I'm also an expert on artificial flowers, oneiromancy and marmosets

From this morning's mail:

To: "dan@dansdata.com"
Subject: Your Gambling Site
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 2009 12:27:36 -0700
From: Mark Jubenville <mark.jubenville@neverfold.net>

Recently I visited your website http://www.dansdata.com; while visiting your site I noticed that you link to http://www.quatloos.com at this address: http://www.dansdata.com/danletters036.htm. As we are closely related to them, I would love to exchange links with your website, currently there are about 5,000 - 7,000 people per day that goto my site and search for information, Therefore I would to link to an excellent site like yours.

I have taken the liberty of adding your site to my home page: http://www.neverfold.net?pg=Mz9ah. To determine if it is of any benefit to you, if you have a stats program you can check it and let me know. By looking at my stats, it looks like today I have sent you 37 visitors but it may change by the time you receive this email.

Some website owners do not like when other sites link to them so I thought I might ask first. I think the information on your website could be useful to my visitors; and maybe you could receive some extra relevant traffic if you want. Please get back to me when you have a chance to let me know if its ok to link to your website like this.

Have a good week,
Mark Jubenville
email: mark.jubenville@neverfold.net
website: http://www.neverfold.net
Ref: Mz9ah

This email was sent to dan@dansdata.com, by mark.jubenville@neverfold.net
| 234, 5149 Country Hills Blvd N.W Suite # 306 | Calgary | Alberta | Canada

At first glance, this just looks like yet another schmuck who's letting Acme AutoLinkSpam 2000 send e-mails for him, without bothering to actually look at what it's saying on his behalf. Had Mr Jubenville (that is, just possibly, not his real name...) done so, he would have been able to see that my site, and Quatloos for that matter, have nothing whatsoever to do with his site, neverfold.net, which seems to be a discussion forum for poker players.

The hypothesis that he's a bit new to this game is supported by the fact that there is indeed currently a link to dansdata.com on the neverfold.net home page; it's above three links to sites that actually have something to do with poker. So this certainly doesn't look like the usual link spammer, with a huge site whose countless pages contain nothing but endless unrelated links and Google ads.

But perhaps Mr Jubenville wants us to read between the lines, here. A link-spam that's this random can't just happen by accident!

I mean, lots of link spammers have found the word "chicken" on my site and thus decided that my whole site must be relevant to the page on their link-farm about aeronautical bird-strike. The word "poker" appears on two of dansdata.com's more-than-a-thousand pages, as I write this, so there's nothing out of the ordinary there.

But the page that Mr Jubenville says piqued his interest was one of my numerous letters columns - it's the last letter on that page. That letter is about some nut who was selling purple aluminium that was supposed to have magical properties, which made him sound a bit like the Empower Modulator people. I linked to Quatloos because the guy selling the magic aluminium was connected to some other people with an interest in the proposed US "National Economic Stabilization and Recovery Act", which has been kicking around for rather a while now, and is a favourite of some scam artists. And Quatloos have a page about it.

(We haven't heard a lot from the NESARA scammers for a few years, but I bet they've gotten a considerable boost from the global financial crisis. The scam involves a "new Treasury Bank system, DEBT FORGIVENESS for all U.S. citizens, and abolishment of the IRS", which almost sounds plausible these days. I highly recommend Quatloos overall, by the way, especially if someone is trying to talk you into a sure-fire can't-lose money-making scheme having to do with legal loopholes which, to pick one common version, mean that nobody actually has to pay income tax.)

Clearly, nobody could really be stupid enough to think I have a "gambling site", and also think that Quatloos' page about the NESARA scammers is "closely related" to their site about poker.

Clearly, what Mr Jubenville is actually trying to tell me is that behind the apparently-valid message board, his site is actually some sort of great big scam!

Now, let's read every 13th letter of every post on those poker forums...

6 Responses to “I'm also an expert on artificial flowers, oneiromancy and marmosets”

  1. iworm Says:

    These folks interest me! No, not specifically the Poker-heads, but the whole link-spamming-farming thing. There's obviously money in it - they would not do it otherwise. So we have meaningless tangles of links generating dosh. It smacks of being a classic bubble thing - one day the whole thing must go pop. Or must it? That's the bit that piques my interest: is the whole link-farming thing doomed to one day collapse in on itself or is it actually a, however bizarre, sustainable business?

  2. tom2ndmate Says:

    Dan, it appears that an initial visit to the URL http://www.neverfold.net from a given source IP does NOT show the dansdata link. However, if you then visit the special URL in the email you received, http://www.neverfold.net?pg=Mz9ah, neverfold.net apparently does something fancy like caching the source IP address, and subsequent accesses from that source IP to neverfold.net via either URL DO show the dansdata link. So the scam may be that neverfold.net appears to link to dansdata when you check their site, but most visitors to neverfold.net using the regular URL never see the link to dansdata.

  3. Daniel Rutter Says:

    I thought that something like that might have been going on, but then thought "I've spent enough time on this already - if there's more to the story, some commenter'll figure it out". And so one did!

    I actually deliberately changed the pg=Mz9ah bit on the end of the URL to something else (just the "h" to a "g") the first time I visited, just to screw his system up - but it still worked :-). Neverfold.net also sets no fewer than six cookies whenever you visit, which may or may not have something to do with this.

    This puts Mr Jubenville pretty clearly in the "shameless, if incompetent, swindler" category, doesn't it? I wonder if all of the other sites that use the same come-on text are using the same system?

  4. corinoco Says:

    "one day the whole thing must go pop."

    No, it won't. We still have one of those hilariously antiquated 'fax' thingimies in the office, and we still get probably 5 pages of fax-spam per day.

  5. Mohonri Says:

    The difference between the link-farming and other scams is that they are heavily dependent on Google, and on the expectation that their current method of attracting traffic from google will always work. All it takes for the business model to collapse is a change in how Google collects and generates search results.

  6. davolfman Says:

    Sounds to me like a relatively simple system to attempt to drive up Google pagerank. It doesn't matter if you have any viewers who are interested in poker. The simple fact that you're a well known, content-generating, and well-linked website means he can leach pagerank off any link you give him. If he gets links from enough private websites with good pageranks it'll make a noticeable impact on his appearance in search results.

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