Few things get under my skin, and even fewer things get under my skin so much that I have to write about them. But guys who use spam to acquire leads… grrr….
From time to time our clients forward me what appear to be very real emails that they received, in the which claim to “guarantee” rankings in the search engines. Let me just give you a sample from the email:
Hello, my name is _____ and I found your site online. I noticed that you are not ranking well in Google for some of the top keywords in your city. These keywords get searched over 9,000 times per month and if you had the top spots it would give you a huge boost in leads, phone calls and new business. I am so good at optimization & Google places that I can make a guarantee. If you are interested in getting more business and phone calls from the Internet then give me a call or email. There is no sales pressure and I can explain exactly how everything works in a few minutes.
This, ladies and gentleman, is called spam. In a very illegitimate way, Mr. _____ _____ (that’s his full name, it’s on every single email that has been forwarded to me) obtains the email addresses of website owners and then sends out these automated emails to thousands of recipients. To the average business owner the email instills general concern for the well-being of their website and why wouldn’t it? The guy makes some outstanding claims! Let’s just review a couple of them (I’ll italicize some of the words I find most interesting):
- I noticed that you are not ranking well in Google for some of the top keywords in your city.
- These keywords get searched over 9,000 times per month
- (This one is my favorite) I am so good at optimization & Google places that I can make a guarantee.
Now here’s the issue I have with this whole thing, and this has nothing to do with whether or not the guy can actually do Search Engine Optimization. He may be awesome at it and by all means, I hope he is! But the most frustrating thing is that he is using the lowest form of gathering leads for his business, SPAM! No one likes spam. Unfortunately for all of us, Mr. _______ has figured out a way to mask his spam so that the typical reader (and even Google’s spam catchers) can’t even tell they’re being spammed, dang guy. And why does he keep using this approach? I mean, I literally have several emails that have been forwarded to me dating back from even a couple years ago. The reason he keeps using the approach is because, unfortunately, it keeps working. The unsuspecting recipient with valid concern for the well-being of their website is enticed by his offer and picks up the phone and calls him. Done deal. Sunuva gun.
So why would I take the time out of my already busy schedule to write a blog post about SEO Spammers and Mr. ________ specifically? Because I hope you too don’t fall prey to this tactic that he is using. These sorts of emails should go directly into the spam can in your email inbox. Don’t even give them a second look. My favorite part about all of this is that Google has addressed these emails specifically! Check out this link, about half way down the page. It’s the first bullet point after they talk about the Federal Trade Commission. Here’s a screenshot in case you just don’t feel like clicking over there:
Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue. Couldn’t have said it better myself, thanks Google.
Have you ever received an email like the ones from Mr. ______? Or maybe even received an email from Mr. ________ himself??
MARCH 20, 2015 UPDATE:
The person I originally wrote this article about has contacted me and requested that I remove his name as it is tarnishing his reputation. At first I was hesitant to comply, but as we discussed it further he made claims that the company he worked for, eBusinessFirm was using his name without his permission (which I’m still not sure is the case). This person now supposedly no longer works there and is trying to get new employment. I really hesitated on complying with his request, but did so with the understanding that I would never receive an email with his name on it ever again, and if I do, things will go nuclear. I ended up calling eBusinessFirm to see if he actually was no longer employed with the company, and instead of hearing a voicemail for eBusinessFirm, I was greeted by a voicemail to a name that sounded awfully similar to the original name I was asked to remove. I called him back and he swore that it wasn’t the case. The whole thing drives me nuts, and if I ever receive another email he’ll have to legally get a name change to avoid the public shaming that will happen. Here’s to receiving another email! 😉