Update: This is part of a “WebSEO” fake freebie network powered by another freebie site that has Russian ties. More info here.
This Paradosiaka Greek olive oil soap is made with quality Greek olive oil and tears. Why tears? Because this is fake as can be. And I’ve discovered how it’s connected with all these other Russian Fake Freebies.
Here is the URL if you want to follow along, however I urge you not to share your information with this website: http://greek-olive.com/free-sample-greek-soap/ and here is the olive oil link: http://greek-olive.com/free-sample/
Let’s dig into why this is likely to be a fake
- I contacted them in June asking for a tasting and I never got a response. Why offer samples if you don’t want real business after someone tries your stuff? They also claim they have a store under construction which is a new development, but I doubt we’ll see a functional store. If there is a functional store in the future that collected money without sending product, that would be a pretty serious law to break in any country.
- The format of the freebie submission form is similar to previous fakes. It looks like they caught on (or they are reading these fake alerts) and stopped using European time formatting. However, in the soap freebie they still use the European format for the weight of the soap, clearly not a US based author.
- There are advertisements on the web page. Any page with advertising like this isn’t looking to get you to sample first and buy later. It’s mean to make money off you immediately and forget you immediately until the next person clicks on their fake sample page. This Greek Olive oil site doesn’t have the same advertising ID’s found from previous Russian fake freebies. However, I did find a connection to tie all these sites together today.
- Beyond the advertising IDs tying them together, they all seem to have a single user named “WebSEO” on them. Here is the link: http://greek-olive.com/author/webseo/ and for another fake site part of this network: http://firenspice.com/author/webseo/ – now that is pretty interesting. For anyone who doesn’t know “SEO” is short for search engine optimization. It is basically the practice of making a website show in a better spot when you search “greek olive oil” in Google for example. There are only 10 places to show up and if you show up at the 1st spot, you get a lot of people to show up. The discovery of these accounts brings up more questions than answers. It could be another free sample site doing “SEO” or it could be a rogue SEO company trying to turn old client websites into something more profitable. What is clear though, is these pages are garbage and used only for marketing purposes to boost other websites up now or in the future. There is no possible way this is anything than just a scammy marketing tactic that worked in 2007 but it’s 2018 today.
- There are at least 4 companies with “WebSEO” in their incorporated name. I can’t know for sure unless one of these companies confirms they own all these websites or work with them (if anyone of them are reading this please let me know). There is no way to know, but having the only account on these scam sites named “webseo” is pretty telling and I’d wager to say that whomever it is, none of them would admit to it because it’s a pretty scummy move to fraudulently offer free product for your clients benefit. Anyways here are the possible companies tied to this network of fake freebies:
- WebSEO.com aka WebCEO: https://www.webseo.com/ – I think this one is less likely, but their software could be used by whoever is publishing these fake freebie websites.
- WebSEO Services India: http://www.webseoservices.in/ – this one has potential to be one. They also use WordPress.
- WebSEO Company India: http://www.webseocompanyindia.com/free-seo-quote-online – might be it too, also WordPress.
- WebCEO South Africa: https://webseo.co.za/ – This one I am betting is the culprit because I also found this page from an author with the name “webseo” here: http://www.biz-genie.com/author/webseo/ – however, they show real team members faces and seem the most legitimate in terms of web design as well. Or maybe it is them and they are just really clever at getting “results” for their clients.
- Web archive history and WHOIS look normal, nothing out of ordinary or dates that line up. They used private registration so you can’t see who has it. The site appears to be clear of any viruses or malware.
I am confident to say this is just a short term profit scheme and I am also confident that this freebie will never, ever come. If you signed up for this one, worst case is you’ll get some spam mail, spam email and perhaps some sketchy links from fake PayPal/Amazon/other websites. Don’t trust links that ask for your password or any personal information, ever. Thank you for reading my fake freebie rant.
-John ‘Samples’ Clark