The “We’d Love to Share this Article We Just Posted” Scam

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What do Kate Croston (croston.kate@gmail.com), Hannah Howard (hhward22@gmail.com), Kaja Vollmer (kavo.jamer@gmail.com), Melanie Slaugh (slaugh.melanie@gmail.com), and Lindsay Samuels (lindasay.samuels04@gmail.com) all have in common? They are all part of a new wave of SEO backlink panhandlers, contacting websites, flattering them with such praise as “It has been a sincere pleasure to read your great content”, and then begging a link back to an article that “we just posted on our own blog” or site. They seem sincere and innocent, until you start getting hit from all sides with nearly identical requests, and it becomes clear that they are somehow related, and part of some secret SEO backlink operation.

We ourselves were taken in when Kate Croston first contacted us. She wrote “We would love to share with you an article that we just posted on our own blog! (10 Things the Internet Learned from Kim Dotcom) is linked below and could be a fun way to share this announcement with your readers (http://www.internetservice.net/2012/10-things-the-internet-learned-from-kim-dotcom/) It has been a sincere pleasure to read your great content.”

We had no idea that she was part of a group who was purposefully writing to sites to get backlinks, and so we cheerfully added a link to her article from our article about Kim Dotcom.


Suddenly, we started getting several such requests, all in the same style, all explaining how they would love to share with us an article they just posted, some even using identical wording (such as “It has been a sincere pleasure to read your great content”). In each case, the subject of the email was the name of the targeted website (in this case, The Internet Patrol).

That’s when we got suspicious. As each new request came in, we wrote back, asking them where they had gotten our contact information, and even directly asking them to what group they belonged, Not surprisingly, while our agreement to provide a link back to Ms. Croston’s article had received an immediate response, not once has our request for “just who the heck are you guys” received the couresty of a response.

Beyond that, I even wrote directly to Kate Croston again, nearly begging her to explain to me the mechanism and dynamics at play.

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Hi Kate,

I am reaching out to you because I am hoping that in the spirit of fair play, you will assist me here.

 

It is very clear that after we wrote the article linking to yours, that somehow colleagues of yours, or others in a common group, got the information that we would write articles with links, as I have been bombarded with identical requests.

Will you please tell me what the vector for this was?

Anne
The Internet Patrol

Not a single reply.

However, they did try getting around us by contacting a different author associated with the Internet Patrol, instead.

Naughty, naughty.

So, because they won’t tell us who they are, or really give us any information about what they are doing, we figure we need to out them so that others won’t fall for the same trap.

Of course, the odds are very good that their real names aren’t even really Kate, Hannah, Kaja, Melanie or Lindsay (the email addresses certain arouse suspicion, given the numbers, misspelling, and the like) – or, for that matter, that they are even really women. It’s as likely as not that these are people who live outside the U.S., who are being paid to get backlinks to sites that are owned or controlled by a group trying to game the search engines or, perhaps, by customers of an organization offering such a service.

Here, below, are the original emails received frome each of them, all within the space of several weeks.

To each of these, I personally sent a response requesting that they tell us what exactly was going on. No reply, but they stopped writing to me.

But they haven’t stopped trying – just today Ms. Croston sent an email, instead, to TIP author Jessica.

That was when we realized that we needed to make this public.

If you hear from them, or someone else you believe part of their group, please add your information below in the comments section.

Here are all of the emails from Ms. Croston and her associates:

From: croston.kate@gmail.com
Date: March 13, 2012

Hi Anne,

We would love to share with you an article that we just posted on our own blog! (10 Things the Internet Learned from Kim Dotcom) is linked below and could be a fun way to share this announcement with your readers.

(http://www.internetservice.net/2012/10-things-the-internet-learned-from-kim-dotcom/)

It has been a sincere pleasure to read your great content.

Sincerely,
Kate Croston

From: hhward22@gmail.com
Date: March 15, 2012

Hi Anne,

I just posted an article on my site entitled “10 Reasons to Privacy Protect Your Domain” (http://www.longhornleads.com/blog/2012/10-reasons-to-privacy-protect-your-domain/). I thought the article was potentially something that would interest your site’s audience, so I’m emailing you to ask if you’d consider mentioning it on your site, as I’m trying to increase the readership of my site.

Either way, thanks for your time!

Best,
Hannah Howard

—-

From: kavo.jamer@gmail.com Kaja Vollmer
Date: April 4, 2012

Hi Anne,

I work with highspeedinternetservice.com,where we just published entitled, “10 Ways to Keep Your Boss from Seeing Your Internet History” Considering this overlap in subject matter with your blog, I thought perhaps you would be interested in sharing the article with your readers? If so, you can find the article here: (http://www.highspeedinternetservice.com/blog/2012/10-ways-to-keep-your-boss-from-seeing-your-internet-history/).

It has been a sincere pleasure to read your great content

Thanks for your time!
Kaja Vollmer

—-

From: slaugh.melanie@gmail.com
Date: April 5, 2012

Hi Anne,

We posted an article that we thought you and your readers might be interested in having a look at, “10 Ways People Use Twitter to Spy on Others” myispfinder[dot]org/ispblog/2012/10-ways-people-use-twitter-to-spy-on-others/). Just thought I’d let you know that you would be interested in featuring or mentioning it in your blog.

Thanks for your time!
Melanie Slaugh

From: lindasay.samuels04@gmail.com
Date: April 25, 2012

Hi Anne,

We would love to share with you an article that we just posted on our own blog! “10 Common Internet Scams Pulled on Nannies” (http://www.nannybackgroundcheck.com/blog/10-common-internet-scams-pulled-on-nannies/) would be an interesting story for your readers to check out and discuss on your blog, so we hope you will consider sharing it!

Thanks so much for your time!
Lindsay Samuels

From: Kate Croston
Date: Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hi Jessica,

I’m writing to let you know that we posted an article, “10 Reasons You Can Never Have Enough Internet Bandwidth” (http://www.internetservice.net/2012/10-reasons-you-can-never-have-enough-internet-bandwidth/). I just thought I’d share it with you in case you thought it would appeal to your readers.

Thanks for time!
Kate Croston

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
Click for amount options
Other Amount:
What info did you find here today?:

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