5 Online Marketing Scams You Need To Be Aware Of

  • Online Marketing Scams

I know, I know. “Where the hell have you been, Al”, is what you’re probably thinking. Well, I had some other priorities to attend to, let’s just leave it at that. But hey, look, a new article!

So, some of you may be aware that I’m a moderator on the online marketing forum known as Black Hat World. Due to my position there, I often find myself cleaning scammers off the forum in order to protect the community. This has provided me with some insight on what new tactics scammers are using and believe me, as stupid as some of these scammers may seem, they do evolve their tactics over time.

5 Online Marketing Scams You Need To Be Aware Of

1. “Giveaway” Scams

So you’re browsing the freebies section of your favourite online marketing forum, when all of the sudden you see a keyword review giveaway that piques your interest. “All I have to do is send this SEO professional my keywords and he’ll review it”, you exclaim.  So you send this dude your keywords, you get some shoddy POS report, and you go about your merry way thinking you just hit the lotto. Then a couple of months later, you find that you’ve been kicked from the 1st page to 3rd page by some hastily made websites ranking with PBNs. Coincidence? Nah, you just got robbed of your keywords.

Giveaway-based online marketing scams come in many shapes and forms. There was one I saw last month where this loser on Fiverr was hosting a “free backlinks” giveaway. However, there was a catch: in order to get your free backlinks, you had to leave this guy a review on his Fiverr gig first. Of course, the dumb and desperate left him a fake review and, as you may have already guessed, they never saw a single backlink!

My advice to you is to stay away from giveaways, even if they’re offered by someone who seems reputable. If you absolutely must enter a giveaway, you should always question why the host is offering their freebie. Sometimes it’s to promote their services and these giveaways are usually all right if you don’t mind them spamming you inbox every day about their service (psst, give them a disposable email address). If the host doesn’t have a real service though, avoid the giveaway at all costs.

2. The Overnight Guru Scam

This is nothing new, but it’s become much more frequent in the last month. Basically, some guy will join an online marketing forum and in the same day he’ll open up a thread talking about how he made an absurd amount of money doing (insert method here). The last 3 guys I investigated all had different motives

  1. The first guy was “noob-baiting”, which is when someone intentionally posts content that appeals to broke people who are new to the industry. He was trying to build up a following on social media.
  2. The second guy was a Macedonian kid; he was really into the political niche, more specifically fake news in favour of Donald Trump. Based on the info I found on his Facebook page and his domain registrations, his parents who are also active in the political niche funded all of his projects (mommy even bought the domain!). Also, his dad is a convicted paedophile who filmed himself “Engaging in inappropriate acts with a minor”. Anyway, he used his parent’s wealth and quite possibly their guidance to build a series of sites blah blah fake news and you know the rest. His motive was to show off his expertise and sell some of the websites for several thousand dollars.
  3. The third guy was posting guides in order to lure people to his blog, which is where he offered exorbitantly-priced services.

There was one case a while back where this guy named Adrian ripped off methods and claimed them as his own. One of the most notable examples was the “Porn Reupload” method, which you can see in the links below.

3. Begging Scams

A scam as old as TIME ITSELF! The “I’m in need, please help” scam that reels in the dumb and altruistic. I shouldn’t need to explain this one, but whenever I see someone claiming that they need help on the Internet, I immediately assume one of three things

  1. They’re lazy and trying to scam me.
  2. They’re stupid and trying to scam me.
  3. All of the above.

Now, I admit, hunting and cleaning scammers all day has left me as pessimistic as they come. I’m aware that some people really are in unfortunate situations, but the time and effort spent trying to figure out if they’re telling the truth just isn’t worth it.

4. The Escrow Service Offered By “A Friend” Scam

This is one of those online marketing scams that has been much more common lately compared to last year. Basically, here’s what these scammers are doing (based on a current situation I’m helping someone deal with):

  1. Someone will contact you to offer their services.
  2. If you agree to work with them, they’ll recommend the escrow services of one of their friends.
  3. The escrow service friend will receive your payment and both of them will run off with your money.

Now, here’s the interesting part: if you try to refuse to do the escrow, some of these guys will go absolutely BERSERK! They’ll gather any information you sent them and use it against you to spin stories to ruin your reputation. I’m assuming they do this to build up a reputation as a victim, though the amount of effort they put into this is amazing.

5. SEO Services Offered Over Solely Over Skype

I must warn you that I hate Skype with a passion. It seems like the only people on Skype for business are spammers and scammers.

One of the problems I have with Skype is the sheer number of Skype-based businesses I see. Chances are if you search for their IDs in Google, you’ll find a cornucopia of banned profiles and spam accounts they use to get business. I’ve dealt with thousands of these spammers (Yeah, that’s not an exaggeration either) and out of all of those people, I’ve only seen about 4 “businesses” that offered legitimate services (they just happened to be spammers, but other than that, they apparently did business honestly). The rest of them? I found nothing but complaints across numerous forums.