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10/11/2013

Outsourcing marketing. How to look ridiculous.

To return to a theme discussed here, ‘guest post’ search engine optimisation is, at best,  a dubious, not to say scummy, way to go about things. I get 4 or 5 ‘guest post’ proposals a day, but today brought a classic of the genre.

ghulam@webmasterseye.com
To: Nearly Legal
Guest Post Request

Hi, My name is Joseph Cohen. I am a legal advisor and accident claims lawyer in a UK based Personal Injury Attorney.  I saw that you have published guest posts from different authors in your blog. I also want to contribute in your blog in posting articles related to accident claims. I can write above 500 words based unique, researched, interesting and informative tutorial that haven’t been published anywhere else.These are my latest guest posts: [links to crappy generic rubbish deleted]

Please let me know if you are interested in my write-up. I would diligently want for us to work together and take our professional relationship to the next level. If you think you have your own topic to write please send it to me and I’ll provide it to you according your requirements. I will not charge money for my articles. I just want to introduce myself in the author bio.

Waiting for your reply.
Kind Regards,
Joseph

Webmasterseye.com is a search engine optimisation (SEO) firm based in Pakistan. So, having nothing better to do at that moment, I replied.

to: ghulam@webmasterseye.com

Hi Joseph

Why is a legal advisor working for a ‘UK based Personal Injury Attorney’ emailing from a Pakistan based SEO company email address?

Regards
NL

There was no reply, but 3 hours later, I got this.

joseph@elite-accident-claims.co.uk
To: Nearly Legal
Guest post Request

Hi,

My name is Joseph Cohen.

I am a legal advisor and accident claims lawyer in a UK based Personal Injury Attorney.  I saw that you have published guest posts from different authors in your blog. I also want to contribute in your blog in posting articles related to accident claims. I can write above 500 words based unique, researched, interesting and informative tutorial that haven’t been published anywhere else. [etc etc. word for word]

Now I was amused, in an annoyed kind of way. Elite Accident Claims are a PI claims manager set-up. They are, of course, not lawyers in any meaningful sense of the term, and are definitely not ‘UK based attorneys’. So, back to ‘Joseph’ at the elite accident claims email address.

Hi Joseph

I note you didn’t answer my earlier question about why your previous email came from a Pakistan based SEO organisation if you were a ‘lawyer’ working for a UK based ‘attorney’.

I am therefore impressed by your determination and utter stupidity in emailing me from an address which belongs to a PI claims farmer. We don’t have attorneys in England. But even if we did, your purported employer isn’t one.

Regards

NL

Silence, of course.  So, in the horrible abuse of language favoured by PR people and crap journalists, I ‘reached out’ to Elite Accident Claims. Twitter produced silence. The ‘speak to us now’ box on their website did get a response, of a sort.

Now online: Leave a question or comment and our agents will try to attend to you shortly =)
You (click to change)
Hi. Are you lawyers?
You are currently being served by John
John
Hello we are one of the UK’s largest claims management organisation with a large panel of specialist personal injury solicitors working on our behalf
Is there anything specific you would like us to help you with ?

You (click to change)
I’m just wondering why I have received an email from a ‘Joseph Cohen’ claiming to be a ‘legal advisor and accident claims lawyer’ from your email address.

John
Thank you for your email sir I have just responded to your query
We will take this matter up urgently as you can see from our site we are not lawyers but we do provide a specialist legal service regarding personal injury claims and anything that is associated with accidents

Uh huh.

So I emailed Elite Accident Claims press contact email address.

Hi

I run a well regarded specialist housing law website (http://nearlylegal.co.uk/ )

Today I received two emails, both purporting to be from a Joseph Cohen. Both emails are copied at the end of this post.

‘Joseph’ claims to be ‘a legal advisor and accident claims lawyer in a UK based Personal Injury Attorney.’ and is seeking to have a guest post on my site.

Joseph’s first email came from ‘ghulam@webmasterseye.com’

This is a Pakistan based SEO company.

Joseph’s second (otherwise identical) email came from

joseph@elite-accident-claims.co.uk

This is clearly a reply address in your domain.

Two questions, to which I would appreciate a reply.

Did you authorise the use of your email domain?

Did you authorise the SEO company to send out emails from ‘a legal advisor and lawyer’ working for a ‘personal injury attorney’?

The options appear to be that either you authorised blatant lying, or you are so incompetent as to have no control over your outsourced marketing. I am intrigued to know which is true.

And one further question, to which I think the answer is already clear. Do you have a ‘legal adviser and lawyer’ called Joseph Cohen working in your firm?

I will be writing a post about this on my site, which has a high google ranking. Your marketing campaign may well have backfired.

Regards

Nearly Legal

And Lo! This produced a very quick response. (Names redacted)

Hi

I am a bit concerned about the content of your email can you provide me your details.

Jospeh Cohen is not a lawyer and has never claimed to be a lawyer so we will be taking this issue with our SEO team.

We have allowed our general email address to be used in our SEO campaign and not individual email addresses.

Yes we have contracted an SEO company in Pakistan.

I apologise for any inconvenience caused to you and I will endeavour to take this matter up urgently with the SEO company. I would urge you not to give us any bad press as this is certainly not authorised by us at all.

Kind regards
[Elite claims Handler]

Time for one last exchange of emails.

Hi [Elite Claims Handler]

You have my details. I will forward you the emails now, so there can be no doubt about authenticity.

What is your role in Elite, by the way?

Are you saying that you do employ a Joseph Cohen?

And any SEO set up that promises you guest posts and text links is going to be spamming blogs like mine. See here

On the naughty step – Part 1: Geeks bearing gifts

Regards

Nearly Legal

Which got this response.

Hi again

I am a claims handler. I can assure you we have made it clear to our SEO company that we do not liked to be spammed nor do we condone spamming other blog sites. I have forwarded your emails to the senior members of the team and I am very sure things will be done. We are a proud and respected company and we take our work ethic seriously.

Once again I apologise for the inconvenience caused by our off shore SEO company.

Kind regards
[Claims Handler]

They don’t like to be spammed? The poor suffering darlings. What exactly did they think the SEO people were going to do to deliver these glorious text links that google loves?

So, it appears that the answer is incompetence rather than lying. They have completely failed to have any oversight or control over what is being done in their name and have employed a cheap and unethical SEO outfit to do their promotional work.

Every now and then, I email the managing partners of firms when I get ‘we love your blog, please let us promote our client on the back of your work’ style emails. It is astonishing that none of them, not a single one, know what is being done in their names. They are shocked, shocked I tell you.

As others have put it, outsource your marketing in this way and you outsource both your reputation and your ethics. ‘Oops, we didn’t know about that’ simply doesn’t get you off the hook. And they get away with it up to the point that someone actually publicly embarrasses them about it. As far as Elite Accident Claims go, let us hope that ‘things are done’, because they are not a ‘respected’ company round these parts.

[Update 11/11/2013. Who is Joseph Cohen?

The emails above I received from the Claims Handler from the info@eliteaccidentclaims.co.uk  address had a picture of a grinning man with them in gmail. In fact, gmail also showed a link to a google plus page – for ‘Joesph’ [sic] Cohen. And there is the ginning chap.

The Claims Handler never did answer my question about whether a Joseph Cohen existed and worked for Elite Accident Claims. But I very much doubt that Joseph, if he exists, compiled the google plus page for ‘Joesph’.

Amongst the few people in Joesph’s circles (Google plus version of ‘friends’) is a
Ghulam e Mustafa, who works for Web Master Eye. I suspect this the Ghulam who first emailed me, calling himself Joseph but forgetting to use the right email address. I rather suspect that Ghulam is behind Joesph’s google plus page, given his track record on attention to detail.

Why is this of any importance? Well, google search results actually prioritises sites that are associated with a google plus account. A search for ‘Elite Accidental Claims’ returns as the first result a link to their site, as being ‘by Joesph Cohen’ and with the pic attached. The source code for their page shows the link to the google plus account as ‘author’. (The bit that reads <link href=”[some address]” rel=”author” />

So a google plus ID is a useful device for promoting search results. But google take rather a dim view of google plus accounts being for people who don’t actually exist.

So, who is Joseph (or Joesph) Cohen? I’ve emailed Elite… ]

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

7 Comments

  1. Tessa Shepperson

    I too get requests for guest blog posts for the Landlord Law Blog on a daily basis. As there is a very clear message on our contact page saying that we do not accept guest blogs, I usually just delete and ignore them.

    I also get daily emails from ‘SEO companies’ offering to improve my sites rankings on Google.

    To anyone who is thinking of using one of these companies, in addition to the points made by Giles, I would also mention that Google is constantly changing its algorithm to outlaw this sort of thing and that far from improving your Google ranking, it could instead do your site a lot of harm.

    So that is another reason not to use them.

    Reply
  2. Nick Holmes (@nickholmes)

    I think “guest” posts (ie sponsored posts) have a place if you want to earn advertising revenue from your site (which you clearly don’t). But they are only worthwhile if they come via a reputable agency, are of good quality (and do not detract from the quality of your site) and are clearly attributed to the client. That’s a big ask!

    Reply
  3. Arfan

    The days of spamming and guest posts have long gone in SEO. especially with the latest updates and semantic analysis of contact. Saying that g+ will be playing an interesting role soon.

    I remember when I started legalnotebook when it was still blank I was getting guest post request which I found funny as it was just a skeleton then!

    i’ll be in touch soon to offer a guest post ;)

    Reply
  4. Midlands Landlord

    I’d say it depends on the Guest Post, and the poster.

    If it someone in your niche who will add value to the content of your site, then that may be fine.

    Guest Posts from SEO clowns are a separate matter, though.

    Reply
  5. Giles Peaker

    And look what arrived today, via the site’s comment form. They actually sought out the contact page to send me this drivel.

    Although I love the inadvertent accuracy of ‘We churn out’ guest posts, I think Deepti missed out a stage in the ‘How we do it’ section, where it should say:

    “Annoy the hell out of blog editors by sending them endless, fatuous, inaccurate guest post requests”

    “Hello,
    Greetings for the day!
    I am Deepti Pandey Business Development Manager.

    We are a Delhi-NCR, India based, and leading web Services Company with main competency in Guest Posting and an outsourced vendor for many reputed USA, UK, Canada and Australia based SEO agencies.

    It has grown to be one of the most influential off-page SEO strategies for promoting brand and products alongside building relationships with the clients. We have a dedicated team of 100 professionals to serve guest posting.

    If you will use our guest posting service you need not to do anything else, we will do all this for you. A guest post service helps you in getting highly relevant editorial links. We offer you a top class guest posting service. We write high quality guest post, find relevant websites and contact the website owner to post our guest post. This guest post includes a link to your site. It will help you in getting high quality back links.

    We offer a well structured and highly effective link building solution through guest posting. You get links from a relevant, genuine and high PR source. You can get links from related blogs. We offer customer centric solutions at competitive prices.

    We have a team of experienced content writers and can help you by producing quality content. We have high level of market reach as we constantly build new relationships and reach out to other webmasters running high quality blogs and websites.

    How We Do It:-

    We follow a step by step process to give you the high quality guest post. We are dedicated to Top of Form

    • Identifying the Client’s goals -We work with our client’s to identify their goals, so that we can provide content suitable to their niche. Then we study clients’ blog and suggest topics. Our process involves evaluation of keywords, identifying high quality opportunities and creation of relative and relevant content.

    • Finding the right blogs and websites- We use different research tools to zero in the right blogs and websites applicable to your niche.

    • Evaluation of the blogs and sites- We assess blogs and sites on different barometric indices such as page rank, content quality, domain authority, link profiles, regular updating, viewership and other important metrics. Then we move on with the link building.

    • Creating the Guest Post- We create high quality contents for guest posting. We have highly professional writers with industry specific experience. With their help we churn out high quality guest posts.

    • Quality control- We ensure that all articles are proof read, checked for spellings and word count before submission. We offer unique, interesting and relevant guest posts.

    We guarantee you that you will be happy with the quality of work, which cater the needs of your company’s website. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please do feel free to communicate with us. Please inform us your availability for us to prepare everything for you.

    I will really appreciate if you please let me know your Guest posting requirement. Waiting for your positive and quick response

    Thank You,
    Deepti Pandey
    Business Development Manager

    “Buying a website without search engine optimization is like spending your entire budget on a commercial without buying any air time to show it to the world.”

    Disclaimer: This email is sent out in accordance with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.

    Reply
  6. AM

    Or assure you of their “proof reading” standards when they clearly overlooked that on their pitch to you. “Greetings for the day” – I might use that- its hysterical.

    Reply

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