Bloggers Beware of Advertising Scams!!
I want to take the time to share an experience of mine to help and warn other bloggers and website owners. There are a lot of different reasons that one would start a blog or website, whether it’s for financial or personal motives. Once you start developing a decent amount of traffic you are bound to be contacted about advertising at some point in time. While usually this a good thing, there ARE people and scams out there that you need to be aware of. I know that when that first contact is made, it’s pretty exciting. It can mean that people see your site as a valuable place to advertise, your site is out there on the vast Internet and people are finding it, etc. It can especially be exciting if you are trying to monetize your site to begin with, but tread carefully.
There are scams out there, and today I’m going to share one with you that seems to be making its way around in different guises. I was actually contacted by this company through the Contact Page of this site. The first email sounded innocent enough, although at first glance it was obvious that English was not the company’s first language. Not that this is red flag, but it definitely stood out. This is what the first email looked like.
We are looking for new advertisement platforms and we are interested in your site www.easypctutorials.com.
Is it possible to place banner on your site on a fee basis?
I responded to the email and told them I would need more information. I asked what company they represented, what type of advertising they wished to place, etc. They responded fairly quickly, and this is what the second email looked like.
phone: + (0)9 78 62 95 19
This looked pretty normal so far. Lacoste is a real company that does indeed sell clothing, footwear, etc. Visiting their site displayed a very professional website that obviously had a lot of time spent on the development. I was a little confused because French clothing has absolutely nothing to do with this sites’ content. Also, they did not ask anything about my site traffic or visitor demographics. What, they were just going to blindly run advertising on a random site? Color me more confused. My gut was telling me something wasn’t quite right about this.
More curious than anything I decided to send a reply and provided a quote and terms for a banner ad. This is the reply that I received.
Thanks for reply to our proposal! We like your price. To pass to the banner control system follow the link http://webmaster.melnel.com. To enter use the following data:
You should install and activate the plugin in order to display advertisement. Before making payment, advertiser must approve location of the banner. The banner will be shown on your site when you add special code to your web- address (for example: http://www.easypctutorials.com//?adv_test=1). It means, that visitors will see the banner only if it is approved and payment made.
To get installation instruction for your site type pass to: http://docs.melnel.com/wp_install
To activate your site you have to enter the code: xxx-xxx-xxx
What way of payment is suitable for you?
phone: + (0)9 78 62 95 19
Whoa!!!! All kinds of alarms are going off now! Install a third party plugin from an unknown publisher?!?! I think not.
You should always be very cautious about installing ANY third party plugin that does not come from the WordPress repository. There is no telling what that plugin will actually do and if it’s malicious it can take over your entire website. Now at this point I decided it was time to delete all correspondence and chalk this up as a scam that I was able to steer clear of. But then I decided to see if anyone else had experienced this as well. Surely I couldn’t be the only one they targeted, right? Well, after doing a simple Google search on “lacoste advertising scam” I found that there are A LOT of people that have run into this very same scam. This is what I learned.
- Everyone that has been contacted receives the exact same email(s), the only difference is the agency name.
- The agency accepts ANY price that is quoted. Some individuals have even sent quotes of ridiculous amounts just to see what kind of response they get.
- Some people have actually downloaded the plugin and went through the code to see what it actually does. While some coders have said that the actual code isn’t harmful, malicious code could be introduced at a later time through an update. Many people perform updates automatically and hardly ever look through the new code that will be introduced.
- It could be used for bot nets, phishing your PayPal account, etc. Either way, it’s all bad.
- There are statements by some bloggers who say they have contacted Lacoste and Lacoste has confirmed that none of these companies represent them.
If you have been contacted with similar emails and have installed their plugin. I would recommend that you delete it immediately!!!!
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