activation site" and did it to those four "sites.google" which appear, it might save someone some grief.
(None of this helps the OP. Sorry.).
No one has to google anything. But it's hard to STOP people from googling things. One of the top three search terms for my own website is: the URL of my website. Ie: MANY people find my site by putting the URL into google rather than directly into the URL field. As a techy guy, I find this bizarre. As a guy who does a lot of unofficial IT for friends and family, I now completely understand it.
Here's a summary of today's IT via Skype: Friend's printer was printing nothing but blank pages for days. Changed the ink, no help. Today, I figured out that every time she wanted to print, she brought a document up on her screen, and then went over and pressed the "print" button on her printer. I had already expressed skepticism by phone and email for days that I have never seen a printer where you had to go to it and press a print button. So I had her go over and read that button carefully. Yep, it was a "print" button that was labeled "COPY". Even after reading what it said, she didn't understand why her printouts were blank. So instead of pressing copy on her all-in-one, I had her press PRINT on her computer. Problem solved.
No one has to google anything.
Previously you said the activation process involves an email, and that it may not be received, prompting customers to search for ways to get around that (trick it). That sounded like that part of the activation workflow doesn't confirm the email address is actually accessible to the customer. If that's true, the workflow could send an email with a confirmation link, and just sit at the onscreen activation window waiting until confirmation occurs (or, cancel to enter an email address again).
Obviously, part of the problem with this discussion is that I've forgotten what the activation process looks like. I can't really speak to what's happening.
But, I do know that we don't see scam activation sites for Acer laptops, cell phones (or, at least googling for such doesn't show me any in the top page or two). So, what makes Roku different?
I agree that a large part of society lacks critical reasoning skills. But, why are they preyed upon with their Roku device (before they even have it working)? and we don't see 4 scam sites on the first page of a google search for other products? (Sure, once you have Windows activated, and browse the internet, you might see malicious popups in your browser trying to get you to "clean" your computer, or something. But, Roku users are harmed just trying to get their tv to be recognized as their own.). Knowing how customers can (and will) do the wrong thing is a reason to make the activation process idiot proof, never give anyone a reason to have to google about it (over a lost email, or something).
From everything I've seen, Roku's customer service is absolutely abysmal. They don't test their software updates. They don't leverage their customer base to participate in pre-release testing (against a broader swath of hardware). When problems are reported, there's no bug tracking we can see (and know the status of the matter). A buggy release was pushed just 5 days before Christmas (when Roku knew more staff would be taking time off). It's like the last thing on anyone's mind at Roku is the customer. Look at this forum, for crying out loud. People are supposed to follow a format for providing info when reporting a problem. An employee constantly has to ask for it. It's rarely supplied. When it is supplied, nobody hears anything back (it's just "passed along" like this is just a casual matter.). The forum itself is setup to promote customer frustration(!). It is most definitely not setup for mitigation. If you require a format for reporting problems, shouldn't that be a workflow, not a side-bar hint that nobody reads? (Especially when you know how customers are prone to doing the wrong thing?).
Personally, seeing how this scamming of Roku customers has existed for months (if not years), and there are/were four scam sites on the very first google result page, it just fits into the perception that the customer is the last thing Roku has on its mind. That point is spoken over and over again. They have time to break antenna tv, remove favorites, etc. But, not to search for scammers whom they know exist (or, fix their activation/setup process if that's creating a condition where people have to try to do it outside the process.).
On my most recent Roku install, I had the new link by email and that worked fine. (Although I do run a forum, and I do get the: didn't get the email, can't login, can't answer the sign-up questions, the password reset doesn't work for me etc. stuff too.) Then I had to link amazon prime on my Roku and it worked via a link URL just like Roku used to. So on a hunch, I threw the Amazon link URL into a search engine and I got fake link sites for that. So, not just Roku, though frankly I suspect Roku makes a better target than some due to the fact that Roku is perceived to be one of the simplest and friendliest streaming options, so you have a lot of kids giving them to their parents. And a lot of older folks would much rather talk to someone on the phone than do something on a computer, so it makes a good match for scammers.
I'm also guessing that with Amazon's money and with 500 times as many employees, they probably have an easier time of keeping up with the whack-a-mole than Roku does. At one time, I used to report clearly deceptive auctions on ebay and got thousands of auctions and several hundred accounts pulled. But every time, the next day, there would be 10 new accounts running the same kind of auctions, so I eventually moved on to other "hobbies".
Along the lines of what makes Roku different:
A few days ago, I was looking into using a software product, and I came across a thread with thousands of posts in which people claimed that hackers used the product to take control of their computer. (And in turn go to stores and banks and use their browser-saved passwords against them.) The company denied any involvement or any security lapse and blamed it on other company's recent data breaches and people using the same passwords for multiple uses. Some people bought that, others asked why then did these breaches only lead to breaking in on this particular brand of software.
A few weeks later the company released a version with security improvements while claiming there were no faults in the previous version. (By the way, some friends of mine have used this software for years and say those people who got hacked must be idiots because it's fine. Who knows?)
Also when you say, what makes Roku different than Acer laptops and cell phones… I've never "activated" a laptop. A lot of cell phones are hooked up for you. The last time I used a prepaid cell phone, you could buy a card and input the number on the card on the phone itself, so linking it to any account was completely optional. So, no chance for a scam right there, though I think when I read their forums, I saw that there were other scams that worked on them. (And of course, phones of this sort are a favorite of scammers to USE.)
When I visit my ISP support forum, I see people getting scam emails, scam phone calls, etc. I watched a program about the scamming industry a few weeks back. They even had a hidden camera job interview with the reporter pretending to be a prospective salesperson for one of the scam companies. She even said that her concern was that she knew nothing about the product they were selling. The manager said, not to worry, none of their sales people did. They just needed people who could sell. At no point did they even hint that she would be selling something that didn't exist. Maybe they let you do it for awhile so you are complicit.
Yeah, Roku's customer support doesn't seem to be much. However, I could complain about the customer support of a product I paid 700 times as much for too. My own customer support when people can't follow the reset password instructions at my forum probably leaves much to desire too, though my forum is even cheaper than a Roku!
Scammers create look-alike/search-alike websites so they can act as a "man in the middle" and charge you for something that is free.
Hopefully you didn't give them any information. Go back and activate it roku instead:
Unfortunately, even giving your link code to one of these scam sites can be dangerous because they can use it to connect a roku to an account under their control.
American Infospace is not a scam company they are handling my 5 tvs and 4 sticks and whenever i need help they pick call in ten seconds not like you guys waiting for hours and hours
What are they "handling" for you? Just to be clear, it doesn't cost anything to activate a Roku. Anyone who claims it does is scamming you.
To the Roku folks out there, I'm sure you guys are aware of the Roku activation scam - where they Google Roku activation and are shown false ads by Google that suggest the user needs to pay an activation fee. I knew (after the fact) a couple of my friends who returned the device because of this scam incorrectly believing it's Roku that requires an activation fee.
It can be easily mitigated by including printed material with the device showing the steps more clearly and mentioning there's no activation fee (and there's only subscription fees if they specifically subscribe via the Roku Channel).
Other more stringent measures would be to take legal action against Google as they're clearly taking a cut from these illegal practices. Facebook vs NSO Group is a precedent where there's a claim of harm to users.
I'd appreciate if you pass these suggestions to your marketing and legal teams. Thank you.
Thanks for the post and concerns.
For more information about scams, we would recommend taking a look at the information provided by our Support page here: How do I protect myself from activation and technical support scams?