Blog Scams: Blog Scams Are a Growing Business

While I can excuse those who overhype their Plugins, Themes, and contests on their blog, I have a hard time forgiving those who use their blogs as scams. As the blog platform becomes more ubiquitous and easier to use with a lot of automatic content generating tools and comment and trackback spam tools, blogs are being used more and more for the dark side of blogging.

In The Thin Line Between Legitimate Blog Models and Scams, Weblog Scout writes that there is a think line between a scan and legitimate blog model as scammers tend to use the same tools as legit blogs do, such as autoblogging WordPress Plugins, auto-pings, mass site submission tools, and feed scrapers:

Of course, there are huge differences between real blog with splogs but sometimes the line is so thin even some bloggers fail to realize what they use is actually cheesy.

Your mileage may vary, but with a basic understanding of what is a blog and how it works, you soon will realize that every tool that tries to automate things will either get you nowhere or even bring bad things to your business.

The last thing you want is to be banned by search engines, deleted from blog search engines or simply being avoided by readers, who are one of the most important currency for your blog.

I went searching for information on some recent blog scams and found a wide variety of phishing, scam, splog, and get-rich-schemes reported.

The SANS Internet Storm Center alerted online users and the public on possible Hurricane Gustav donation scams. With the sudden spike in domain name registration with Gustav and Hurricane in the name, it’s a clear sign that more than long standing support services are reaching out to help the victims of the storms, just as they did with Hurricane Katrina and the tragedy of the terrible earthquakes in China, and other natural disasters.

The US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) works with the US Department of Homeland Security to provide a frequently updated Current Activity page on online phishing, blog, and computer scams. Their warnings are filled with alerts on natural disaster scams, email scams, and blogs gone bad.

According to TrendMicro:

Because it’s an industry now, Web criminal activity is conducted through every means available — the more common examples being spammed email messages and bogus Web sites. Generosity is a wonderful thing, but making sure that donations go to their intended recipients should always come with it.

In WARNING Main Street Host Scamming Georgia Businesses, Allen Harkleroad reported on a SEO web hosting scam:

Main Street Host has been cold calling Statesboro and area businesses regarding search engine placement (aka SEO or Search Engine Optimization). These folks will charge you upwards of $600.00 a year (or more), make a bunch of promises and not do what they say they will do.

Main Street Hosts is a scam outfit, they will take your money and run. They prey on the naivete of small business owners.

Harkleroad says that the best defense is to “NEVER buy a product or service from a company that emails you or cold calls you.” He also recommends you contact the site’s state or country equivalent of their attorney general’s office, the Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, or equivalent for your country and theirs.

While it is often easier to ignore emails, as they all enter one place and you can easily clean out anything from someone you don’t know and don’t recognize, stumbling across a scam blog is often much harder to detect.

An iPhone phishing scam resulted in hundreds of iPhone user’s having their account information grabbed because they didn’t realize they were not really on the legitimate iPhone site but a scam site. The iPhone Blog reported that Apple has now released an announcement warning their customers and have provided a support document to help users determine if they are on the real iPhone site.

In 2006, Wired reported on a MySpace phishing attempt to gain access to usernames and passwords through a false MySpace blog, reporting, “MySpace estimates that more than 100,000 people fell for the attack before it was shut down.”

Many are using the web to find love and getting caught by scams, including blog scams. In “Are you being scammed by Russians?“, Kathryn Lord of “Find a Sweetheart” covers indepth information and tips on scams and scam protection as well as what to look for when cruising for dates and love on the web through blogs and email, especially when it comes to many of the scams coming out of Russia. She even points to a blog scam using DNA matching to find your true love online.

She recommends that if you are trying to find love through blogs and online, you need to ask the right questions before committing, passing on private information, or sending money. One of the important questions is to find out if the girl’s street address contains “Lenin street”, “Lenina street” or “Sovetskaya street” as those are known scam addresses.

With blogs becoming big business, scam blogs are giving the blogosphere a bad name. Whatever interests you probably has a blog covering the subject, but is it a legit blog or a scam blog? How would you know? Have you stumbled into a scam on a blog, mislead by the similarities to a legitimate blog? Have you found ways to spot a good blog from a scam blog?

In the next article in this series on Blog Scams, I’ll look at the impact of get-rich-quick and work-at-home scams are having on the blogosphere and economy.

Articles in the Series on Blog Scams

Comments

  1. says

    It’s so important to try and reduce the number of blog scams out there.

    So far bloggers have been seen as trustable, grass-roots type. I think a lot of people read us for this reason.

    There should be a tool or blog that functions similarly to a neighborhood-watch that bloggers can use to report blog scams too… any takers :)?

    Ciao for now,
    Lilly

  2. says

    What a scary development – yet predictable if we analyze the evolution of the web and the evolution of the so called “online business” as a hole. It appears to me that people never learn. Getting rich schemes are the root of all evil. As bloggers we can just call out and inform our readers. The question is: who will take legal action?

  3. Jacq says

    People should also be familiar with search engines like Scam Search so that they will know if these online businesses are for real or just another scam.

  4. Eddie says

    It is important to try to be aware of those blog scams.Everyone must be familiar on the sites or search engines.Must also read forums or articles on the tips for the Do’s and Dont’s on making blogs.

  5. Destiny says

    You should write about the so called “contest” purepop2009.com is advertising. Its all a scam. It really hurts me when these selfish cold hearted people do things like this. If you try to sign up you have to pay a $12 dollar fee just to upload music and then $99 registration fee after that. Then in the terms (which most people dont read) it says that the companies, agents, and angencies they promised would be there might not actually be there. A complete rip off! I know its the persons choice but they should be warned about things like this. Its heartless and companies and agencies like this should be shut down. It’s playing with the dreams of the talent youth today!

  6. says

    With more people opting to earn money from the comforts of their own homes, you have to be careful as online frauds are scattered around. You need to detect work at home scams, since you might be wasting your effort and time on nothing.

    Before joining any money making schemes do research on the company and try to check on how long the company has been in the business.

    Do not fall prey on these work at home scams. Keep an eye out for these signs, and if you detect one, report it to the proper authorities right away. You not only need to protect yourself, you need to protect others as well.

  7. Lets get those scammers!!! says

    Hi everyone,

    I just want to give out a warning about a company called SLR Canada, they have two locations:

    55 Town Centre Court Suite # 407
    Scarborough, Ontario M1P 4X4

    And

    133 Richmond St West Suite # 407
    Toronto, Ontario M5H 2L3

    The company will offer you an employment referral service…they call themselves head hunters. They promise to help you find a job and charge you an up front fee of $125.13, another $125.13 in 30 days and another 125.13 in 60 days. This is a total of $375.39. They make you sign a binding contract and do not deliver any service. They tell you that once you have a job you pay them 3% of you earnings after 1 year and this is how they make their money.

    SLR post fake positions and then will set up an interview with you over the phone pretending to be the company.

    Please be very cautous and clear from SLR Canada it is a scam. The company use to be called Stafflocater(Part of Clearview Management). Stay clear of the owner Paul Joseph and his staff. One in particular Nir Kronenblat. They lie to you to scam your money.

  8. Shaun says

    Alma tuck is really good at keeping people fooled. He is also really good at making it appear that what he is doing is not wrong. He retains the services of a lawyer that specializes in FTC cases. When building his offers he looks at what has gotten other people shut down and only shows enough information up front to meet FTC requirements. seo2promote, blog2promote, and learn2promote were the offers he was running when I was hired. I have to say I fell for his con job doing his IT work. I’m also quite certain I have lost more than anyone else posting here.

    SEO blog host was his new company. When his old offers started having merchanting problems we scrambled to build seobloghost. I built the first revision of the cPanel hosting platform management helper tool. I thought we were working on a legitimate hosting product like bluehost or hostgator. I also got merchanting for Alma for seobloghost (Something I would not have done had I not been lied to about the risks). I shut down that merchant account in November. It was being misuesed (billing *2promote sites). After repeated requests to Steve Bullpit to stop billing the old sites with my account it became clear that it was going to continue to be misused. In december Alma tried to manipulate me into believing I had done him some great wrong in shutting off the merchant account that he had never paid me a dime for (I was supposed to get 1% for the use of my name and credibility). It was at this time that it became clear that I was dealing with a dishonest person. He really had kept me blind to the fact for a long time.

    Seobloghost went south in February. In march the Conexm account at Rackspace got shut down (I assume for non payment). That account had the only up to day copy of the Conexm database (that I know of) with all the credit card transactions.

    I’m taking a risk by posting this as Alma already claims that I have ruined him by tarnishing his reputation. However, I feel that the truth about this last year should be told. It was 12 months ago when Amla contacted me for doing his system administration work. Conexm owes me just under $10k and I have not been going after them because I have been warned that Alma is willing to use new investment money to fight old legal problems.

    I have seen mention of Jayson Linford here as being one of his goons. While it is true that he did work for conexm that isn’t the whole truth. As early as May of last year he was looking at the numbers trying to figure out how to make the finances work. He was the one trying to make the math work out for sustainable profitability. He eventually left when Alma kept referring creditors and investors to him for answers. In the end Jayson didn’t want to be the one cleaning up Alma’s messes he couldn’t stop Alma from creating. At least two of Jayson’s neighbors were negatively impacted by Alma and Conexm. One as a developer and the other as an investor. Jayson is just one more person to feel the ruin that comes from working with Alma.

    To everyone who didn’t receive what they thought they were signing up for. I’m sorry that I supported this by keeping the servers running. I’m sorry that I fell for it. I started working for Conexm after I lost my job last year. I thought it was a great opportunity to get my career going again. It turns out that wanting something doesn’t make it so. It just makes you more likely to get taken advantage of.

  9. says

    People are doing so much spamming and scamming, its not right.
    From my point of view there is no proper definition of Scam, Spam and spammers.
    Scammers are those persons who want to make money quickly and there concern is all about your account and other document details. They want your money and for that they convince you any how.
    Please be aware of these Scammers.

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