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 ‘Steve’ who was using an @organicwebsolution.com email address (which is not their main site, more that later). The email came into my business account but it was for my big Christmas site.
The subject of the spam was “Report For whychristmas.com” and went:
I am a Digital Marketing Consultant and while working on an online project I came across your website whychristmas.com first of all congrats for having such a beautiful layout of your website but while analyzing it a bit I found certain errors in it. They are the following mentioned below:
Facebook Page Promotion
Re-design/ Refresh the website
Google Top Ranking
Set Up Google search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools
Improve Your Site speed
Improve Title Tags, Meta tags, and Page Content
Set Up and Optimize Google My Business
Find and Fix Keywords
Check For Duplicate Versions of Your site In Google’s Index
Use an SEO-Friendly URL Structure
5 Star Reviews – for you
Find and Fix Crawl Errors
Fix Broken Internal and Outbound Links
Crete a Robots.txt File
Find and Fix Duplicate and Missing Mete Descriptions
My team can fix all those issues, make your website ()mobile optimized and bring it to the TOP PAGE of Google so that you will get enough traffic to your website and in return your quantity of new sales or new business rate will increase.
If you are interested I can show you the report & I’d be happy to send you our package price and past work details.
Steve [name removed for privacy although I’m sure it’s completely fake] (Internet Marketing Consultant)
I like to call this the ‘classic’ style of SEO spam. i.e. “your site has issues, only we can solve them!”. It’s also total rubbish as basically all the ‘errors’ don’t exist! Anyway, I replied the next day.
That’s interesting. Can you tell me more the errors on my site?
Within a few hours, I got a reply from ‘Steve’ but this time he was using a Gmail account with his name and ‘digimw’ in it.
SEO spammers normally use Gmail accounts for sending out the spam and then follow up with a domain based email address, not the other way around!
Anyway, the reply went like this (although he’d put it all in a quote, so it was hard to initially see the text…):
Thank you for showing your interest in our services. It was a pleasure hearing you back.
We are Digimws, a leading digital marketing agency with over 10 years of experience. Our headquarters are in Miami, Florida however; our delivery center is in South-East Asia. We expertise in digital marketing, content marketing, online reputation management, pay per click, web design, development, branding, social media promotion among other services. We can help you in getting better online exposure online and more targeted traffic. Our marketing services are 100% result-oriented and you can see the benefit from the very first month. We provide guaranteed digital marketing solutions at the cheapest rates. For more details about our services please visit our website: www.digimws.com.
As discussed I have attached the Complete Audit Report of your website along with the best SEO Proposal for your website online promotions. Kindly go through the below attached files and let me know if you find any difficulties, I would be happy to assist you.
Below is the step by step process that we will implement on your website if you decide to sign up with us:
Complete Analysis of the website with recommendation from our technical team
On-site recommendation that we need to fix to make the website more search engine friendly
Keyword Analysis on your website along with the recommendation (number of keywords depend upon the budget)
On-page recommendations depending upon the keywords approved from your end
Link Building Descriptions (LBD) recommendation with focus keywords
Backlink creation with LBD for your website
Off-Page Content Creation like blog, article, pdf, ppt etc. (number depends on the budget)
Off-Page content posting on relevant websites for visitor improvement
Google Analytics & Webmaster Integration and monitoring
Media Pages Setup (One-time activity, if already not created)
Create Shareable Content
Social Media update
As far as the pricing is concerned, it will be difficult for me to give you an exact cost for the marketing of your website without knowing your exact requirements like the number of pages and features that you want to add on your website etc. Our services are as tensile as your online marketing requirements and our pricing as flexible as your budget. Not only that, all our packages are on a month to month basis and we don’t even bind our clients in some sort of contracts which gives them the freedom to evaluate the progress made in the previous month and to continue with us. However, you can visit our website to see the pricing: https://digimws.com/price/
It would be great if we can discuss this over a phone call or Google Meet so that I can understand your business requirements and give you a best-suited plan according to your requirements. Please help me with a callback time, so that we can connect or you can call me or text me on my direct line (651) 529-9905.
Kindly let me know if you have something else for me, I will be glad to provide you with all the information you need.
Eagerly waiting for your response.
Thanks & Regards,
Steve [name removed for privacy although it’s fake…] | Sr. Sales Advisor
[contacts removed for privacy]
Digital Marketing Wagon
Your Vision Our Mission
So Steve’s a ‘Sr. Sales Advisor’ as well as an ‘Internet Marketing Consultant’. Quite a busy chap then! There were two attachments on the email. A PDF ‘audit report’ and an ‘SEO Proposal’ in .docx format.
I’d already had a quick look at their sites at this point, and one of them said they were in Miami. Well, they’d spammed me right when Hurricane Ian was passing over Florida and the Miami area. So I initially asked how Steve was… Oh then I called him out and showed his report wasn’t worth the PDF it was sent on…
First off. I hope you’re ok and safe in Miami…
I’ve been a web designer and developer for 20 over years. I like to reply to SEO spammers to see what ‘services’ they offer and the things they say and use to get clients.
I have some questions.
Please can you tell me why your company thinks it’s ok to spam people, from random email accounts, to get business?
is your company happy breaching multiple international laws?
Your initial email was IN BREACH OF ALL the pieces of anti-spam legislation listed below (and many others from around the world).
For the UK (where I live) you are not allowed to sent marketing emails to an individual without their permission – you did this: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-pecr/electronic-and-telephone-marketing/electronic-mail-marketing/ (Under UK law, I am an ‘individual’ as I’m a Sole Trader, not a Ltd Company.)
For the USA (where you say you’re based), you are breaking several aspects of CAN-SPAM compliance: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business
For CASL in Canada, you need consent to send electronic marketing – which you did not have: https://fightspam-combattrelepourriel.ised-isde.canada.ca/site/canada-anti-spam-legislation/en/getting-consent-send-email (You also need other business identifiers in the emails, which your emails do not have.)
The Anti Spam Act in Australia has similar conditions for consent and identity, which your emails also do not meet: https://www.acma.gov.au/avoid-sending-spam
In South Africa there is the Protection of Personal Information Act, which says you have to have consent to send people marketing emails, which you did not have: https://ispa.org.za/spam/
In France the Trust in the Digital Economy Act says that you have to have consent to send marketing emails, which you did not have: https://www.culture.gouv.fr/en/Thematiques/Industries-culturelles-et-creatives/Dossiers-thematiques/Le-spam/Le-cadre-juridique-La-legislation-francaise-en-matiere-de-spam
For The Netherlands, the Dutch Telecommunications Act says that you need consent to send people marketing emails, which you did not have. It also says that the true identity of the party should be disclosed up front, which you did not do. https://sherloc.unodc.org/cld/document/nld/1988/telecommunications_act_of_the_netherlands.html?
I’ve also had a look at the Audit Report.
It says my site Failed CSS validation. But it doesn’t! There are 30 (not 31) ‘warnings’ not errors – big difference! You site has 99 ERRORS (and 3533 warnings) – you might want to sort those out!
It say my site has an IP Canonicalization Error. Ah, that old myth. Your site has that too – oops!
It says ‘Keywords Meta tag not found’. That’s just WRONG.
The Text to HTML ratio is 14.49%. Yep, true. I’m happy with that. My home page is basically landing page. It ranks just fine.
Web Analytics Tools not Found – WRONG. You didn’t look very hard at the code did you?
Mobile Optimization and Rendering not found – WRONG. My site is VERY mobile friendly.
I’ll leave it there. Let’s just say I’m not exactly impressed.
In the SEO Proposal, you say you’ll do things like HTML validation and fixing errors. May I ask why you haven’t done that on your own site!?
I look forward to getting your answers to my questions.
Thanks and best wishes.
It’s been well over a fortnight an I’ve heard nothing back… I hope ‘Steve’ is ok (but he probably is as they’re not really in Miami – see below!) I’ll post an update if I ever do get a reply (I doubt one will ever arrive).
Their Report & Recommendations
I explained some of the ‘errors’ in my reply to ‘Steve’ but I’ll cover them in a bit more detail here:
The Audit report was a five page PDF (including a cover page). It didn’t exactly get off to a good start by having the wrong date on the cover – it was out by a month. Oops. (Or perhaps they can see into the future!)
On the next four pages there were lists of items under different headings. The ‘errors’ were in red. Let’s look at those ‘errors’…
Status: Failed [031 warnings] (W3C CSS Validation) – It is recommended to use valid CSS to ensure that the website displays correctly.
That’s basically WRONG but sort of right! If you run my site through the CSS validator it says “Congratulations! No Error Found.” BUT there are 30 ‘Warnings’ (not 31).
This is because I’m using ‘vendor prefixes’ to help out old versions of browsers. These are perfectly fine to use – hence they’re given as ‘warnings’ and not ‘errors’.
So saying it’s ‘Failed’ is WRONG. Those 30 warnings are all fine and really no issue. (If we run their site through the same tool, it has 99 ERRORS – and 3533 warnings – oops.)
IP Canonicalization Error: No, your site’s IP 220.127.116.11 does not redirect to whychristmas.com.
This is true. It’s also NOT AN ISSUE.
There’s an old SEO myth that each site ‘needs’ it’s own IP to help SEO. Google’s said that’s rubbish for many years, yet SEO spammers keep on trotting it out…
Oh and their IP doesn’t redirect to their site either…
Keywords Meta tag not found –The keywords attribute was utilized by search engines to provide more accurate search results.
This is flat out WRONG. It’s there for historical reasons. Basically no search engines use this tag anyway these days, so even if the ‘error’ was true, it wouldn’t actually matter.
Oh and they don’t have a Keywords Meta tag on their site either…
The Text to HTML ratio is 14.49%
Yes, that’s true. It also doesn’t matter in my case. My home page is glorified landing page – it’s fine.
Web Analytics Tools not Found-
WRONG. I guess they didn’t look very hard or they used an auto tool that only scan for Google Analytics. I use a different (privacy friendly) analytics tool. Oops.
Mobile Optimization and Rendering not found
THIS IS TOTAL AND UTTER RUBBISH. My site is VERY mobile friendly. It gets 94/100 on Google mobile speed score.
Their site gets 47/100 – need I say more?!
Accessibility Check: FAILED
Hmmmmm. My site gets a clean bill of health on the ‘WAVE’ accessibility tool (their site has 9 errors and 40 contrast errors). If you use the ‘Accessibility Insights’ tool, there is an error. It’s a minor technical one to do with the mobile menu I use on my site. Although this automated tool throws an error – it’s actually fine for ‘real’ people as it’s ‘fixed’ if you view the site on a phone!
The Accessibility Insights give their site 22 big errors and 19 contrast errors. They’re also using iframe which bring in even more potential issues. Can you detect a pattern here!?
Indexed pages by Google: Only 282 are bad. Need much more improvements.
Erm, what’s wrong with that. There are about 280 pages on my site!
It’s another SEO myth that more = better. IT CAN BE THE CASE but it’s not ‘the SEO law’! (I’ve got one page sites for me and clients that rank #1 on Google for their relevant search term…)
Their site has 30 Google results. By their logic, my site is 9.4 better than their one!
Your Social media presence is very low!
My site is about Christmas, they spammed me in September, what do you expect?! Seriously, I’m only active on social media for my site during late November and December…
Facebook Business Page is available. Need much more improvements.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?! I’ve got a Facebook Page. It’s linked to on EVERY PAGE ON THE SITE.
Instagram: NA Pinterest: NA
True. I don’t want profiles on those platforms. There’s no SEO law saying you need to have an Instagram account!
So, just like those ‘errors’ from ‘Steve’s’ original spam – they’re all wrong!
The SEO Proposal was mostly marketing waffle with some prices. They say that they’ll do things like HTML validation and fixing errors. Then why haven’t they done that on their own site!? (See below!)
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…
These spammers have two sites (well really one and a half…)
Steve first spammed me with an @organicwebsolution.com email. That domain was registered in February 2021. I suspect pruple for the purpose of sending out spam from. There is a site on it, but it’s basically rubbish.
There’s no SSL/HTTPS/Padlock on the site. Not good these days and a sign it was slapped together.
There are no working links on the home page – so you can’t get anywhere.
There’s an address in California on the site. Only it doesn’t exist. It’s formatted in a very odd way, with an Appt number AFTER the road name. There’s also no Zip code and no road of the name they state in that state!
There’s a phone number – that’s in the state of Georgia!
A google of the domain shows up some ‘dummy’ pages and the only other entries for that domain are ones saying when the domain was registered and that it’s used by SEO spammers!
Their main domain is https://digimws.com/ which was registered in June 2021.
For HTML Validation, my site has no errors. Their site has 11 errors. That’s pretty good, for SEO spammers, but mainly down to the fact they’re using a good off the shelf theme.
Using the ‘WAVE’ Accessibility Testing Tool, their site has 9 errors and 24 contrast errors – again not bad for an SEO spammer, but also again, that’s down to the theme!
Using the Google Lighthouse speed test tool their site gets:
Best Practices: 83
My site gets:
Best Practices: 100
So my site is better (well perfect) across the board, and especially in ‘Performance’. And also the theme is really controlling the last three items – the only one they really ‘responsible’ for is ‘Performance’!
There is a Privacy page on this site. BUT it’s all in dummy latin (as is the Terms & Conditions page). So that’s unless then…
On the home page it says “DigiMW has created a reputation in the digital marketing world with more than 8 years of website designing experience…” But their domain was registered in June 2021 – so about 15 months – that’s less than 8 years in my book. (I also wonder what kind of reputation they have – they don’t say it’s a good one!) The blurb on the SEO Proposal says they’ve been in business since 2012… (perhaps they got the 1 and 2 the other way round!)
Also on the home page there’s a ‘numbers panel’. It’s, erm, interesting. The number given are: “450+ High Quality, Custom Campaigns”. OK. Impressive for being in business just over a year… But then there’s “2500+ Transparent Pricing & Reporting” and “4510+ All Through Our In House Team” – WHAT DO THOSE EVEN MEAN?!
On their about page it says “We Believe In Transparency” – what like sending unsolicited emails from fake domains – that seems very transparent to me…
There’s a blog on the site. It’s got three posts. All posted by ‘Steve’ on the 21st March 2022.
There are social media links in the site’s footer. Only one of them works/goes to anything. It’s to a Facebook page, which was created in April 2020 (so also nowhere near the 8 years they claim).
On the contact page, there are the two email addresses for Steve which where in his email footer (they both start with ‘steve’, there’s no generic/business type one like info@…) – he really must be a busy boy! One of the emails is formatted incorrectly, it’s missing an @ symbol (so that won’t work then).
It says they work in several places – but there are no addresses, only place names: Bhubaneswar (I believe this one), South Beach Miami (not sure about that one!) and Downtown, DXB (DXB is the code for one of Dubai’s airports – not sure about that one either!)
There’s a US phone number. If they were in Miami (as Steve’s email and the site says) you’d expect it to be a Miami one. It’s not. The area code is for Saint Paul, Minnesota! The carrier that owns it offer number porting (forwarding)…
So shall we say that I’m less than convinced that Digital Marketing Wagon / DigiMW / Organic Web Solution have any connection to Miami, California, Georgia, Minnesota or Dubai!
And if they are actually based in Miami, well they’re also very in breach of the USA’s CAN-SPAM act on multiple points!
Just to add extra confusion, there’s a company at digimw.com (so without an s at the end) which is an SEO company in Delhi. The digimw.com site also says they’ve been around for 8 years, but their domain was registered in March 2020… (I have no idea if digimw.com and digimws.com are connected or just have very similar domains.)
I’ve also found a LinkedIn profile for ‘Steve’, where he claims to be in Miami. Interesting he uses the digimw.com url in his blurb, but the digimws.com in the website bit – so this could just be a typo. It also says he’s worked at DigiMW for over 10 years. Hmmmm.
In Steve’s photo on LinkedIn, he’s taking a selfie, wearing sunglasses and a face-covering. So it’s actually very difficult to see what he person in the photo actually looks like.
A google of “digimws.com” turns up the pages from their site and a few others. Most interestingly it’s in the link bit of a Twitter and Instagram profile. But not profiles for the company and not for someone called Steve. But for an ‘Entrepreneur’ from Bhubaneshwar!
The person in photos on these profiles is often wearing sunglasses (one pair being VERY similar to the LinkedIn ones) and I can imagine that with also a face-covering, this person would look VERY similar to the photo of ‘Steve’ on LinkedIn! The person in the selfie also has a small tattoo on his ‘left’ (looking in a mirror) forearm – so really his right arm. Now the person on the Twitter/Instagram profiles, also has a very similar looking tattoo on his right forearm!
Now, I have no ‘real’ evidence that ‘Steve’ and this other ‘Entrepreneur’ are the same person. But I find it somewhat ‘interesting’ that the the only ‘personal’ social media accounts which their domain appears on is for this other person… and that they appear to have very similar looking tattoos in very similar places!
If they are the same the same person, there’s a fake name being used and it also looks like a fact location. But I thought Digital Marketing Wagon / DigiMW / Organic Web Solution were meant to be ‘transparent’… Hmmmmm.
Digital Marketing Wagon / DigiMW / Organic Web Solution (whatever they’re calling themselves) are SEO spammers.
They send out spam from a different domain – which is dodgy in itself.
The claims on their spam and SEO Audit report were all wrong.
They didn’t bother to reply to my emails asking the most basic of questions.
If Digital Marketing Wagon / DigiMW / Organic Web Solution spam you, or you get an email from an @organicwebsolution.com address, the delete button might be a good idea.
But, as ever, the choice is yours…