“We are looking for new advertisement platforms and we are interested
in your site channelingmyself.com. Is it possible to place banner on your site on a fee basis?”
This sparked my interest due to the fact that this would be my first chance at earning some advertising revenue. I really had no idea what to expect from the process but figured I would play along for now and see how things went all the while keeping in the back of my mind that this might be a scam. I sent a reply to “Simon” asking what kind of banners his company would like to place on my site. Here is the response he sent back.
Thanks for reply to our proposal!
I represent Mana Agency. At the moment we are preparing an advertising campaign for Lacoste Company (it is a French company producing clothes, footwear, perfumery etc.) We already have designed banners for the campaign, they are the following sizes: 160×600, 240×400, 300×250, 336×280, 468×60, 728×90.
At this point I knew I was in over my head because I really had no idea what to charge or how to go about the process. I contacted a fellow blogger Justin at mazzastick.com and asked his advice. He gave me some great guidance about banner ads so all I needed to do next was to determine what my price would be. After some careful consideration I came up with a monthly fee and emailed “Simon” back. This was his response:
“Could you send the exact banner size, please? (Banner appearing on all pages at the same place)”
I checked his previous banners sizes and replied back to what size I could put on my site. About a day later he replied back:
Thanks for reply to our proposal!
We like your price.
To pass to the banner control system follow the link http://webmaster.mana-agency.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://XXXXXX.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.mana-agency.com/wp_install
To activate your site you have to enter the code: XXX-XXX-XXX
What way of payment is suitable for you?”
After I received this email reply I really started to suspect something was up. The entire email process only took 4 days and there was never any negotiation over the pricing. I clicked on the link for the banner control system and it took me to what appeared to be a legit page. However, the idea of having to login to another site to install and activate a plugin sounded very devious to me so I decided to do some research. Luckily for me my intuition was right and this was some sort of scam.
After reading stories from other sites I learned that after unsuspecting bloggers activated the plugin their original contact would email them back and say all spots in the program were filled with other sites but the Lacoste banner would still appear on their site. What these people are after or what kind of malicious code was being installed on these blogger’s servers is unknown but it just goes to show if something sounds too good to be true it probably is. So if you or anyone you know has been contacted by an ad company representing Lacoste and wants to pay to place banners on your site, don’t, it is nothing but a scam.
Some other ad companies that all purported to represent the Lacoste company:
Here are a few links I found during my research of other bloggers who were contacted under similar circumstances.