Is a Scam Website?

Sunday, January 08, 2012 Stef dela Cruz 21 Comments

I currently received an email from asking if they may advertise on my website. At first, I was excited, but I noticed that the sender’s name was questionable. I then realized I might be dealing with some sort of scam, and that the website might be trying to scam bloggers, publishers, and advertisers. I then decided to investigate. (At the same time, I emailed back to wait for their reply.)

In my response email, I asked the email sender, a certain Etsuko K., to send me a detailed proposal. I wanted to know what exactly they are offering bloggers so that I know the mechanics of their scam (if it is indeed one).

Etsuko K. is a Marketing Administrator of, according to the email sent to me. However, I found it highly suspect that this marketing administrator had to use the first letter of his surname instead of his entire surname. (I remember reading somewhere that transparency is one of the signs of a legit company – and using initials instead of complete names shows, to a degree, a lack of transparency.)

traveladbuyers scam 1_thumb[1]

I then did a little sleuthing. I found a few complaints about showing how their website and several others have the exact same format and pictures – and even their hotlines are identical.

See for yourself. Here’s a screenshot of

traveladbuyers scam_thumb[1]

And here’s a screenshot of

adbuyersgroup scam_thumb[1]

See the uncanny similarity? Rather, do you see any difference other than in the website name?

Here are other websites that have the exact same home page as Travel Ad Buyers:

To all fellow bloggers, always be wary of advertisers – make sure you “test” and “investigate” them before you spend time writing blog posts for would-be clients.

I hope this blog post of mine becomes useful to other bloggers out there. If you have additional information on Travel Ad Buyers ( and how it may indeed be a scam, do drop a comment. Nerd smile

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She maintains a health column in Health.Care Magazine and contributes to The Manila Bulletin. Add her to your circles.


  1. Had the same group contact us. Thanks for the heads up. Good thing is when you search for their group's name your post is already ranking high on the results so glad they're getting busted.

  2. Hi Jonathan. I'm still negotiating with them and let's see how they respond. Once I get their proposal, I'll update my blog post. :) Thanks for dropping by!

  3. I got the same email from them too. Thanks for the post. Please keep us updated on the proposal.
    (Did they include a paragraph on confidentiality in their email to you as well?)

  4. I posted their email above. No confidentiality issue in the email. But I'm still waiting for their reply. :)

  5. Thanks for the research Stef. Found an email from them today and ALWAYS search stuff like this with the extra keywords "spam and scam" -

    Matt in Colorado

  6. Yes, that's what I do, too. So I'm always thankful that there are bloggers who take time to post about potential or confirmed spammers and scammers. :) Thanks for dropping by, Matt.

  7. Having multiple websites doesn't mean it's a scam.

  8. You're right, it doesn't. But it's definitely a red flag - especially if you have five or so company names with the exact same website design. It begs the question, "Why all these websites? What is the purpose of having so many?"

    It's all very, very shady.

  9. Hi. I got a similar email today:


    我們對於您的網站十分感興趣。我們有一個合作計畫希望徵詢您的同意, 就是想把一則「連結文字廣告」放在您的網站上,以一年為期限。我們會透過PayPal付費系統繳一年的廣告費用。我們的客戶是知名國際旅遊網站,希望透過「連結文字廣告」推廣促銷成套的新加坡旅遊行程。


    Catherine Fenn


    Hello ,

    I am inquiring about advertising on your website, Specifically I would like to buy a simple text link advertisement on your site for a flat yearly rate. We will pay for the full year via PayPal. Our client is a major international travel website and they want to use this ad to promote their Singapore travel packages.

    Please contact me at your earliest convenience so we can get started.

    Thank you for your time,
    Catherine Fenn

    I replied and asked to get more information about the client and how much he's willing to pay. Let's see what happen. :)

  10. I got the same email today in Spanish for a Spanish site I develop.
    The, having multiple sites is shady. A genuine business would try to make their one site work, a shady business would create multiple identities.

    Also "We will pay for the full year via PayPal" - yeah I've heard that one before from a scam phone buyer on eBay who sent me a fake Paypal receipt.

    For the tiny revenue ads generate I wouldn't waste my time and I wouldn't touch them with someone else's barge pole.

  11. Hey there,

    I got exactly the same email in Spanish. Definitely, it smells like a scam.
    Many thanks for sharing :)

  12. Hi

    I got the identical email this morning. Since we don't advertise, I decided to see what others thought; whether there was such a company. Lo and behold, there are heaps of you out there with the same experience. My alarm bells rang.
    I have confidence in our website bringing us good enquiry in our own field (Commercial Tenant Advocacy). I won't be following this one up!
    Thanks everyone :)

  13. Has anyone actually been scammed (i.e. they promised payment and didn't deliver)? Asking to advertise doesn't seem so bad to me imo

  14. To answer the latest comment, you're right; asking to advertise isn't that bad. But when the website asking you this favor has not one, not two, but an entire handful of websites under different names, you start to ask (the right) questions.

    Besides, I really wouldn't recommend getting scammed first before actually staying away - for obvious reasons. :)

  15. @ Stef dela Cruz, I completely agree with what your saying I just wish someone went the extra step so we can see the dealings of the outfit. Did you get a reply back from them?

    I got the same email and I'm considering it. I looked on the web and saw your post but a couple others that said they did get paid. I even called the number on the email and spoke to a rep there. I was just hoping to get a feel for them before I invest time in exploration.

  16. I'd rather not go there, unfortunately. I don't like shady websites and companies, and if others get paid by them, then that's no issue to me. But I prefer to err on the side of caution.

    There are too many red flags here; the only red flag left is, well, to be scammed - and I'm just not willing to wait for that to happen. :)

  17. when i received their email, there was a matter of fact the Traveladbuyers name in the letter body and on the signature that also said

    So, maybe they are under the same company with the same nature of services. But I can't really tell as well, I'd rather be safe than sorry.

  18. I have contact with them and put the links as they requested and they payed me. I don't know where the scam is. With both Etsuko and Catherine. Why would the name Etsuko mean it is a scam? The worst thing that can happen is that they don't pay and you take their links of, or am I missing something?

  19. I just got the same, and I think it is just a spam trick to get working emails, for future spam. Did anybody look at the full email headers?

    Received: from ([]:46093 <--- smth fishy hosted by Leaseweb, which is well-known for hosting spam
    From: "Alex Andrade"

    By replying to this crap or going to that unsubscribe link, you are actually confirming to spammers your working email and you will be spammed to death! LOL I don't believe anybody got "paid", this is just another spam trick to fish for our emails, all they need is your response, to confirm your email addy.

  20. Jeroen, the "worst thing" that can happen if you place spammy links on your blog (which are highly probable if the links are requested by SEO companies who think they have to practice duplicity) is that your blog, which you have worked hard for, will be taken out of the Google list of blogs. You will get demoted in terms of PageRank (or even lose your PageRank entirely and go back to N/A) and you might no longer appear in search results. Your Google Adsense account may also be cancelled, even if you have money you haven't claimed yet!

    So yes, there is a LOT of harm that you can do to your blog via careless use of spammy links. Ask other bloggers and they will tell you their own horror stories.

    As I always say: THINK before you LINK.