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    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeDec 1st, 2011 10:00am (Dec 1st 2011)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    I probably shouldn't say as it might get me in more trouble with Abelow's lawyers, but I'm quite concerned about this so here goes…

    1) we had a new signup on the forum, who then proceeded to spam it with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Keyword Spam (the more outside sites link to a website, the greater importance Google assigns to it) - all the posts had Abelow PR's URL link on the bottom of the post.

    2) We banned the user, and then spent not inconsiderable time and energy removing posts and tidying up threads (I even had to resort to deleting them in the database directly to stop them from showing). It took some major firefighting from myself and Scarlet to get the forum back to normal.

    3) At this point I'd had enough of bellends trying to use our forum to further their own interests (heck, if they'd signed up and then posted something in a relevant area, it would probably have been ok!), but the underhand and spammy way they did it, and the fact the posts were nothing more than keywords for search engines to trawl (so added nothing to the forum, only inconvenienced our users), then I decided to create a warning thread so that it might discourage other idiots from such actions.

    4) A post was added about Abelow PR's spam posts. I also emailed Lorraine at Abelow to say how annoyed I was, and included my email address so she could contact me directly if necessary. If she'd replied and apologised, or even said "it's nothing to do with us", then I'd have removed the post straight away.

    5) Over the next few weeks, we had numerous forum applicants with hotmail and other throwaway email addresses - we started asking for more details from these signups - additional work for us but we didn't want the forum ruining. At least one of these suspicious applicants was an agent of Abelow, one even said that we should remove the post as it was damaging their google rank and it was a 'new employee' who had made the mistake of spamming. However, a quick google of the original poster's name came up with multiple other forums that had been similarly spammed - some with Abelow links and some with other URL's. This was still happening!

    6) Lorraine from Abelow tried to sign up several times. She didn't email me, or reply to my original, just tried to sign up. I got fed up of this and sent her an email saying that I was fed up of Abelow staff trying to sign up, and that they were not welcome on the forum. If she had anything to say to me, then she should email me directly.

    7) I received a very curt reply saying as my post was spam and libelous, their lawyers were getting involved!

    8) I sent her full details of what had happened, so she had all the facts. I asked her what her lawyers would make of the facts in the email. I have not heard a reply.

    Here's the emails:

    One from the spammer's boss:


    From: Mohammad Umar
    Date: Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 9:11 PM
    Subject: Re: Welcome
    To: Scarlet


    Hi there!!!
    I am very sorry for the spamming in your forum.
    There is a new staff in my office working on these websites.
    I do not know a single about this that they have posted in very unrelated destination.
    Though it was a very wrong worked done by my agent.
    On his behalf I am saying sorry to admin of this forum.
    The only thing I can do is sorry and to be take care next time for these type of working.
    I urge you to delete this post from your forum, as my ranking is going down and having a very bad impact in search engine like google also to my users.
    Kindly remove this link, I will be very greatful to you for this kind of act.
    Thanks again.

    Link: http://www.hencam.co.uk/hencam_forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=731&page=1
    Mudassar Ali



    My email to Lorraine telling her we did not welcome any more Abelow signups:


    Hi Lorraine,

    I note that several agents of Abelow and you yourself have attempted several times to sign up to our forum after we banned your original user for defacing our forum with multiple threads of keyword spam.

    I want you to know that I will not authorise any agent of Abelow to use the forum as I cannot afford to spend more time, energy and costs on finding, removing and banning such users who attack our forum in this way.

    If you want to discuss this further then please feel free to email me directly, but I want to make myself clear I do not want any of your staff or agents signing up and spoiling the forum any further.

    Regards

    Neil
    ---
    www.hencam.co.uk - for when you really want to watch hens on the Internet...



    Her reply:


    Thank you for writing.

    Since the comment is not true and spam, can you remove it? It is slander and I am checking with my lawyer further about it.

    I appreciate any assistance you can provide.'

    Many thanks,

    Lorraine

    Lorraine Abelow, CEO



    My reply to her:


    Hi Lorraine,

    Thank you for your reply.

    Please could you describe how the comment is not true?

    We had multiple spam entries posted in our forum, all with SEO keyword spam, and the URLhttp://www.abelowpr.com in them.

    We then banned that user and spent considerable time removing the attack and posted up our warning.

    The username used in the initial attack was simoncarren.

    Here is a sample of the spam we suffered, and details of the account:

    simoncarren Nov 3rd, 2011 12:11pm (3 hours ago)
    Why pay a PR agency for a press release, and then pay again to have it search engine optimised for publication across the web? Or to adapt it as an optimised news story for your own website? It’s cheaper and more effective to write the release using online PR techniques, and then to issue it to the press as well – it shouldn’t need rewriting.
    _________________________
    http://www.abelowpr.com

    Account details:

    Visit Count: 1
    Discussions Started: 5
    Last Known Ip: 182.178.141.71

    A simple search online for that name results in many generic spam attacks on several forums, for example:
    http://www.grandlakebusiness.info/forum/search.php?searchid=1382

    Another quick search for "simoncarren abelow" results in a couple of other forums that were hit with abelowpr spam exactly the same as we were:

    Social media has changed the digital landscape: - Wedding Forum ...
    www.beyondthebride.com.au › ... › General Chitter Chatter
    1 post - 1 author - Last post: 8 Aug
    simoncarren simoncarren is offline. Junior Member ... Abelow PR has quickly embraced all forms of social media as integral tactics for its ...

    and

    softrob.freeforums.org • View topic - Social media marketing:
    softrob.freeforums.org/viewtopic.php?t=3&p=18
    5 Aug 2011 – Abelow PR has quickly embraced all forms of social media as integral tactics ...simoncarren: Posts: 14: Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:19 pm ...


    After the initial attack, and us posting our warning up, we then received the following from another attempted signup (after having to start spending additional time vetting new signups to prevent further attacks):


    ---------- the spammer's request to remove the post and blaming new staff ----------



    Frankly, I am amazed and quite disgusted at your email's tone - we are the victim of SEO spam linked to YOUR company, and then rather than email us to discuss this further (I even emailed you directly to display my frustration and annoyance, it would have been simplicity itself just to reply), your agents and yourself attempt to sign up to our forum multiple times - for all we know to add further spam.

    If you had emailed me directly and said "you know, I think there's been some kind of mix-up and your forum shouldn't have been spammed", then we'd have been nice guys and just removed it.

    But to be so dismissive and then threaten lawyers... I'm appalled.

    I would love to hear what your lawyer has to say about this email - I've presented the facts exactly as they happened to us. We're not "bad guys", we were just trying to defend our website and warn others about something that was happening us, and many other, forums.

    Can you confirm that your company, or companies working on your behalf, did not spam our forum?

    And if they did not, who would spam our forum and attach your URL?

    Regards

    Neil



    It is galling that rather than communicate in a grown up way (and either apologise, or deny they had anything to do with the spam), they just threaten us/hencam with lawyers...

    Should I just remove the post?
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeDec 1st, 2011 7:04pm (Dec 1st 2011)
     
    Yes; they're evidently not employing the sharpest crayons in the box as evinced by the standard of grammar/spelling in the first emu. I personally would not be concerned by a firm with such low standards. Just remove their idiotic posts and ignore them.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeDec 1st, 2011 11:51pm (Dec 1st 2011)
     
    I think they are trying to scare you into removing the post by threatening lawyers so that they can continue to spam forums and get free publicity for themselves at the expense of innocent folk who are just trying to have a chat with other on-line friends and get help and support when needed. I assume you haven't had a letter/emu from any solicitors? Initially I thought it was an American company, but judging by the posts its looks more like English is a 2nd (or 3rd) language for them.

    My son recently received a letter saying he had been 'tracked down' to our address and the account details amended, but they wouldn't give details of the account in that letter for 'data protection reasons', and then gave a number to call, saying if the 'debt' wasn't paid bailiffs would be sent. A quick google discovered they are a company that scare people into handing over money for what are apparently fake debts (my son doesn't owe any money) but people are afraid and by the time they realise it's not real it's too late. I suspect this is similar - the mention of a solicitor makes us fearful so that we back down.

    It's up to you if you remove the post, but isn't what they did against internet provider rules? Surely whoever hosts them wouldn't be happy about their tactics? (I don't know all the right phrases, but I'm sure you know what I'm getting at). If lawyers are involved then I'm sure we can all sent them an e-mail saying how distressing and intrusive their posts were. You've got to do what you think is best and we're all behind you.
    • CommentAuthorLynnW
    • CommentTimeDec 2nd, 2011 3:49am (Dec 2nd 2011)
     
    I wouldn't remove your post about their Spamming the forum, Neil. This is YOUR forum..not hers..her letter to you is appalling! Threaten you with lawyers, for not letting them dump SPAM on here?
    I hope they have to go "Dumpster Diving" to find their ratings on the search engines!:cursing:
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeDec 2nd, 2011 11:58am (Dec 2nd 2011)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    moved from the other thread...
    • CommentAuthorTrevs Mum
    • CommentTimeDec 8th, 2011 9:46pm (Dec 8th 2011)
     
    Well said neil on all points. Just time costly and a big nuisance, how rude these spammers are. Thank you for continuing to provide a wonderful spam free site/forum.