This is one in a series of posts reviewing and looking at how some of the SEO companies which use bulk emails/spam with ‘we can help your terrible site’ type emails really can (and actually mostly can’t!) help your site.
This time the spam came in from a ‘Frank’ who was using a Gmail address which had another seemingly random word in…
The subject of the spam was “Interested: SEO Proposal?” and went:
Hello, [email protected]
I am a Marketing Manager.
We have a “SEO Discount offer” going for the following package: –
Monthly Task and responsibilities: – Package For 15 Keywords:-
20 Search Engine Submissions
20 Manually Directory Submissions
4 Article Submissions (4 Unique Articles Written and Submitted)
2 Press Release Distributions (2 Unique Press Release Written and Submitted)
5 Web2.0/Blog postings (Using pre-written articles)
30 Social Book marking Submissions
5 Forum postings
3 Unique Article writing (400+ words)
1 Press Release writing (350+ words)
New pages suggestions
Title Tag changes suggestions
Meta tags changes suggestions
Alt tag changes suggestions
HTML Site Map
XML site map setup
Anchor text optimization
Google webmaster setup
Google analytics setup
Fortnightly Ranking Report
Fortnightly Full Detailed SEO Work Report in Excel
We use only white hat SEO techniques for each website: –
If you would like more details about our SEO Package Discount offer or would like to ask me anything regarding this matter then feel free to write me an email.
Please let us know in case you are interested.
Well, that seems like too much of an amazing offer to pass up (not…) so I replied:
That sounds like an interesting offer. Please can you look at www.whychristmas.com and send me a report about what you think of it?
Also, please can you tell me more about the company you work with? Where are you located?
During each December my Christmas site gets millions and millions of visits and is #1 on the whole of Google for a huge number of Christmas searches – so any SEO advice about the site is always ‘interesting’…
My reply got this reply from Rohit who’s now using an @awebstar.com.sg email:
Frank has shared the details with me.
Please find Search Engine Optimization packages and company presentation
There were three attachments to Rohit’s email, an excel file with details of their SEO packages, another excel file with details of their social media packages and an ELEVEN MB (yes 11mb!) powerpoint file about how great a company they are!
Awebstar are based in Singapore (a novelty as most SEO spammers are in India…) and, like the UK, Singapore has some pretty strict anti-spam legislation; all of which Awebstar had ignored. So I replied asking why they thought it was OK to do that…
I’ve been a web designer and developer for over 20 years. I like to reply to SEO spammers to see what ‘services’ they offer and the things they say and use to get clients.
Please can you explain why you feel it’s OK to break multiple anti-spam laws?
You company appears to be based in Singapore, where there’s the “Spam Control Act”. I live in the UK where there’s PECR.
Your spam from ‘Frank’ broke both of these. That’s not good!
Why should I (or frankly anyone) trust a company that’s willing to break the law in multiple countries to get clients?
I also specifically asked ‘Frank’ to look at my site www.whychristmas.com and to let me know what he thought of it. You also failed to do that and instead just told me how wonderful your company is…
And I got this reply:
I am sorry about it. I am not aware about we broke the law.
Regarding the report for your website.
Team is working on it and will share with you in next 2 days. Definitely we will not contact you back now if you are not happy.
Hmmm, they claim to be the ‘number 1’ web company in Singapore, yet don’t know anything some fundamental laws governing their business area. Well, I had to reply:
But being sorry really isn’t good enough… On your site you claim to be the #1 company for designing and developing websites in Singapore, yet you don’t seem to be aware about the basics of a major piece of legislation that directly affects your business!
Here’s a link to the Singapore Government website that you might find useful:
In the opening paragraph it states:
“If an organisation sends commercial electronic messages in bulk to recipients who did not request to receive the message, or did not give their prior and informed consent to the receipt of the message, it is considered as spam.”
I did not receive or give you my consent – so you are spammers. It’s really as simple as that! The UK’s PECR is very similar in this aspect.
You are also failing in several other aspects to meet the guidelines for people sending commercial emails under that legislation!
I’m not actually interested in your report. I’m interested in stopping people spamming!
It also seems strange to me that the ‘#1’ web company in Singapore would need to use spam to get clients!!!
I’ve not heard back after that one…
Looking at Their Site
With SEO spammers, I also like to look at their sites, to see if they practice what they preach (I mean would you trust a plumber who had leaking and rusty pipes all over their own house?!); and also to compare their site with a site they say they can help…
Their site is https://awebstar.com.sg/
For HTML Validation, my site has no errors. Their site has 9 errors and 1 warnings.
Using the ‘WAVE’ Accessibility Testing Tool, their site has 21 errors and 72 contrast errors. My site has no errors of either kind!
Using the GTMetrix speed test tool their site gets:
Overall Grade: D
My site gets:
Overall Grade: A
So my site is perfect!!
Overall their site is rather good compared to most SEO spammers. And I think they actually a legitimate company who does some good work.
HOWEVER, they does not excuse the fact that they ARE SPAMMERS.
They are failing to comply with Singapore’s “Spam Control Act” in several ways and ignore many of the ‘best practices’ set out by the government of Singapore: https://www.imda.gov.sg/for-community/Infocomm-regulation-and-guides/unsolicited-communications/best-practices-for-organisations
Claiming (or actually being) the ‘number 1 ranked’ company for anything in a country (as they do multiple times on their site) doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow basic laws for operating in your country or ones which have impact around the world. And it really doesn’t give you the right to spam anyone!
As far as SEO spammers go, Awebstar Technolgies seem to be about the biggest/most ‘legitimate’ who have spammed me.
I find it very sad that such a seemingly large company are either ignorant to foundational laws covering their own business; or are freely happy to ignore them from behind fake names and email accounts.
They might do good work, but as I put in my emails to Rohit; why should I (or anyone) trust a company that does things like that?
But, as ever, the choice is yours…