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 ‘Jack’ who was using an @websiteauditer.com. I normally removed the last name of spammers for privacy, but as I’m sure this name is fake, I’ve leaving it all in! [Update September 2023: I’ve had more spam from ‘Jack Williams’ this time using an @dmoons.co email address. So Jack’s still busy spamming!]
The subject of the spam was “Kind Attn! Report” (although there was no report on it) and went:
Hi whychristmas.com Team,
I hope you are doing well.
This is a sincere acknowledgment about your website’s Google presence. We found your website whychristmas.com on way down or not visible on the first page of Google search – while we Google some “search terms” related to your services (for your location) and noticed that your website doesn’t show up in the Google’s TOP#10 positions. However, there are many of your local competitors in your service areas visible on the TOP of Google map listings and search results.
We have been working on optimizing websites and make them visible on Google and Bing for the top ranking since 2012 and we do it exactly within our deadline. Stay ahead of your local competition by using the latest techniques as per Google guidelines and algorithms. Dominate your online presence and visibility today – with us!
What we can do?
Google Top Ranking
Increase – Online visitors
Online Review Posting (5 star)
Google My Business Page (Manage)
Website issue fixing
Social media management – Business page / posting (weekly)
Page speed/Mobile friendly
PPC (pay-per-click)/Google Ads/ Facebook Ads
Video Creation for your services
We would be happy to send you a quick proposal and plan of action using the top search phrases related to your business. If you are interested, please reply to this email, and we’ll send it over.
Jack Williams (Internet Marketing Consultant)
Well, this is fairly typical SEO spam email. However, my site DOES rank in Google’s top 10 for a huge number of searches. It’s also NOT a local business. So there’s no local competitors and so the whole bit about local competitors is clearly rubbish to start with.
Anyway, I replied, because that’s I what I do with SEO spammers!
That sounds really interesting. Please can you tell me more about your plan of action? Why don’t you think my site is ranking well? What’s wrong with it?!
Fairly shortly afterwards, I got the below reply. This time it was coming from a dmoons.net email and the subject was now: Re: James – website information
Thanks for your email and showing interest in our services. I just audited your website and observed that your website’s content and information resources great. But there is a major drawback and that is why your website’s ranking on Google is poor – which is “LINK STRUCTURE”. All the pages / articles opened with a link and follow those links – which are NOT GOOGLE FRIENDLY. That means, the way a link should be – it’s not like that.
Click on this page: Christmas Story>>Read the Full Christmas Story
Current link structure: https://www.whychristmas.com/story/the_christmas_story.shtml
Conclusion: A link should not have “Underscores” and it ends with .shtml – which is not recommended.
Secondly, your website is on HTML platform and which is not recommended / suitable for an informative/blogging/article kind of website. So you need to transform your website to WordPress. At one go, your website would be transformed to an advanced content management system and all the links’ structure could be corrected.
Result, would be 10 times better than current status. If you’d be interested then we can discuss further.
Jack Williams (Project Head & Account Manager)
Before we get into the main contents of the email (handled in a reply to it), we can see that Jack is now the ‘Project Head & Account Manager’ as well as a ‘Internet Marketing Consultant’. He must be really busy!
I replied to Jack, explaining one or two (or more!) things…
I’ve been running my site for over 20 years. I reply to SEO spammers, like yourself, to see what they say to try and get business…
I’m glad you like my site. But I’m afraid your information isn’t correct.
Ah, the old ‘link structure’. Yes, now hyphens are preferred. HOWEVER, when the site was created, over 20 years ago, it was the other way around!
Google can view .html, .htm and .shtml files just fine. IT DOES NOT CARE that the pages end with .shtml.
Please see the attached screenshot. It shows a Google search for ‘the christmas story’. My site is the NUMBER ONE organic page out of ‘about 3,470,000,000 results’. So that page seems to be doing just fine for having both underscores and .shtml in its file name! I’d love to know how you’d male that ’10 times better’ than the current NUMBER ONE ranking page!?
You also say that the site uses the ‘HTML platform and which is not recommended’. THAT IS TOTAL RUBBISH. All web pages use HTML. You literally cannot have a web page which does not use HTML!!!
I’m also a WordPress expert. I use it for many, many sites. However, I don’t use it for my Christmas site. Your own site DOES use HTML and it DOES NOT use WordPress. So I guess your own site is also ‘not recommend’ then either?!
My Christmas site gets over 20 MILLION page loads every December. So again, it’s doing just fine.
Your website says that you’re based in New Jersey, USA. This means that any commercial emails you send are covered by the CAN-SPAM act. Your initial email to me is in breach of the CAN-SPAM act on a number of points. According to this guide from the FTC (https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business) your email was in breach on points 1, 2, 4 and 5. I also live in the UK and so I’m covered by a law called PECR. Your email is also in breach of PECR on a number of point.
Thus you and your company are a spammer.
I ask you to remove me from any future mailings and honour that request – as point 6.
I wish you a Happy Christmas, but please stop spamming people!
I’ve not heard back after that one… Yet another SEO spammer that doesn’t like answering questions or hearing that what they say is a load of rubbish!
Their Report & Recommendations
I did most of the explaining of this in the email to Jack, but I’ll talk more about the CAN-SPAM side of things below.
On the ‘HTML platform and which is not recommended’ thing – if I were being generous (it is nearly Christmas!), they might mean a ‘static’ site when they put ‘HTML platform’ (a static site is one that doesn’t use a database much, or at all, in the ‘front end’ of the site. They might well use a CMS/database, or even WordPress, in the ‘back end’, but it’s output as ‘static’ HTML on the web for a number of reasons). But even if they did, it’s still complete and utter rubbish.
Static sites are now used by many large (and growing number of) sites as they often have really fast loading times – just like my static Christmas site does!
Also, I’ll pop in here the screenshot from Google, showing that my site is doing just fine, even with having underscores and shtml in the file name…
Now let’s look at their site and see if it looks like…!
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.dmoons.com/
For HTML Validation, my Christmas site has no errors. Their site has 4 errors and 23 warnings. (The errors are also really silly ones with how they’ve badly used the other wise good off the shelf template they use on their site…)
Using the ‘WAVE’ Accessibility Testing Tool, their site has 4 errors and 54 contrast errors. That’s not great. My Christmas site has no errors of either kind!
Using the Google Lighthouse speed test tool their site gets:
Best Practices: 69
My site gets:
Best Practices: 100
So my site is MUCH better across the board, and especially in ‘Performance’.
That is the LOWEST performance score I’ve EVER SEEN. (Beating out Responsive Techno / Webinfosys which got 4!) Yet one of things they claim to do is ‘Page speed/Mobile friendly’ This test uses mobile performance as its benchmark, so, erm, yeah…!
The alt text on their logo is ‘logo’. That is really not good.
They have two Heading 1s. You should only have one. That is very basic SEO! And the text that’s in their Heading 1s is basically worthless SEO wise. Oops.
There are links in the footer to a ‘Blog’. Only it doesn’t exist – the links go to a 404/missing page (and not even a custom one, but the standard server one) again, oops.
There are social media icons in the footer, including one for Google+, but that’s been closed for YEARS. But as the copyright year on the site is 2017, that would make sense…!
There’s an email address on their contact page, but it’s bot coded as a link properly, so it sort of useless.
They say that they’re based in the USA and there’s an address in New Jersey on the contact page. But if you look the address up, it’s a non descent apartment block. Not exactly where ‘one of the leading’ SEO companies (as they claim to be) would be based.
There are some phone numbers on their site. There’s a New Jersey number and a New York number and they have the right area codes. There’s also a London number, although the area code it uses is one used by A LOT of phone spammers. There’s also a number in Australia. It’s for a Sydney, but also seems to have the same kind of area code reputation as the one for London…
I suspect they have a ‘legal’ address in New Jersey, but interestingly it says on their about page that “We have separate regional headquarters to cater focused services to our clients across the world.”. As their site uses Indian nameservers and the ‘websiteauditer.com’ domain was registered in India, that they are primarily based/working from India.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but being deceptive about such things, isn’t very good.
And as they claim to be in the USA, as per my email to ‘Jack’, they come under the US anti spam ‘CAN-SPAM’ act.
The domain websiteauditer.com also registered in April 2021. A trick of SEO spammer is to use different ‘throw away’ domains for doing the initial spamming so they don’t get spam markers on their main domain… (Also, auditer is the French spelling, in English you spell it auditor…)
On the link I sent about CAN-SPAM, it lists ways in which you can be breach of the legislation. Dmoons breach the following:
Don’t use false or misleading header information.
Well, they used a different/non main business email address and didn’t mention the company.
Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
The subject line to me was: Kind Attn! Report. That’s deceptive as they didn’t have a report and I hadn’t asked for one!
Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address.
They didn’t on their initial spam or follow up email.
Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future.
Neither of their emails had this either.
I also mentioned point 6 which is: Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days.
Less see if they do it, I have my doubts!
And sometimes spammer also claim that a sub-contractor sent the spam and not them (although as both my emails were from ‘Jack Williams’ I very much doubt that’s the case here). Well, CAN-SPAM has that covered with: Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law.
So, as we can see, if Dmoons are registered as a legal entity in the USA (which they appear to be), then they are also quite happy to break the law in their spamming!
In their initial spam Dmoons said “We have been working on optimizing websites and make them visible on Google and Bing for the top ranking since 2012…” and on their web home page it says “Award Wining and Trusted in NJ. Since 2010”. So what is it 2012 or 2010?
It’s probably neither as their dmoons.com domain was registered in November 2013! The dmoons.net domain (which Jack’s follow up email came from) was registered in December 2015 (and it always seems a bit iffy when a company uses different web and email domains…). And as above, they’re sending initial spam out from a completely different domain registered this year.
Dmoons are SEO spammers. They look to be ‘legally’ based in the USA (even if they really work elsewhere).
They’re happy to use fake emails and names to send spam. They’re also happy to break multiple international laws when sending their spam.
They also don’t seem to know what they’re talking about when it comes to making sites and how they work!
They also have the WORST web performance score I’ve EVER SEEN – even though their site appears to be static…
So if Dmoons want to help with your site, the delete button might be a better option.
But, as ever, the choice is yours…