I don’t often “out” scams in the way I’m going to out this one but I think it’s important to do, and I’ve also seen them written about in other places so mine isn’t the first. But it’s not everywhere and I think people need to see this and hopefully learn, if nothing else, to trust their instincts.

Here’s the first email I received:

Hi,

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

Best regards,
Valentin Lopez

The response I sent told him what my advertising policy was on this site; I’d rather not put it out here, but knowing this is my most popular site, let alone blog, you can bet it’s not necessarily low. The responsoe I got after that was this one:

Hello,

Thanks for reply to our proposal!

I represent Gera 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,
Valentin Lopez.
site:www.geraagency.com
e-mail:vlopez@geraagency.com
phone: + (0)9 78 62 85 38

Now, I started having the Spidey senses once I received this, though I wasn’t sure why. In my response about advertising here, I indicated the type of banner advertising I’d allow on this site. What’s above seemed to ignore what I’d already written. Also, see what the products are? I wondered why this blog would be considered for advertising those types of products, although my feeling was if someone wanted to pay the kind of money I was asking for and it wasn’t something abhorrent why not accept it. I was also thrown off with the comment about javascript code; I have advertising already on one of my other sites and this was a first for me. I had no idea what this guy could be talking about.

My response, with prices omitted, was thus:

Greetings,

The only two banner sizes I’d allow on the site would be the 240×400 and the 300×250; all the others would throw off the look drastically. I’d charge $XXX a month for that or a flat fee of $XXX for the year. It would be a normal link as I don’t even know how to create javascript.

Just to add this, I have another site that might interest you, and the advertising rates are lower. Take a look at this site: http://www.servicesandstuff.com. There are multiple pages on this site and some of them might suit your clients product. Even though the advertising rates are lower, the rate for advertising is per page. However, this site would allow for the banner ad sizes 468×60 and 728×90 in addition to the other two I allow on I’m Just Sharing. The large skyscraper ad wouldn’t work on that site, and the 336×80 banner ad would have to be altered to fit, so that probably wouldn’t look good either.

This was his reply to that:

We like your price.
To pass to the banner control system follow the link http://webmaster.geraagency.com
To enter use the following data:

login: www.imjustsharing.com
password: XXXXXX (changed this)

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://www.imjustsharing.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.geraagency.com/wp_install
To activate your site you have to enter the code: XXX-XXX-XXX (changed this)

What way of payment is suitable for you?

Best regards,
Valentin Lopez.
site: www.geraagency.com
e-mail: vlopez@geraagency.com
phone: + (0)9 78 62 85 38

Whoa! Now the Spidey senses were kicking me in the behind! I’d really never heard of anything like this, and it didn’t make sense. Notice the part I highlighted in his response; create a redirect of a banner from my site? Was he serious? Plugin? I don’t think so.

It was at this point I finally decided some research was in order; I probably should have started with this. I looked up the site and it’s totally in French. Then I looked up Lacoste Company; even if I’ve never heard of them this is a pretty big site, and a major designer. Why would they want to advertise on my blog since I’ve never talked about fashion (doesn’t mean I won’t lol)?

Then it was time to research Gera Agency, and that’s where the red flags were confirmed. There was this link from a company in Malaysia that asked the same questions I was asking. There was this link from a site called Moonpixel where the guy posted the same exact letter as mine, only it looks like he actually tried to load whatever the site was offering. Finally there was this post on another blog called vinitneo with the same exact letter posted again. There are lots of others, but you get the point by now.

Folks, if anyone ever wants to advertise on your blog and they’re legitimate they’ll do one of two things. One, they’ll send you a banner file with the link they’d like you to use, or two, they’ll just send you the link and have you put it somewhere most probably in a specific blog post. Unless it’s an affiliate company, never, and I mean NEVER, download code from any site and allow it to add a redirect. You will regret it and might not get your site back.

Spidey senses to the rescue again! 🙂
 

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