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 ‘Caroline’ who was using an @gmail.com email address with her name and a bunch of numbers in it (always a good sign…).
The subject was ‘New Website Design’ and it went:
I wanted to let you know that we have recently redesigned our website. Our new design features a modern look and feel, with improved navigation and faster loading times. We hope you find the new website easy to use and visually appealing.
Please let us know if you have any feedback or encounter any issues while using the new site. We’re always looking for ways to improve the user experience.
Thank you for your support!
Caroline [name removed for privacy although I’m sue it’s fake]
Hmmm, so spam that seems to come from someone you know saying they’ve got a new site. Only it’s a big old lie. It’s just another take on SEO spam.
I guessed this so played along…
I think might have the wrong email. What site do you mean?
The next day I got a reply…
I wanted to follow up on your recent inquiry about website design services. We appreciate your interest and would be happy to assist you with your project.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your project further, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help and would love to hear more about your goals for your website.
Thank you for considering our services. We look forward to the opportunity to work with you.
Ahhh, this is more like it. Getting into normal SEO spam territory.
But they’d not answered my question, so I asked again
OK but I ask again, what company are you? What’s your website?
I got this reply in return:
I’m here representing NetWeb TECHNOLOGIES, which provides web and IT Solutions and has been helping companies with remote and on-site data solutions for over 9 years, Headquartered in India and global presence in USA, AUS, Canada.
Here is my website: https://netwebtechnologies.com/
We have delivered for more than 200+ clients till now all over globally and below are a few of the examples including being part of it.
Let’s schedule a meeting to discuss in detail. Kindly hit a timeslot as per your convenience. [link to a calendar removed for privacy]
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Tada – they’re SEO spammers! Time to ask Caroline some more questions, starting with a rather shocking one…
First off, are you aware that the NetWeb Tech site has been hacked? You might want to check that out! I hope you can get it fixed.
Now to some other things… I’ve been in the web business for over 20 years and I have some questions.
Please can you tell me why your company thinks it’s ok to spam people, with misleading information, 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 got an office), 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 look forward to getting your answers to my questions.
It’s been well over three weeks and I’ve not heard back from Caroline Not even a thank you for letting them know their site was hacked. Ho hum. But If I do get a reply, I’ll post an update on here!
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 at netwebtechnologies.com which was registered in July 2012.
This site has 43 HTML errors. Not a good start.
Using the WAVE Accessibility checking tool, this site has 34 errors and 34 contrast errors. Again, not good.
Using the Google Lighthouse speed test tool the site gets:
Best Practices: 83
Again, not exactly brilliant – especially in Performance.
Looking more in depth at their site, let’s cover the first big red flag – Yes, THEIR SITE WAS HACKED!
At the top of the home page were links to dating apps – in German!
I know I call out SEO spammers on this site, but being hacked is no fun for anyone (I’ve had to sort out hacks for people…).
From looking at their code, I think they got hacked through a vulnerability in one of the plugins they’re using. This has has been around for about a month – but has been patched with an update by the time they spammed me. You need to keep your plugins up to date!
I re-checked their site a week later and it looked like they ‘sort of’ fixed the hack. The German dating apps links are no longer there, but there’s still code in the site which open nasty ‘pop under’ ads (normally taking you to fake ‘Amazon Survey’ scam pages) – which is still not very good. Checking it again now about 10 days later, it all seems clean. Good.
Anyway on to the other issues on their site…
There’s no Heading 1 on their home page – this is pretty important for SEO. Oops.
There’s no alt text on their logo. That is not good for SEO, accessibility or usability.
There’s a heading on the home page ‘Trusted by the world’s leading companies and startups.’ with a bunch of company logos beneath it. I’m pretty up in the web and startup world and I’ve never heard of ANY of these companies. Hmmm – so not that ‘world leading’ then!
In the site’s footer, and on the contact page, they list three addresses. Two in the Punjab, India and one in Australia; but none in the USA or Canada, although Caroline inferred that they did, hmmmm. (On the contact page, the addresses also have the same email under all of them, only it’s not linked properly, oops.)
Looking at the addresses, the address in Amritsar, Punjab is an office block, as does the address in Mohali. They’re about 240km apart. India is BIG!!!
However, the address in Australia is a normal house in a very suburban area on the outskirts of Perth. In the footer, it gives the person’s name as a ‘Sales Person’. So they might have some connection to someone there, but I don’t think any work on sites is being done in Australia…
There’s a blog on the site which is, erm, ‘interesting’. It has seven posts. Three of these are full of dummy latin text and have the same title about the cost of website with the year changed.
The other four appear to be spam for Casinos in Canada with dubious YouTube videos in them. I get spammy ‘guest post’ emails asking for links and things to casinos. It would seem that NetWeb Tech are either happy having this content on their SEO site (WHY?!) and/or they’d probably also be the ones asking for spammy guest posts with dodgy casino links!
NetWeb Tech have some, seemingly genuine, good reviews on their site and there’s also some nice reviews on Google. So they might be able to do good work.
However, they’re still SEO spammers with a hacked site and some very ‘interesting’ blog entries!
Oh and you remember when ‘Caroline’, in her first spam, said “I wanted to let you know that we have recently redesigned our website”, well…
Using the WayBack Machine web archive, we can see that the site’s had the same design since at least April 2022.
I do not call OVER A YEAR ‘recently’! So, erm, yeah.
NetWeb Tech are SEO spammers.
They send out spam from random Gmail accounts.
Their spam said their site had recently had a redesign. It hadn’t. They lied.
Their own site was also HACKED – although thankfully it seems fixed now.
They seem happy to have blog posts about casinos on their SEO blog – again – WHY?!
So if NetWeb Tech tell you they’ve got a new site and can help yours, the delete button might be a better option.
But, as ever, the choice is yours…