Marketing Email Scams

Nigerian princes may be going out of business, but the number of email swindles that target the marketing industry continue to grow. The reasons they appeal to our industry come from a variety of pressures: short deadlines, unreasonable result demands from clients, budget constraints, and general laziness. Here is a list of marketing email scams that our industry receives on a daily basis. If you know of one that isn’t mentioned, add it in the comments section.

Chinese domain

This one is common and especially targets white collar businesses that are likely to care about their international and/or professional reputation. The irony of this scam is that it is based in a real threat: intellectual property theft in China.

If you own a domain and your contact details are public via the registrar, you can be targeted for this scam. You will receive an email that says the Chinese version of your domain is being claimed by a Chinese company and you have the option to block their claim. Of course, it comes at a cost. Fail to block their domain registration and they will charge you a huge fee to get it back…so act now!

Complete fraud. Unless you are selling your products or services in China, you don’t need the “Chinese version” of your domain.

Google 1st page

“We are an American company that can get you on the first page of Google!” Sound familiar? You’re not alone. The drive to rank on Google is feverish. Business owners have finally begun to understood the revenue benefits of showing up on the coveted first page in a search result.

Thousands of companies spread across the globe know this too. They are almost never an “American company”. They send millions of marketing email scams a day from millions of different email addresses with various versions of the same promise: getting you ranked on Page 1 for an inexpensive fee.

The vast majority of these claims are bogus. You pay them – they run away. You never hear from them again. In other cases, they may actually deliver some version of search engine optimization but it will utilize “black hat” techniques that actually risks your site being completely blocked by Google or moved beyond page 100 of search results.

This is one of the more lucrative email scams because while many businesses may not care about a Chinese domain, they all care about Google.


Along the same line as the Google ranking scheme is the promise of “high quality backlinks” for your website. This gets marketers excited because backlinks are a top ranking factor for Google. For those unfamiliar with the term, a “backlink” is a link from someone else’s website to yours. Search engines place a value on these links because it indicates that someone else finds your content valuable enough to share it.

Google began to seriously address the root of these marketing scams back in 2012 with their Penguin update. Google will quickly and harshly punish a website it detects is using a non-organic link building scheme such as blog farms, paid link tricks, or spammy content.

If you pay a firm to do this, it is almost certain that your website will be punished and every dollar you spent will be wasted.

Website and app design

Plenty of sage-like wisdom applies here:

“You get what you pay for.”
“If you think it is expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”

Your website is arguably the most valuable marketing tool you can possess because it is entirely under your control. Google can delist you, Facebook can delete you, and the media can jack up their prices. But your website is yours to do with as you wish.

Similarly, many companies want to become apps. They know people use apps so they think they should have one -or better yet- be one!

A fairly obvious spam email will come to you or be submitted through your website “Contact Us” page. They will promise incredibly low fees to pay for a full team of IT, SEO, and design specialists. What a deal!

The odds of you getting a good website or any result at all are slim to none. Your money is paying for someone’s apartment in another country.

Invoices, Payments, Wire transfers, Faxes

These marketing email scams all fall under a more insidious category of theft and security risks. The email may seem to come from a legitimate source such as IBM or Vonage or Microsoft Outlook. They look like an official notice of an overdue invoice, pending payment to your business, a halted wire transfer, or an innocent fax.

The problem comes when you click the link that is included in the email. That link will take you to an imposter website. It will ask you to “confirm” a variety of details including your email password. Now they have control. Alternatively, you may be prompted to pay the “outstanding balance” to a company with which you have never done business. With a simple wire transfer or actually providing your bank account details, your money is gone. Your account may even be compromised.

Boost your followers/engagement

And finally, we come to the social media scam of increasing your follower count. Let us be clear now that you should not focus your attention on the size of your audience. We routinely warn our clients about the dangers of building a “Useless Army” of followers that don’t actually care about your content, much less engage with it.

All major social networks have policies and procedures in place to deal with such junk. They delete millions of fake and spammy accounts every year while their machine learning and AI-powered algorithms identify and block millions of suspect comments, likes, shares, and even posts.

The email you receive may talk about getting “real people” to follow your Instagram account or “organic engagement” on Twitter. This is a lie. If they can promise it and predict results, the operation has to be automated. This violates the Terms of Service of every major social network and risks your account being suspended or deleted.

Quality Content Should Be Your Priority

Avoid the marketing email scams. If you want to achieve meaningful SEO or social media results, focus on creating quality content that will be of interest and use to your audience. Meet the needs of your intended customers and you will find rewards on Google, Facebook, and your bottom line.

If you would like information on how Arkside can help you achieve a 295% organic reach on social media or how to rank the same page on Page 1 of Google TWICE, then call us at 951.579.4121. We can show you how and why quality content is the smartest path to higher revenue and greater marketing ROI.

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