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 email came in from an ‘Niya’ who was using a gmail.com address that had their name and some numbers in it.
The subject of the spam was “SEO Plans & Prices??” and went:
I can help your website to get on the first page on Google and increase the number of leads and sales you are getting from your website.
Let me know if you are interested, then I will send you our SEO Packages and price list.
Let me know if you are interested, so send me your requirement with the website URL and your best contact details, then I can send you our SEO Package and pricing as well.
Thanks & Regards,
Niya [name removed for privacy]
I replied asking them to take a look at my big Christmas site (which is VERY SEO friendly and ranks amazingly highly on Google).
That sounds interesting. What company do you work for and where are you located?
Can you look at this site www.whychristmas.com and see what you think of it?
The next I got a reply from a Sibananda who was using an @webinfosys.net email and they’d changed the subject to “In response to your Inquiry for SEO Services”:
Hope you are doing well,
I am Sibananda, Business Development Manager at Responsive Techno, and I am reaching out to you in reference to your email conversation with my colleague. Kindly look into the trailing email for a quick recap! 🙂
I understand that pricing is important and I’d be happy to have a conversation about it. Our pricing starts from $250/Month for SEO & SMO Services.
I would be willing to connect for just a few minutes to talk about how we can get your company onto a level, Please share your availability for the same.
Sibananda [name removed for privacy]
Responsive Techno Pvt. Ltd.(Webinfosys)
[contact removed for privacy]
On this occasion, I couldn’t be bothered to get a report or anything from the company, so I just straight up asked about why they were spamming (and I’d also noticed some interesting wording on their site I wanted to ask about)…
I see you’ve been in business for many years. So I take it that you’re aware of anti-spam and privacy legislation around the world.
The email from Niya was unsolicited and came from an Gmail account with NO information about your company. That breaks multiple international anti-spam laws, such as CAN-SPAM in the USA and PECR in the UK (there are similar laws in other countries including Canada, Australia and Singapore).
Please can you tell me why you think it’s ok to spam people (and break the law) to get business?
On your site, it says “We use ethical and proven methods to get you to acquire an online presence through SEO, SMO, and related digital marketing services solutions.”
Do you think spamming from random accounts (and breaking several laws) shows the company has ethical practices?
My perception would be that it doesn’t.
Please remove me from your mailing lists (as I have a right to under GDPR) and please do not spam me again.
I’ve not heard back after that one… Yet another SEO spammer that doesn’t like answering questions!
Their Report & Recommendations
Well, there’s no report or things I need to fix, so let’s get straight to looking at their site and see if it looks like they actually know what they’re talking about…!
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://www.webinfosys.net/
For HTML Validation, my Christmas site has no errors. Their site has 6 errors and 45 warnings.
Using the ‘WAVE’ Accessibility Testing Tool, their site has 146(!) errors and 50 contrast errors. That’s impressively bad. My Christmas site has no errors of either kind!
Using the Google Lighthouse speed test tool their site gets:
Best Practices: 80
My site gets:
Best Practices: 100
So my site is MUCH better across the board, and especially in ‘Performance’. That’s got to be the LOWEST performance score I’ve EVER SEEN.
Let’s have a deeper look at their site…
There’s no Heading 1 on their site – that’s an SEO basic. But Responsive Techno don’t seemed to have worried about that…
There’s no alt text on their logo. That’s not good either… for SEO or accessibility.
There are social media links in the site’s footer. The Facebook and Twitter links work, but the LinkedIn one goes to a missing account – oops!
There’s a privacy page (which is good and more than on most SEO spammers) and it tries to do the right thing, only it’s a very ‘old’… There’s a section about controlling what information they hold on you (nice). However, it states:
You may request details of personal information which we hold about you under the Data Protection Act 1998. A small fee will be payable.
There are a couple of problems with that statement.
1 – The ‘Data Protection Act 1998’ WAS a law from the UK (but they’re in India?! The closest thing to a privacy law in India is the Information Technology Act, 2000). The 1998 version of the UK DPA was superseded by the Data Protection Act 2018 – so is no longer of any use/meaning!
The 2018 DPA sits along side of GDPR and GDPR actually handles most of the ‘privacy/personal data’ side of things.
2 – Under GDPR, people are allowed access to know what info you hold about them (and other things). BUT you CANNOT initially charge them to access it!
So although Responsive Techno are trying to do the right thing. They’re referencing a law which is several years out of date and actually comes from a completely different country! (Although GDPR actually covers subjects of the UK/EU wherever their information is accessed/stored in the world.)
They also collect ‘personal’ data by using Google Analytics but don’t tell you that on the site. That breaks GDPR as well…
And if Responsive Techno are so interested in international laws, then their spam broke both PECR from the UK and CAN-SPAM from the USA, as well as several other international anti-spam laws.
I looked at five random sites from their portfolio. Sadly, all the sites had many of the same basic HTML and accessibility issues of their own site. Only one of the five had alt text on the logo – and on that site it was in one of three Heading 1s on the home page (you only want one…).
There are four testimonials on the site. I Googled them. Two of them are only on the Responsive Techno / Webinfosys site. However, the other two are on MANY other SEO type sites (just with the business name changed) and seem to originally come from a web company in New Zealand! That’s, erm, interesting.
Their domain was registered in December 2009, so the company has been around for over ten years. So they’ve had plenty of time to learn about current privacy legistation around the world.
As I said in my email to Sibananda, on their site, it says:
“We use ethical and proven methods to get you to acquire an online presence through SEO, SMO, and related digital marketing services solutions.”
Well, they don’t use ethical ways of getting clients. Because in my book, spamming from random Gmail accounts isn’t ethical…! And remember in Niya’s initial spam it said:
I can help your website to get on the first page on Google…
Only Google have something to say about claims like that:
Beware of SEO companies that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google.from Google’s “Do you need an SEO?”
Responsive Techno / Webinfosys have been around for several years and do have some privacy information – more than most SEO spammers.
However, that information is very out of date. They also sent spam from a random Gmail account to get business and made a claim which Google says to beware of…
They also have the WORST web performance score I’ve EVER SEEN, as well as having about the most basic accessibility errors I’ve seen on a page – that’s quite something.
So if Responsive Techno / Webinfosys want to help with your site, I might give it a miss.
But, as ever, the choice is yours…