Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Is a scam?

If you have not yet seen this email hit your inbox, its probably just a matter of time.  Either way, you will need to know whether or not it is a scam.


We've seen your website at
and we love it!

We see that your traffic rank is 377354 and your link popularity is 20.
Also, you have been online since 7/10/2004.

With that kind of traffic, we will pay you up to $4,800/month to advertise our links on your website.

If you're interested, read our terms from this page:


Crystal  Weckerly
The ContactThem Network

So I like anyone that receives this email automatically thinks, $4,800 a month for my site?  Where do I sign up.

Then about 2 seconds later you think, its got to be a scam.

No one is going to pay $4,800 to advertise on a site with that kind of traffic (Alexa metric by the way, which kind of shows the worthlessness of the valuation). 

Now I own dozens of sites with similar amounts of traffic, links and age.  If this were legit, I could be making a couple hundred thousand dollars a month by the end of the month.

So what is going on with or or

Note they have lots of domains themselves, which is kind of odd.


They are running a Multi Level Marketing (MLM) scheme or program(think Amway).  They pay you when people sign up and get you to send out emails to people you know and people you do not know.   They then get the people you know to send out emails as well and get more sign ups and you get a chunk.

It costs money to sign up and essentially this is like a manual way to harvest email addresses.  Combine a spammer and a virus and someone could harvest all your email contacts out of your computer, and then turn around and spam those people.

This method essentially turns you into the virus.

Now, that is an emotionally loaded statement so let me step back from my analogy a bit.  You basically are referring people.  If they end up buying something worthwhile, well then there may be no harm in the referral.  If they get junk, something worthless or worse yet they get ripped off, well then that would be a problem for you.

MLM programs are definitely not new to the internet.  Some affiliate programs are essentially MLM programs.  MLM programs are more famous probably for pyramid schemes where there is absolutely nothing of value exchanged and people are paid with the money from new sign ups until the thing blows up and people can no longer be paid.

So what's my final word on this one?

It smells to good to be true and I suspect that if its not a blatant scam then its probably an unsustainable pyramid scheme.

Shy of that it could also get people in trouble with the canned spam act.  That could get you thrown in jail and or have your domain or website taken away from you.

You might run the ad on your site, but I would think long and hard about sending out emails to people you know if you are not following the canned spam act laws.  The email that I received DEFINITELY did not follow the law.

For what its worth, the person that sent the email was not the name listed in the signature, even though the person listed in the signature does appear to be associated with the program or company.

So before you quit your job, and put a down payment on a new mansion replete with home theater seating, consider whether or not your actions are lawful.  If you can make $4800 a month without breaking the law or screwing over everyone you know, more power to you.

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