Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Scammer Alert!

Blogging can be such a thankless task. Most of us do it because we think we have something of value to offer, or because we like to contribute in some way to the body of knowledge and information that multiplies at an exponential rate across the Internet.

Some bloggers, myself included, try to reap some small monetary reward for the hours of writing, researching, photo editing, and everything else that goes into maintaining a blog. We do this by running Google and Amazon ads on our sites, but the vast majority of bloggers, again, myself included, make no income worth talking about via these ads.

Still, we live in hope that one day, we will begin to earn something worth boasting about. So when someone sends you an email enquiring about the possibility of buying ad space on your blog, your heart tends to leap in anticipation of the riches that might be waiting.

Well, folks, a couple of days ago I got one of those emails, and this post recounts the sorry tale as a warning to other bloggers and webmasters. Here is the complete text of the first message I got from a Maxence Leclerc:

To: Webmaster
From: Maxence Leclerc
Message: Hi,
We are looking for new advertisement platforms and we are interested in your site Is it possible to place banner on your site on a fee basis?
Best regards, Maxence Leclerc

On replying to M Leclerc that it was definately possible to place a banner ad on my site, I recieved this reply:

Thanks for reply to our proposal!
I represent Nami 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: 160x600, 240x400, 300x250, 336x280, 468x60, 728x90.
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,
Maxence Leclerc. site: e-mail: phone: + (0)9 78 62 68 47

Well, as the saying goes, "There's one born every minute," and for about four or five days I was that person.

It now turns out that M Leclerc has been very active spamming blogs and websites at random across the internet in an effort to scam as many people as possible. The gist of the scam seems to be that once he has agreed to your price (and he always agrees), you have to install a piece of code on your blog or website which displays the agreed to advertisement.

I have not been able to find out yet what this code does to computers, blogs, or websites. It may be that the scam simply involves the blogger/webmaster installing Leclerc's ad code across their website, which results in Leclerc getting all the income that may result from visitors clicking on his ad and completing a purchase. In effect, Leclerc is piggy-backing his ads onto other peoples websites. We do all the work, but he reaps the rewards.


For him.

But it is a bitter pill for us, the webmasters and bloggers.

As someone who has been online in one form or another for at least 15 years, I thought I was too smart to get caught out by scammers, but the prospect of turning my blog into some sort of money earner clouded my judgement, and I too *almost* got sucked in by M. Leclerc.

I say almost, because right now I am waiting for him to get back to me about a 'quote' for an ad placement on my website. I did check out the Nami Agency site, but did not think to Google his name, otherwise I would have saved myself a lot of trouble and dashed hopes.

Today, I did Google the name "Maxence Leclerc" and was led to this page: where I read more about the scam.

The Google search reveals more than one person going under the name 'Maxence Leclerc', and of course this scammer may or may not be one of the listed people. In fact, it is almost certain that none of the people so named are the perpetrators of this scam. I further Google search reveals that this attempted rip off has also been carried out under the names of 'Martin Dumont', 'Gabriel Petit', and 'Evan Hubert'.

Anyway, I just thought I should write about this scam today. If you are a fellow blogger or webmaster - be warned. M Leclerc is on the prowl sowing the seeds for his scam even as you read this.

Have a safe, scam free new year.

1 comment:

  1. What I think that "Banner ad" is the best way of advertisement. Its quite inexpensive and easy to put yourself in the front of others...thank you for sharing such wonderful post. I enjoyed it till the last.


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