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Warning to Vietnamese SEO agencies and freelancers! Don’t get scammed or become an accomplice to fraud

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Beware of this scam targeting Vietnam-based online marketing agencies and also Vietnamese freelancers that work on Google Adwords and Facebook marketing.

After seeing the elaborate scam set-up which was tried to play on us, we thought we should share this and hopefully avoid having Vietnamese online marketing agencies taking part in this scam without knowing its dangers for them and for the clients that they will help to trick into buying these products (cosmetics).

What appears as a very lucrative PPC (pay-per-click) campaign is offered via email to a Vietnamese online marketing agency. The sender of the email states that they are ready to spend a considerable amount per day (1.000 USD) and that they will pay 5% commission for the Vietnamese pay-per-click agency that is managing the account.

Lidango.com, a legitimate online marketing business with a bunch of ill-reputed clients?

After researching on the web, you will find that many affiliate marketers are working with Lidango so it does seem that it operates normally, they are having some payment and other issues with some marketers but many others seem happy to be part of their network. So, we cannot conclude on malpractice on the affiliate side but for sure, the products we were asked to promote through an Adwords and Facebook campaign, really give out red flags as being scams. So, do you want to work and earn easy money as a marketer while the sales you generate are leading to disappointed people loosing money? We hope not!

Here is a part of the introduction email, received from Lidango.com:

************begin quote ******************

“Our company is London-based and we have exclusive offers in beauty and cosmetics which we advertise in more than 35 countries at the moment. Our advertising campaigns are performance-based and we are interested in AdWords and Facebook.

I see that you have expertise in the Vietnamese market. We are interested in the options you could offer us. We would like to try a test campaign with you and if the results are good for us we would be happy to work actively with you. We are ready to spend up to $1000/day or more for advertising.

Best regards,
Vladislav”

****************** end quote ********************

This email is sent from an address in the domain @lidango.com, after visiting their website, it looks like a legitimate and honest business so you will probably want to know more about their request.

lidango.com advertising agency for scammers

lidango.com advertising agency for scammers?

 

When you reply to find out more about the campaign and the requirements of the potential client, this is what you receive in the next email:

************begin quote ******************

1) Below is a link for a Facebook Mobile Newsfeed –

http://www.pureskinjournal.com/vn3yxfasn/track.php?placement_id=1400432124&flight_id=1000000295&banner_id=100152259&hcountry_id=VIETNAM&hcity_id=Hanoi

2) In our reports we need the following – clicksimpressionsCTRAverage CPCSpentConversionsWebsite clicks. A regular .csv or .xls report which is downloaded directly from FB system will do fine.  We need that info on a daily basis for each day. If it is a period of 15 days – 1 line for each day with clicks, impressions etc.

3) The fee we offer to all our partners is 5% from the spent advertising budget – e.g. if the spent advertising budget is $1000 your commission will be $50 (5% x $1000). Our campaigns are performance based and if the campaigns perform well we will increase our daily spending until it reaches around $1000/day.

4) Profile managing – you will create and manage the AdWords/Facebook accounts. You can give me access in Facebook to your Ads manager so I could check the reports myself or you could send them. This is up to you.

* about suitable partners – yes, this would be great

* we have our own metric systems where we track all activity (clicks, conversions, customer activity etc.)

* banner template – attached example 300×250 banner in Vietnamese

* about set of criteria for referral partner – please elaborate

* banners are mostly the same , usually only the text is translated –

* translation of banners and texts is not required; however, if you notice some kind of error/mistake in the text or you have a suggestion we are ready to listen and correct

Best regards,
Vladislav

****************** end quote ********************

Is this a legitimate project for your Vietnamese online marketing skills?

As you can see from that email, no real marketing skills are expected on your side in terms of redacting ad content, tracking and optimizing cost per click, etc. you are actually only an account (with your name on it in case of future legal issues).

Suspicious red flags you will find when doing your due-dilligene “background checks” on this potential client:

1) They say they are a London-based company:

Lidango UK

Liberty House 222 Regent StreetLondonW1B 5TR
Phone: +44 207 903 5433

When you call their number (always a good measure to call the company and ask for the same person you are receiving emails from), it is a third-party answering service (which could actually be anywhere in the world) that will take your message…we requested a call-back from the person we were dealing with and it never happened. Very suspicious!

2) When we set-up a skype meeting with the correspondant:

Vladislav

vladislav.xxxxxx@lidango.com

Skype: lidango61

It turns out that he is in Bulgaria (not London), even though he uses Skype, does not have a webcam available (so we can see his face) nor does he have a landline we can call him on (we pretended that the sound over skype was bad and wanted to call him on a landline). He called us back with an unidentified number.

==> red flag, red flag! Even though the person speaking is well-versed in answering suspicious questions and is very pleasant and professional sounding, do not fall for this!

3) When checking the material sent to us, we see some sneaky methods that are all implemented to trick the customers (end-user, not you):

We were sent this link http://www.pureskinjournal.com/vn3yxfasn/ as being the landing page of our Adwords Vietnam pay-per-click and Facebook advertisement campaign targeting Vietnamese clients. This page is supposed to give credibility to the product (looks like an article from a trusted newspaper, scientific virtues of the product are claimed)

Pureskin and Biolab scam targeting vietnamese online marketing agencies

Pureskin and Biolab scam targeting vietnamese online marketing agencies and Vietnamese public

If you click on any link from that landing page, you are taken to another website (using a sneaky redirect that is very very difficult to detect, even when using an seo redirectchecker):

Biolab cosmetics scam targeting Vietnamese consumers

Biolab cosmetics scam targeting Vietnamese consumers

Don’t be fooled by all the legitimate Vietnamese bank logos (Vietcombank, Agribank, Sacombank, Techcombank, etc.). Look up Pureskin and Biolab scams and you will see many reports on how this scam tricks people out of their money, all over the world (see below).

BioLab (also written Bio-Lab) and Pureskin, two names that come up much too frequently when looking up online marketing scams

A very quick search and you will see many posts from people claiming to have been scammed by these brands. The main tactic it to promise a 30-day free trial, you only need to send postal costs (a few dollars), to do this, you use your credit card….bingo, you’ve been scammed! You will be charged a huge amount immediately, before finishing the trial period and you will never get it back.

ppc and social media scam targeting vietnamese online marketing agencies

Federal Trade Commission complaint against Bio Lab

ppc and social media Pureskin scam targeting vietnamese online marketing agencies 2

Pureskin creams, not recommended..

So, should I work with Lidango and earn all that money? After all, if people buy the product, it is not my problem…

1) Lidango.com, though it is not the scammer itself (it is “only” the advertising agency for other companies selling a variety of products, mainly cosmetics, these are the ones that will scam the people who buy the products online in Vietnam), it is an active component of this international scheme, now targeting Vietnam. This is more of an ethical question from our point of view, however, looking at the larger picture, being an actor in these campaigns is not something we would consider doing, you’ll have to figure out if it is worth it for you.

2) If you do some research, you will see that many affiliate marketers or pay-per-click marketers are complaining about not being paid by Lidango once they reached the agreed payment threshold (very common problem with any affiliate scams, you work and then don’t get paid…). This is another risk you will run, not getting paid. However, as we pointed out above, it does seem that most affiliate marketers are happy with their partnership (they get paid and earn substantial amounts of affiliate revenues).

3) Even if you did get paid for managing their Google Adwords or Facebook mobile ads campaign, you would be participating actively in theses fraudulent campaigns that will make many victims among Vietnam internet users as they will think they are just paying postal expenses to receive a cosmetic product for a free 30-day trial but they will actually be billed much more than expected once they give out their credit card details.

4) As you will be requested to create your own Adwords account and Facebook account, this means that if any authority wants to investigate this fraud, they will come straight to you as the one owning and operating these accounts even though you have no access to the credit card payments and amounts stolen from the customers…you will have a difficult time proving your are innocent.

Earning 50 USD/day for managing a Google Adwords account is quite attractive for many Vietnamese SEO agencies, please consider that either you, the local seo agency, will be tricked (not receive payment for your work) or, much worse, innocent people will be tricked and loose money and you will be an accomplice as well as responsible for this fraud. Do your background checking every time and do not be blinded by the large fees you are expecting to earn.

Some examples of the material that you will receive to set-up the online marketing campaign (Adwords and Facebook pay-per-click)

Here is the kind of material we received.

Instructions:

*********** begin quote ********************

Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pure-Skin-Journal/1405948463033171

VN – Vietnam

Mobile Newsfeed

http://www.pureskinjournal.com/fbc.php?cnt=1027296

image – 4

Image 4, cosmetic scams pureskin and biolab

Image 4, cosmetic scams pureskin and biolab

Note: the photo above is of Gao Yuanyuan, scammers are using this beautiful Chinese actresses’s photo for a cosmetic campaign, obviously without her being part of this scam.

Chăm sóc làn da của bạn

Nếu bạn có phương pháp chăm sóc da hoàn hào này, bạn sẽ thấy kết quả tuyệt vời sau!

description:

Mặt trời, khói bụi, chất kích thích gây tổn thương da. Làm thế nào ngăn những tác nhân đó?

image – 40

Image 40, cosmetic scams pureskin and biolab

Image 40, cosmetic scams pureskin and biolab

Note: this photo has been taken from Shiseido’s Revital Vital-Perfection Anti-Aging Science Serum AAA Whitening campaign and is being used illegaly by scammers for their own banners and promoting their dubious products (Biolab and/or Puresking cosmetics).

Mẹo chăm sóc da của tuần

Làm thế nào để làm sạch và làm ẩm làn da với một thói quen dễ dàng và không có hại?

description:

Bạn mất tự tin tại tiệm mỹ phẩm? Hãy thư giãn, chăm sóc da chưa bao giờ được dễ dàng hơn.

Desktop Newsfeed

http://www.pureskinjournal.com/fbc.php?cnt=1027297

image – 4

Chăm sóc làn da của bạn

Nếu bạn có phương pháp chăm sóc da hoàn hào này, bạn sẽ thấy kết quả tuyệt vời sau!

description:

Mặt trời, khói bụi, chất kích thích gây tổn thương da. Làm thế nào ngăn những tác nhân đó?

image – 40

Mẹo chăm sóc da của tuần

Làm thế nào để làm sạch và làm ẩm làn da với một thói quen dễ dàng và không có hại?

description:

Bạn mất tự tin tại tiệm mỹ phẩm? Hãy thư giãn, chăm sóc da chưa bao giờ được dễ dàng hơn.

Targeting

– 1 country –  Vietnam

– women – according to link

– age – 30-45

– lifetime budget – 15.01- 17.01 – $450/ per link for the period

****************** end of quote ********************************

Another example of a banner:

Cosmetics ppc and social media scam targeting vietnamese online marketing agencies

Banner for Facebook advertising supplied by client

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17 Comments
  1. Same in Belgium for lidango and idvertmedia.

    See email below

    Van: Jack Wilson
    Onderwerp: Advertising with Google and Social media

    Bericht inhoud:
    Dear Sherlock.

    I need your advertising services.

    Looking at your website and Google partners profile I understand that you are advertising with Google and Social media.

    I am Online Marketing Manager from iDvert Media Ltd. and we want to outsource the advertising of our products to your agency.

    We will advertise with Search, Display and News feed campaigns to generate sales. Estimated budget is 200 000/month.

    Would you have time to discuss this offer today?

    Please, contact me via email or Skype: jackwilson@idvertmedia.com

    Thanks in advance.

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      • Golden Speed SEO from La Flamengrie, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
      • April 14, 2017
      Reply

      Hello Jef, thanks for your comment, it seems they are copy/pasting as it is the same message received by Yvonne in Germany…please do share and link back to this post so that anyone in the same situation can find this content easily.

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  2. Hi, same story in Germany and also alarm bells started ringing here :

    Dear MMD.

    I need your advertising services.

    Looking at your website and Google partners profile I understand that you are advertising with Google.

    I am Online Marketing Manager from iDvert Media Ltd. and we want to outsource the advertising of our products to your agency.

    We will advertise with Search and Display campaigns to generate sales. Estimated budget is 200 000/month.

    Would you have time to discuss this offer today?

    Please, contact me via email or Skype: jackwilson@idvertmedia.com

    Thanks in advance.

    Jack M. Wilson | Online Marketing Manager at iDvert Media Ltd.

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    • Donatas from Marijampole, Marijampolės Apskritis, Lithuania
    • March 8, 2017
    Reply

    Thank you for this article.

    They contacted with us in Lithuania, but have found this article. Thank you again for sharing this experience.

    To:
    Webmaster

    Borislav Popov
    +4420903207895
    borislav.popov@lidango.com
    http://www.lidango.com

    Hello,

    Our company is looking for online marketing agency, to set up and manage our Google and Facebook campaigns – Google Adwords and Facebook ads.
    We have different types of stock such as cosmetics, body and health products.

    We operate with substantial budgets and we aim to establish long-term partnerships.

    All the materials you need for the campaign such as fanpages, banners, pictures, texts / translated for every country / and links, will be provided by us.

    About us – http://www.lidango.com

    If you are interested in partnership with us, send me an email at your earliest convenience.

    Best Regards,
    Borislav Popov

    Sent from (ip address): 185.148.162.69 (185.148.162.69)
    Date/Time: 2017.03.08 12:25

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      • Golden Speed SEO from Cappelle, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
      • March 11, 2017
      Reply

      Hi, thanks for sharing your experience and we are really happy that this post could be helpful in the same situation that we encountered ourselves before. Please do share and link back so that anyone in the same situation can find this content easily.

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  3. Same Story n Croatia, got an email from idvertmedia.com as well, a guy name Spas Yanchev. and another guy named Petia Stefanova Online Media Buyer – 81 Oxford Street London, UK Phone: +44 207 903 5433 Fax: +44 207 903 5439

    I assume it was a scam as no one in the world will promise you thousands of $$ budget on first emil.

    Thanks for the tip and warning !!

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      • Golden Speed SEO from Recques-sur-hem, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
      • February 7, 2017
      Reply

      Hello, thanks for sharing your experience. If this post was helpful, please do share it on your own social media and other platforms. The more people it can reach, the more disapointments we can avoid for other fellow agencies.
      Spread the word and please do keep on commenting here with your experience.http://goldenspeedseo.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php?p=1037&approved=1#comments-form

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  4. Thanks for the notice on this potential scam, we have been contacted also by IDVERTMEDIA.com and alarm bells started ringing here – glad we found this website also to learn more.

    Here is the email we received:

    Your Details:
    Name: Spas Yanchev
    Email: spas.yanchev@idvertmedia.com
    Telephone: 44207903412311
    Website: http://www.idvertmedia.com

    Message:
    Hello,

    We have several products such as cosmetics / body products and we are looking for online marketing agency to set up and manage our Google and Facebook campaigns.

    We are operating with huge budgets / thousands of dollars / and we want to establish long-term partnerships.

    We will provide you all materials you need – fanpages, banners, pictures, texts / translated for every country /, links and so on.

    About us – idvertmedia.com

    If you have interest in working with us please send me an email at your earliest convenience.

    Best Regards,
    Spas Yanchev

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      • Golden Speed SEO from Merville, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
      • January 25, 2017
      Reply

      Hello Graham, thank you for sharing. We are happy that our post has been useful to so many, keep sharing it on your social networks so others can find it more easily. Cheers!

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    • Agency Netherlands from Dordrecht, South Holland, Netherlands
    • January 12, 2017
    Reply

    Merci for sharing your story! They actually paid the 200 000 in advance, so they are the best in the world indeed. I’ll think about the offer :-)

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      • Golden Speed SEO from Merville, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
      • January 12, 2017
      Reply

      Take care and thanks for stopping by!

      Next time I am in the South of Holland, I’ll drop you an email and we can hang out in the stretched limo you will have bought with the money earned :-)

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    • Agency Netherlands from Dordrecht, South Holland, Netherlands
    • January 12, 2017
    Reply

    I got a similar request from a company named idvertmedia.com. I found a comment online that Lidango also operates with the brand name idvertmedia. The same story probably applies to them. It’s odd that they select a random agency with this request anyway with an estimated budget of 200 000/month in my case.

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      • Golden Speed SEO from Merville, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
      • January 12, 2017
      Reply

      Hello to the Netherlands! Thanks for sharing your experience and for that very interesting input regarding the use of the name idvertmedia.com
      As Martin below says, they must be the Best Company In the World if they can pay you so handsomely and on time for such huge CPC budgets. The issue, is elsewhere as the products are really sketchy and you will be the owner of the adwords account so liable for what you are promoting. Irresistible offers are hard to refuse, I wish we could all just get rich quickly!!!! Tot ziens!

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    • Martin From Hungary from Bulgaria
    • January 10, 2017
    Reply

    I have been working with Lidango 5 years already! They are the Best company in the world and they always prepay so there is absolutely no threat for the agencies because they receive the money BEFORE they spend it.
    Bye

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      • Golden Speed SEO from Merville, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
      • January 10, 2017
      Reply

      Hello Martin, thanks for dropping by and commenting. Wow, “Best company in the world”, that is a huge leap of faith! Our post is not focused entirely on not getting paid actually to carry out these Adwords campaigns but about other concerns.

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    • Nick from Greece
    • November 22, 2016
    Reply

    Some experience here in Greece. Hopefully found out they are scams fast. It’s a fraud! Mail received from: Stiliyan.Gurdev@lidango.com

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    • Fellow agency from Luxembourg
    • September 9, 2016
    Reply

    Thank you for writing all this, you made me gain some time not listening to their BS. They contacted me, and I’m nowhere near vietnam: they are expanding worldwilde.

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