Lately, spam from Indian website and SEO companies has been pretty bad for me. I’m not sure what has happened, but over the last 3-4 months it’s increased ten fold – the BBC article on India becoming the World’s leading spammers really doesn’t surprise one bit. I do get spam occasionally from other countries, but India is by far the worst offender for me. I don;t have anything all against other companies trying to grow, but Indian SEO companies are doing this the wrong way. So, just for their record to all the (now human) spammers sitting in India – “I don’t want your link building or seo services and certainly won’t be taking anyone seriously who initiates contact from a gmail account”.
I’ve tried a lot with Indian spammers. Submitting their MX records to various sites in the hope of getting their mail server blacklisted, replying tell them to “feck off”, reporting them to their hosts and even ignoring the said messages. Yes, ignoring the message doesn’t work nowadays as I’ll still get a follow up email asking me “I will revert all my web development to India”. Any emails I do reply to they never acknowledge or (I guess) respect. Nothing works!
I’ll also see disclaimers in the footer of some emails, along the lines of:
Disclaimer: The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) establishes requirements for those who send commercial email, spells out penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask mailers to stop spamming them. The above mail is in accordance to the Can Spam act of 2003: There are no deceptive subject lines and is a manual process through our efforts on World Wide Web. You can opt out by sending mail to [EMAIL] and we ensure you will not receive any such mails.
I assume they think this justifies their spamming and they’re totally safe? My advice would be never ever send an email to”unsubscribe” – you’ll just get a response further pushing their services. Yes, seorankingindia.com and mosaic-service.com I’m talking to you aswell – If I email to be removed from whatever list for your “best seo ranking services” you’ve (without my knowledge) added me to, me sending the said email should say I definitely don’t want a follow up email asking if I want some other services.
Lately, they’ve gone a little lower in my opinion. Indian companies now don’t use their actual company email address for the initial contact, instead, they’ll use an anonymous gmail account – or any none domain based email. Since about the start of the year, I’ve even noticed lots of LinkedIn “connect” requests from anonymous people in India who are spouting their awful services on LinkedIn too.
Last week, I even got 4 calls, again from offshore Indian SEO companies asking to use them for SEO (which I never ever would – I’ve seen the “SEO” they do). After asking how they got my details, there response was that they’re are simply doing online marketing and browsing the search results. I’ve not been called by the said spammers before last week. I did decide to quickly ask the person on the telephone of they actually knew what we did. They correctly cited web design and said for the equivalent of £60.00 pm, within 2 months, they could get my site to within the top 5 for the term “web design” – what fools. I asked him if he thought that was good term to target, noting that longer tail terms tend to convert better. His answer, you ask? “Web Design gets more searches than long tail terms”. Awful.
Additionally, some of the emails are bordering on harassment – I’m now receiving continual “update emails” as they call it asking me to respond. They are bloody hard to get rid of.
In my opinion, this form of “advertising” as they constantly cite it, is totally flawed for the above reasons and at the most basic level, because I can barely understand their broken English.
My “Solution” to Indian Spammers
After pretty much accepting that Indian spammers are not going to go away, I’ve decided to fight back. Granted, on forums, the general approach is DNFTT (or Do Not Feed the Troll), but this may actually work in my favour here. I’ll now basically call their bluff. I’ve typed out a single line email, that I’ve saved as template so I can copy and paste, that I’ll reply. It reads, “Oh hello from the UK, Please tell more, your services sound lovely, Thank You, Boris” (for the record, “Boris” isn;t my real name, lol). Apart from the fact I’m wasting a few seconds by replying to these guys, this method has a few distinct of benefits:
- The spammers will see this as a generic reply, see I’m having a laugh at their expense and never email me again
- The spammer will be stupid enough to actually spend their own time in order to appraise my site – I’ll get a free review of my site that I won’t follow up. I’ll just tell them to bugger off after getting their opinions
To my total surprise I replied to a spam email from “email@example.com” with my generic template. They replied with a full and fairly detailed report on my site, what terms I should target and the steps they’d take to “optimize” my site – all organised into a PDF and Excel document. Granted, the majority of it was, as expected, spammy crap, but there were a few things I may decide to do. As that company in particular has been harassing me for a while I told him to bugger off after receiving my report.
A note to all Indian spammers from now on – If you decide to spam me, expect a reply, expect to do some sort of reviews for me. But for one minute, after you’ve sent me the review, don’t expect me to reply.