I’ve been running various websites online now for, well, forever really. I think it goes back to 1998 somewhere, my memory fails me. The point is that I’m fairly web savvy and I know when a website looks suspect.

Due to running so many websites I’ve also had numerous emails over the years from affiliate networks, potential sponsors and various companies who have wanted me to sign up or advertise their products.

Many of which are genuine affiliate networks, many of which are not.

Again, I feel I’m pretty good at telling which are the genuine ones, and which are the spam emails destined for the deleted items folder. Yesterday however I had one email that I just couldn’t bring myself to delete, so blasé was it about its ‘free’ service to me.

Have a read of this:

From: Weng Lopez
Subject: Re: CSA Hell: Re: your site, www.csahell.com


I just want you to know that your site meets our criteria and we would like to sponsor it. The membership is free but only the top-notch sites are allowed.

What’s in it for you:

– Placement in an exclusive “Best of Content-Oriented Web sites” directory.
– Free content for your site, written around your topics by our in-house writers.
– Promotion of your site across our networks of 2,000+ of blogs.
– Marketing tools developed exclusively for our members to help you drive more traffic.
– Expert advice on search engine optimization (SEO), content development, monetization, conversions, etc. to make the most of what you’ve got.
– Participation in our community support forums.
– …and more.

Note that none of these benefits are available to non-members, it is an invitation-only community for webmasters. So, if any of the above appeals to you and if you’d like an invitation, please let me know. I will send you more details.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Best regards,

Weng Lopez

I so nearly deleted it… but instead felt a compelling urge to reply, especially after I had a quick look at their website and saw what a dodgy Facebook knockoff it was.

Here is what I wrote:

So, if I understand this correctly – you want to place content on my site, with links to your sponsors, without paying me for it and have advertised this as being a free service to me?

I can see what you get out of it – websites willing to post your content promoting your sponsors, but I don’t seem to get anything out of it all. Your website seems to be using the same design as Facebook (I’m sure that’s a coincidence) and has no PR, meaning it’s fairly new or has been penalised.

In addition, should I place your content on my website I would be penalised by Google for duplicate content AND for selling links, even though I wouldn’t actually have received any money for them.

Perhaps I’ve missed something? Do let me know if I have.


I doubt I’ll get a reply back – but seriously, if anyone gets an email from these jokers, the ‘free’ membership that allows you to promote their clients without any charge to yourself isn’t the best deal you’ll find online.

Darren Jamieson

Darren Jamieson, aka MrDaz, is the Technical Director and co-founder of Engage Web and has been working online in a career spanning two decades. His first website was built in 1998 and is still live today.

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