Bloggers Beware

Written by Todd | Channelingmyself on December 6th, 2011


A few days ago I received an unsolicited email from a man named Simon Leclercq from the Mana-Agency. Here is what he sent me:

“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.

“Hello,

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.
What can be your price for one banner (banner should appear at ALL pages of your site) of abovementioned sizes (please specify the place for the banner – top, bottom, left, right)? Please mention a normal link for banner, without javascript code and set prices in US dollars per month.

Best regards,”

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:

“Hi!

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:

login: XXXXXXX
password: XXXXXXX

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:
Gelbert Agency
Emma Agency
Izida Agency
Bevesto Agency
Rita Agency
Kara Agency

Here are a few links I found during my research of other bloggers who were contacted under similar circumstances.

http://writingcontentforpennies.blogspot.com/2011/11/beware-fake-ad-agency-contacting-self.html

http://mephistos.com/2011/08/04/devious-scam-aimed-at-bloggers/comment-page-1/#comment-3641

http://www.atpeaz.com/index.php/2011/wordpress-blogs-targeted-scam-beware-of-the-adv-zip-plugin/?print=1


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17 Comments so far ↓

  1. Mitz says:

    I’ve noticed that a lot of these scammers are from foreign countries, and their English isn’t that great. That might be the first red flag. Also for Facebook, you can look up or “like” Facecrooks, which provides info on scams making the rounds on FB. Remember that old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.

       0 likes

  2. Sol says:

    Yup, Justin is a good way to go for blogging related stuff. I like how we’ve all become good friends over time.

    Anyway, I’ve got this mail as well. Lemme look it up.. Ah, here it is:

    Message: Hi,

    We are looking for new advertisement platforms and we are interested
    in your site someinsightrequired.com.
    Is it possible to place banner on your site on a fee basis?

    Best regards,
    Eliott Arnaud

    His mail was apparently from Larkoa Agency. See a pattern here? I certainly do. It’s good of you to warn bloggers. I don’t like that people could fall into this trap.
    Sol recently posted..The Shadow Self pt. 2 – The Eos FilesMy Profile

       0 likes

    Twitter: SomeInsightReq

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I’m an avid reader of The Bloggess (for fun, she’s hilarious) and she regularly shares the mails she gets from PR agencies. She has a strategy that weeds out not only the scammers, but people whose products wouldn’t be a good fit for her audience.

    They must address her by name and give some indication that they know what the site is about. In other words, if she gets a form letter or mail, in the trash it goes (ok, after she sends them hilariously crafted replies, which she shares on her blog). I think it’s a good rule. Even those of us who are “small fish” should have standards, no?

    Hugs!
    Melody
    Melody | Deliberate Receiving recently posted..Can I Use The Law Of Attraction To Find The Perfect Man?My Profile

       0 likes

  4. Veehcirra says:

    Goodness me, glad you followed your intuition and did not fall into that trap!!Thanks for sharing this, shedding light on a problem is the first step to eradicating it!!
    Veehcirra recently posted..4 Warning Signs That You Are Blindsiding Yourself!My Profile

       0 likes

  5. Sophia says:

    Thank you for your remind, and the internet is always full of many uncertain factors and it is dangerous to us. So we should keep to be careful enough.

       0 likes

  6. Fred Tracy says:

    Wow haha, I am glad you didn’t fall for it. I definitely would not install any plug-in for such an arrangement. It’s a shame that they’re trying to rip people off. :(

    I have been contacted before about advertising, but there’s always some amount of negotiation. Just blindly accepting a price then expecting the client to log into their site is definitely weird.

       0 likes

    Twitter: fredtracy

  7. Justin Mazza says:

    Hey Todd,
    I got an email the next day after I chatted with you. It was for, surprise… An advertisement. This was an advertisement for video ads like adsense and they had a website.

    It may be legit but I don’t want to add any video ads on my blog because it would slow it down.

    Thanks for the mention in your post my friend!
    Justin Mazza recently posted..Writing Daily For a Better YouMy Profile

       0 likes

  8. Nail technician courses says:

    Wow, thank you for writing this up, I literally just sent a price quote. As I was trying to check out izida agency’s website… Which cannot be found… I decided to do a little google fu and came across this. The only difference is I was emailing with “Mathis” Andy not Simon. Thanks again :)

       0 likes

  9. Hi Todd I love to read this post the topic that saying in here was really helpful to be honest I learned something new..
    Fatima Hipolito recently posted..Glock SightsMy Profile

       0 likes

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