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 a “Henry Greenn” who was using an @gmail.com email address with his name, the word seo and a bunch of numbers in it – always a good sign (not). I normally don’t give out the last name of SEO spammers for privacy. However, I’m 100% sure that this name is fake… (I looked up and apparently only 26 people in the world have the family name Greenn – spelt with two ‘n’s!)
The subject of the spam was “SEO at Low Cost : Interested?” and went:
I was going through your website & I personally see a lot of potential in your website & business. As per my analysis of your website, I can say that, you may not get traffic and orders.
Because there are lots of aspects in the website. Which are not optimized well and not working properly.
Need to optimize the entire website well to improve ranking, traffic and order.
We can place your website on Google’s 1st page Yahoo, etc!
May I send you a quote and portfolio? If you are interested!
Thanks & Regards,
I thought I’d try something a bit different with this one – and to see if spammers actually know what addresses they’re spamming. I copied and pasted the initial email from ‘Henry’ into a new email coming from my big Christmas site (which is very highly ranked and optimised).
I also put “Re:” at the start of the subject – to make it look like I was replying. Well, it turns out that they either don’t know or at least don’t care where a reply come from – because they replied straight back! (I’ve seen scam baiters use this to also control where conversations go/to/from.)
I asked *why* my site needed their help and what exactly was *wrong* with it.
I got a reply from ‘Henry’ introducing me to his colleague ‘John’ aka ‘Mr John’…
Delighted to hear from you.
To assist out better, we have forward your requirement to our senior manager Mr. john [email address removed for privacy]
Also share your whatsapp/ Skype I’d to discuss your requirement in details or you may get back to us using the details below for a more convenient way of conversation.
Looking forward to a reply from you.
Sr.Manager Business and development
[These have been removed for privacy!]
Thanks & Regards,
Well, I didn’t want to do Skype or WhatsApp, so I replied to Henry and John saying that:
Sorry but I can’t do Skype/whatsapp.
Please can John answer my questions:
Please can you tell me what’s wrong with the site?
What needs changing?
After a few days, I’d had no response, so I emailed ‘Henry’ and ‘John’ again:
Hi Henry and John,
Any progress on this?!
The next day I got this reply from John – and I can now see his family/surname is supposedly ‘Smith’ – original that, especially for someone with an Indian phone number! (Like Henry’s name, I’m 100% sure this is a fake name, so I’m happy to put it in the post.)
Your site has been lagging when it comes to being listed in search engines’ search results. In spite of your website being good, you must not be getting that much of visitors which you should see, and make sure the improvement in the site ranking, We can definitely drive more prospective visitors to your website after a proper SEO is completed.
Do let us know what you feel like?
Lagging – what the heck is that?! I’ve been in the web business over 20 years and I’ve NEVER heard of ‘lagging’! So I asked:
Please can you explain what you mean by ‘lagging’? What’s wrong with the site that’s making it do this?!
A couple of days later I got this reply:
With Lagging, I mean to say that your website is not at the top of search results when it comes to ranking, and ultimately that results in loosing of prospective visitors to your website.
What we suggest is you opt for SEO to make sure the google ranking is improved and you will be getting more and more potential visitors to your website.
Hmmm, OK. So ‘lagging’ means ‘not ranking well’. So why didn’t he say ‘not ranking well’ like any other person who’s ever done SEO would do?
But he still hadn’t told my what’s wrong with my site – so I asked again…
OK, Thanks for that. But can you tell me what’s wrong with the site now?
Nearly a week later I’d not had an answer to that, so I nudged…
Any update on this?
Later that day I got a reply!
There’s nothing wrong with the UI or the functionalities of the website. What really concerns me is the ranking of the website and we would be very much interested in assisting you in fixing that.
So he is concerned about the ranking (so why did he call it lagging then?!) – but still hasn’t told me WHY or WHAT about anything on my site…
I thought it was time to ask John some more ‘searching’ questions (see what I did there?!).
Hmmm, so when Henry said in his email that “Because there are lots of aspects in the website. Which are not optimized well and not working properly.” and I “Need to optimize the entire website” he didn’t actually mean that?
But of course that was just an email template that he sends out to hundreds of emails isn’t it?!
I’ve been creating websites for over 20 years. My site is not ‘lagging’. It ranks VERY highly and gets well over 20 million page loads every year.
I reply to people who make claims about SEO to see what they say to try and get clients.
Can you tell me why you sent out emails from random Gmail accounts to get business?
Can you tell me why you make the types of claims on your emails which Google say not to trust?
Can you tell me why you send out emails which break multiple privacy and anti-spam laws from around the world?
I’ve also been looking at your site. You might find this link helpful:
Because, erm, this isn’t good: https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aatnosoft.com
I know one site which needs some help – and it isn’t mine…
I hope the hack fixing goes well!
It’s been well over a week now I’ve not heard back after that one…
I’ll post an update if I ever do get a reply.
Their Report & Recommendations
Well, I never did find out what was wrong with my site (apart from it supposedly ‘lagging’). So there’s nothing to really put in here.
But my site is VERY highly ranked and it’s not ‘lagging’!
But let’s look at their site and see what it looks like…! (tl;dr – it ain’t good.)
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://atnosoft.com/
John used the domain atnosofttechnologies.com for his email account. It’s always a bit iffy when there’s a different email and web domain. You wonder why (because they’re spamming)?! Both domains where registered in mid 2018.
For HTML Validation, my Christmas site has no errors. Their site has 13 errors and 4 warnings. That’s not too bad for an SEO spammer.
Using the ‘WAVE’ Accessibility Testing Tool, their site has 29 errors and 4 contrast errors. My Christmas site has no errors of either kind!
Using the Google Lighthouse speed test tool their site gets:
Best Practices: 75
My site gets:
Best Practices: 100
So my site is better across the board, and especially in ‘Performance’.
The Atnosoft Technologies site appears to be ‘static’ (i.e. there’s no database involved), so that’s really impressively slow performance score, as static site tend to load faster. It’s mainly down to having their portfolio images as huge PNG files. They should be much smaller JPG files. That’s not encouraging.
There are two meta descriptions on the site (you should only have one) – and are different. Having only one description tag is very basic SEO. Oops.
They also have exactly the same text as in one of the ‘description’ tags as in the meta ‘keywords’ tag. That’s not how the keywords tag works – and it’s also not used by search engines these days!
There are two heading 1s on the home page “Let’s get your project started” and “Hi there”. Neither of those are really any use SEO wise. And you should only have one heading 1 tag – another SEO basic they’ve got wrong.
There’s no alt tag on their logo – another basic SEO (and accessibility) fail.
There are two email addresses in the footer – but neither are linked as such, making them kind of useless.
There are three addresses in the footer. Two in the USA and one in Noida, India (it’s part of the out regions of Delhi and is the home of many an SEO spammer). Their contact page only lists the Indian address. This is in a business district. Interestingly, it appears to be right next door to ‘Netking Web Services’, another SEO spammer we’ve had dealings with!
The first address in the USA is in California. But this is in a suburban apartment block.
The second address is in the center of New York – but this time it’s the New York City Campus of the New York Institute of Technology!
Shall we say that I’m rather skeptical that either of the addresses in the USA are used by Atnosoft…
There are two phone numbers on the site, one USA one and an Indian one. The USA area code is for New Jersey. It’s also an area code that is very popular for ‘burner’ numbers…
Their site is full of marketing speak that doesn’t actually tell you anything. The opening line on their ‘services’ page is “Our deep portfolio of business solutions has helped businesses achieve operational excellences though automated processes” – I’m sorry – what now?!
I put that line into Google and it also appears on a couple of other iffy looking SEO sites – for ‘Webintimate Technology’ (webintimate.com) and ‘Zeltis Infotech Pvt. Ltd.’ (zeltisinfotech.com). And guess what, both of those companies have EXACTLY the same address in Noida on their sites!
On the Zeltis site it says that have ‘about 6+ years of experience’ – that’s not grammatically correct and also seems unlikely. Their domain was registered in January 2018 – so just over four years ago. Indian company business records show that the company was also created in January 2018 (about 10 days before the domain was registered). So the whole ‘6+ years’ seems rather iffy then.
But on the home page, it says 4+ years – which seems more likely. It also shows that Zeltis don’t even know how long they’ve been in business!
The Zeltis contact page also lists an address in Dubai – but guess what, you can get virtual offices at its location… Oh and their domain was registered in Noida.
But back to the Atnosoft site – as there’s something REALLY STRANGE and REALLY BAD on it!!!
The pages on the site use the .html file endings. This is pretty normal. If you go to the home page (https://www.atnosoft.com/) you get their normal home page. So you’d expect to also get it at https://www.atnosoft.com/index.html as index.html is a very common ‘root’ level page file name.
BUT YOU DON’T! If you go to https://www.atnosoft.com/index.html you get a page IN JAPANESE. But that’s just the start… (Some geeks reading this and having seen my email to John might know where this is going!)
So I wondered where the actually home page is. I thought it might be at index.php – another common root page. But no. That’s ANOTHER DIFFERENT PAGE IN JAPANESE!!!
The actual home page is at index.htm – not uncommon, but it’s now probably the least common of index.php, index.html and index.htm. (And if all the other pages on your site use .html, it’s rather odd to have the main/home/root page use .htm.)
But what’s on those pages in Japanese I hear you asking…
The index.html file has information about kimono accessories at the top. However, most of the page seems to come from the site of the Japanese Nuclear Regulator – REALLY!!!
The index.php file has information about a ‘house hold tips’ type book at the top and bottom. But mostly, in the middle of the page, is information about staffing in Japanese Schools.
Very worryingly, this has all the hallmarks of the site being a victim of the ‘Japanese keyword hack’ where content is added on random pages using dodgy links to sell fake items. [https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/security/hacked/fixing_the_japanese_keyword_hack]
This hack/malware has been around for a few years. It normally affects sites using a CMS (content management system) but I’m pretty sure that Atnosoft aren’t using one. So it could down to either that their hosting really isn’t the best, that they’ve got some weak security on their hosting account, and/or that their Google Search Console account has been stolen/hacked.
Looking at the ‘robots.txt’ file on the site, I see that their site is VERY VERY ‘hacked’ at the moment with hundreds (possibly thousands) of spammy pages in place. (The robots.txt is a file which tells search engines where they can/can’t index and also where files like sitemaps live. With the Japanese keyword hack loads of extra sitemap files are added so that the bad html files/pages will hopefully be linked by search engines. Sure enough, there’s a load of odd sitemaps in their robots.txt file…)
And doing a Google search for: site:atnosoft.com shows that there are lots and lots of bad pages on the site.
That is really not good.
What’s also not good is a something that ‘Henry’ had in his initial spam, where it said “We can place your website on Google’s 1st page Yahoo, etc!”
Google says you shouldn’t claim to be able to do that – and not to trust companies which make such claims:
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?”
Oh, and one other thing. John uses Comic Sans in his email signature (shudders…)!
Atnosoft Technologies / Zeltis Infotech are SEO spammers.
They send out spam, making claims Google says not to trust, from behind random Gmail accounts.
They don’t seem to like answering the most basic of questions about why you actually need their help.
More worryingly, their own site is VERY HACKED. It’s been over a week since I told them that their site is hacked. It’s still hacked. That is not good.
So if Henry, John (or anyone else at Atnosoft Technologies) says your site needs their help, I think I’d give it a miss.
But, as ever, the choice is yours…