Many website owners have seen a rather ominous e-mail floating by their e-mail boxes lately. An e-mail from a person at a UK based company More Digital (moredigital.com). It seems like a rather random e-mail, especially when it's unsolicited!
A quick search on the internet will pop up many other's who are thinking the same thing … Are these people a scam or not? Sadly that question cannot be answered as of yet. So far they seem very legit. Or do they?
Edit (Sept 28th, 2010): Just heard back from them. In the original e-mail I told them that sure, we will allow text ad links on our site(s) assuming they agree to our conditions (detailed below in the original article). They finally replied, saying that everything was ok on terms, except they had no clients meeting our criteria. We have niche specific websites so their original niches of “Health/Gaming” (and a few others which I don't remember) really didn't fit. So they asked if they could “keep our site on record” to be contacted later. So we'll see how that goes. To be continued!
Edit 2 (October 1st, 2010): So here is some updated information about More Digital:
They have a very bad WOT (web of trust) rating: http://www.mywot.com/en/scorecard/moredigital.com … It's all in the red (ie: bad). That really doesn't help their case. Also, as one of the readers pointed out whoever you are talking to from More Digital may not even exist. For example, the commenter was talking with “Alex” though they aren't listed at all on the contact page for the company: http://www.moredigital.com/staff
Now, does that prove anything? NO! Most companies in the world will NOT publish a full roster for very good reasons (privacy, security ….). So ‘Alex' might just be a freelance e-mail sales person, a independent contractor or just someone hired from a freelance site (or off the street). So, it's possible they aren't listed people USUALLY only the executive C-class employees are listed.
But you'd think a sales person might be? Who knows.
Huge Edit 3 (October 13th, 210): So, I got an e-mail directly from More Digital about this article and it's response. Check out what they said and let me know what you think! http://piotrkrzyzek.com/more-digital-scam-or-not-huge-update-a-direct-response/
But the import thing here to note (from the readers comments), is that the link was up on their site FOR A WEEK! and they still haven't been paid. Then More Digital asked to put up more links and never even paid the reader. Now that is complete B.S. and scammy action.
BE WARNED. You might not get paid by More Digital. So far no one came forward with saying that they were paid. Only time will tell!
Edit 4 (January 5th, 2011): I have some updated information about who gets paid and who doesn't. Click here to read my article about payments from More Digital.
Let's take a look at the original e-mail. It is a template e-mail which they mass send out to people:
From: <FIRST LAST> <<FIRST>@moredigital.com>Date: <date be here>To: <FIRSTNAME> <you @ yourwbsite adress>Subject: Enquiry regarding <YOURSITE<.com
I work for More Digital; a UK based Digital Marketing Consultancy.
We represent clients interested in social media marketing on smaller sites with little or no existing advertising and we're currently looking for advertising partners.
We pay a fixed upfront annual fee which we will agree on with you. Once the ad is in place, payment is made within approximately 48 hours.
Would you be interested in placing a small text-based ad on Chykalophia.com?
This e-mail message is strictly confidential. It is intended solely for the person or organisation to whom it is addressed and contains confidential or privileged information. If you have received it in error, please notify firstname.lastname@example.org immediately and destroy this e-mail and any attachments. You must not disclose, copy, distribute or take any action in reliance on this e-mail or any attachments. Views or opinions presented in this e-mail are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of More Digital.
More Digital does not accept liability for any data corruption, interception, unauthorised amendment, viruses and delays or the consequences thereof relating to this or any other email. Any e-mail or attachment is opened at your own risk.
To help protect you, this email (ID-<10 DIGIT NUMBER>) was scanned for viruses by Norton AntiVirus.
E-mails like this always put me off a bit honestly. I'm not one to take lightly to unsolicited solicitations. Life has also taught me to take everything with a grain of salt … and then some!
So I researched and checked out their site and it seems rather legit. So I thought, ok. Let's e-mail them back and let's see what they say.
There are a few things I made 100% clear to them though. These are things that you should also do inorder to protect yourself.
Why protect yourself?
Simple, you protect yourself legally and you won't get the Google Slap.
What More Digital is offering is a paid link. Paid links are not allowed under Google. BUT there are ways for it to be ok with Google as per their article here:
- Adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute to the < a > tag
- Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file
So just make any link they give you a no-follow link and you'll be ok!
What to tell them to make sure you are protected:
One of the first things you should tell them is that you will have to approve any links first. Also that they will be no-follow links. Here's a list of what you should probably tell them (in these words or preferably in your own words):
- The links will be no-follow links
- You will have the option to approve links before they go live (ie: you can check out the websites you'll be linking to)
- You will set the time frame or amount the links are seen
- They offer one set price for one year. Turn this down. Say them instead something like: monthly payments for unlimited views
- Price per estimated clicks
- Price per views of page with the anchor text on it
- Add option to remove links if the linked-to website ever becomes a ‘bad' site. Ie, if that site ever becomes a spam/maleware site/illegal content you have the right to remove the link with no recourse on their part.
- If you have a higher traffic site, obviously ask for more money than what they offer. They offered $100 USD for links on our sites. Umm .. yeah, too low for the traffic we get. But the price really is up to you.
- Optional suggestion: tell them the price is PER different website link. Ie, if they want to link to ABC.com and DEF.com then it would be $200 not $100… for example.
- Ask for which niche's the sites are in that they want to link to from your site.
Stuff along those lines. I'd copy the e-mail I sent to them here for you guys and gals, but we (More Media and my clients) are currently in talks so it might ruin things if I do. Sorry! But once things are ok or once they fall apart I'll post it here.
So what did they reply with? Well, they said things like this:
- “More Digital only work with contextual, natural adverts”
- Their writers will write the ad for you to “match” and “blend in” to your site.
- If you're not happy with the anchor text, you can suggest a different one.
- The ad will just be an text link somewhere on one page
- You will be paid via Paypal or Moneybookers
- You'll get your money 3-4 business days after the link is put up.
So, lets take a look at the company More digital.
They are up on Web Of Trust: http://www.mywot.com/en/scorecard/moredigital.com
They got a lot of complaints of spam … presumably from the mass e-mails they sent out. It doesn't look too good from Site Advisor either: http://www.siteadvisor.cn/sites/moredigital.com/msgpage
There is a small disccusion on this forum about it: http://www.acorndomains.co.uk/domain-name-scams/69141-real-deal.html
The people there haven't decided if it's a good deal or not yet. My recommendation would be exactly like what one of the thread replies said: Just go for it. You've got nothing to loose. Just make sure to protect yourself from the Google Slap and other things.
Always use a CYA letter … a Cover Your Ass letter which let's you pull out of anything goes bad (see above).
So what did we do?
We are currently going forward with it. We'll see if they pay up and agree to our terms. I'm not going to go forward with something if I'm not protected legally.
Ultimately the choice is yours.
Have any of you gotten such a e-mail? What do you guys do or respond with? Let us know in the comments!