A Scam for Free Advertising

Welcome to the 484th Metamorphosis Monday!

I’ve had to remove today’s post. Sadly it appears to have been a scam to get free advertising. If you’re a blogger, here’s how this scam worked:

I received an email a few weeks back that purported to be from a reader of BNOTP. The email was signed, Brenda and Bruce. In the email, Brenda and Bruce shared the makeover of their screened porch to a three season porch.

This was the email I received with an attachment sharing the info I shared in the post, along with photos.

Hello!

I love reading and getting inspired by your Metamorphosis Monday posts. My husband and I recently gave our porch an overhaul and I had to share! We live in South Dakota (it’s a little colder here than it is in Georgia unfortunately) and absolutely love when the weather changes and we can get out and enjoy our porch more.

Feel free to use our porch before/afters if you’d like. I’ve attached our story as well.

Thank you,

Brenda and Bruce

I noticed the address for the email showed the name, Connie.  I thought that was odd, but occasionally readers email me from email addresses bearing another name. I emailed back asking which name she went by since I didn’t want to call her Brenda in the post I was creating if she preferred Connie. I never received a reply to that email, which I thought was odd.

After I created today’s post sharing the porch makeover, a savvy BNOTP reader discovered the same photos that I was sent, posted on the window/door company’s website and alerted me. After a little Googling and research, I discovered the “Connie” who sent the email pretending to be Brenda and Bruce is actually an employee of the window and door company, the company whose name just happened to be mentioned several times in the information/story I was sent about the porch makeover.

When I first received the email, the fact that the company’s name was mentioned several times in the info about the porch, should have been a clue that something wasn’t quite right, but unfortunately, I was too trusting and missed it. Hindsight is 20/20. Looking back, I can now see several “red flags” that I missed.

The people seen in the pictures who were said to be “friends” of Bruce and Brenda, supposedly helping them install their new windows, were actually employees of the window and door company. After this scam was brought to my attention, looking more closely at the photos of the “friends” installing the windows, I could see that one of the “friends” was wearing a shirt with an oval logo identical to the logo for the window and door company. So those were actually employees of the company installing the windows, not Bruce or his friends as stated in the email I received.

When a BNOTP reader left a comment on the post saying they would love to have seen interior photos of the makeover, “Brenda” replied in a comment to the reader asking if there was a way to share a photo in a comment.

After I realized this had all been a trick, I researched the email of the person who replied to the BNOTP reader’s comment pretending to be Brenda, and it turns out she is another employee of the window and door company.

It’s shocking now when I read the comment she left, how she’s pretending to be Brenda and is saying how much better her porch looks now. Amazing to what lengths this company went to keep this whole scam going!

If you’re a blogger, be on the lookout for scams like this. This is the first time in my almost 10 years of blogging I’ve received something like this, and I’m honestly shocked and dismayed that a  large, well-known company would perpetrate a scam like this, apparently to con this blogger into giving them free advertising.

Please enjoy the REAL Before and After posts linked below, and if you see a company linking up just to promote their products, please email me at [email protected] and I’ll remove the link immediately. I can’t visit every single link, every single week, so I need your help in weeding out the bad guys who try to take advantage of our MM Party each week. Thanks to those of you who link true Before and Afters!

Metamorphosis Monday

Metamorphosis Monday is a party that’s all about Before and Afters. If you are participating in Met Monday, please link up using the “permalink” to your MM post and not your general blog address. To get your permalink, click on your post name, then just copy and paste the address that shows up in the address bar at the top of your blog, into the “url” box for InLinkz.

In order to link up, you’ll need to include a link in your MM post back to the party so the other participants will have an opportunity to receive visits from your wonderful blog readers.

Please observe these few rules:

Please link up Before and After posts that are home, gardening, decorating, crafting, painting, sewing, cooking, fashion or DIY related.

Be sure to include a link back to the party in your post, so your readers will be able to find and visit the other bloggers who are participating.

Do not link up to the party if you’re only doing so to promote or sell a product.

To those who are linking up: If you notice a shop or online store linking up to sell products (yes, unfortunately, that does happen) please let me know so I can remove their link and block them from participating in future parties. No one wants to click a link expecting a Before and After, only to find a spam link to an online business/store.

*If a post is sponsored or a product was provided at no charge, it will be stated in post. Some links may be affiliate links. *



 Never miss a Between Naps on the Porch post! 

*Subscribe to have updates delivered to your Inbox. 



Comments

  1. What a great transformation for Bruce & Brenda. They must really be looking forward to the better weather to be able to enjoy that porch to its fullest!
    Loved reading about your latest plans to travel Egypt, Susan. We just returned from vacation and are also wanting to plan another already. Thank you for hosting us and always inspiring! Have a great week.

  2. What a great transformation, I wish she had included an inside shot when it was done too. To have that space usable all year is wonderful. Thanks for the party, Susan!

  3. Wonderful screened porch tranformation! Your porch has inspired many I am sure! Thanks Susan

  4. Nice porch/party center now. It’s brighter and more usable–so worth what you put into it. Now for some interior shots 🙂

  5. Their new porch is really nice!! And really nice that they could use it at Christmas and Thanksgiving. I’d love to see the inside. Maybe they will share that later. I bet South Dakota is beautiful!

  6. Kathleen says:

    That is one lovely re-do! Every one must have big smiles.

  7. Roxanne says:

    What an amazing transformation! It looks like a whole new house!! So glad you shared that with us!

  8. franki says:

    LUV the USABLE porch!! franki

  9. What a fantastic porch transformation!! I would love to have a porch like this…Thanks for sharing and thanks so much for hosting!!!
    Hugs,
    Deb

  10. What a most beautiful transformation…a porch for all seasons indeed! Thanks for hosting Susan and have a great week!

  11. Snowflake281 says:

    Very nice metamorphosis for an outdated porch. Now it’s giving me ideas to transform my deck to an enclosed porch so that we can get more use out of it. I saw those same photos on the Larsondoors.com website!

    • Thanks for letting me know. I’m beginning to think this was just a scam by a company hoping to get some free advertising on a blog. I’m going to remove the post.

  12. Martha says:

    I was impressed with the porch and googled the name of the screens…..kind of surprised to see the same photos on the website. I thought it seemed fishy and am glad you found out it was a scam. I enjoy your blog so much, it is a shame things like this happen, but that’s life!

    • Thanks, Martha. It really is a shame. I get 15-20 emails a day from companies offering to send me their products, expecting of course that I’ll post about them and link back to their site. I spend all day deleting them. I guess this is a new tactic some companies are trying. I won’t fall for it again.

      • Mary Conway says:

        If it’s a well known company, did you also contact their head office. I’m sure they wouldn’t be impressed.

  13. Wow. Just wow. So sorry that happened, and I’m glad you removed it and gave this update, Susan. If anything, maybe you should name the company (I totally didnt catch it as I was reading this morning) and steer people away from them. Jerks.

  14. That is so disheartening! It is so sad that we have to constantly be on the watch for people taking advantage.

  15. Debbie says:

    Well, I for one didn’t notice the company name or logo. I have no idea who they are. Their scam failed for me! I was too busy comparing that porch to mine. I like mine better and will stick to my floor to ceiling, wall to wall screens.

  16. Call me crazy but I was more than a bit underwhelmed by the screen porch story. Then I find out they were scamming you for free advertising – glad you got the heads up and pulled the post. Looking forward to your next blog.

    • Thanks, Linda…thankful to the reader who told me about the photos at their site. After a bit of searching and comparing photos, it was easy to see what they were doing.

  17. Sandy K Park says:

    Susan, so sorry for you being the target of those peoples scam. I just hate that especially since your blog is one of my favorites. I’m glad that it was pointed out to you. You have such an outstanding blog.

    • Thanks so much, Sandy! Yes, so grateful for the reader who noticed the photos because it led to me looking a lot closer at everything. I’ve discovered the photos are actually posted on a bunch of sites.

  18. Wow, that is such a shame that this was a scam. I am so sorry this happened to you.

  19. Regality (aka The Quing) says:

    You gotta admit, it was clever. Annoying, but clever. Has the company scammed other bloggers?

  20. I actually lived, years ago, for 3 years in the small SD town that company is based in. At that time they were well respected and valued by the town. So shameful they have sunk so low as to try to scam bloggers. They should be ashamed of themselves!

  21. How interesting that it was an attempt to get free advertising! I’m chuckling to myself now as I write this because I actually loved their original picture much better than the new windows they installed. I thought the originals were charming and the new ones just looked utilitarian.

  22. Catherine Schiele says:

    I would be so tempted to contact the company and give them a piece of my mind and let them know I was onto their scam.

  23. Bernadette Gibson says:

    So sorry this happened to you. Glad you rechecked and let us followers know it was a scam. Thank you. It was a glitch and there may be more in the future. I’m sure you won’t lose follower over this. Not your fault.

  24. Linda Page says:

    So glad you were able to determine that this is a scam and delete it. Just can’t be trusting any more.

  25. Wow Susan! That seems like an awful lot of trouble for them to go thru. Doesn’t surprise me though. Some people are so scrupulous these days.

  26. Susan…are either Brenda aka/Connie or Bruce employees of this business?

    I agree with someone who suggested before me to contact the company and let them know what occurred.

    I think that’s lowdown to say the least.

  27. It makes One wonder how many others they have scammed in the past. All you can do is your best. Thanks for exposing them. It made me wonder how many of these type “project” emails you receive from the public. Thanks for sharing with us. I enjoy your blog.

  28. Susan, I’m so sorry this happened, but please don’t beat yourself up. I think you do an amazing job of being very balanced in the things you recommend, and I hate that they took advantage of your generous, sharing spirit with duplicitous tactics like that. Shame on the company, but particularly “Brenda” aka Connie. How low can you go?

  29. Susan, I am so sorry this happened. Scammers will go to any lengths.

  30. Kat B. says:

    Ironically, what they’ve gotten themselves now is a lot of bad publicity…and appropriately so! When I see their products now I will remember this ploy.

    Have a good day, Susan. We love you!

  31. Wow! There was something about that original email that seemed ‘fake’ to me, so to be honest I didn’t pay too much attention to yesterday’s post. I agree you should NOT let this company get away with this so easily. Isn’t there some kind of cyber watchdog company that deals with dishonest advertising? I’m certain you’re not the first blogger they’ve done this to and won’t be the last either. I guess in a way you should be flattered! They went to a lot of trouble to reach your readers!

  32. I’m so sorry this happened to you. You were wise to catch on so quickly.

  33. Wow, I’m shocked a well known company like Larson (I believe that’s who they are) would stoop so low. Surely they can’t be that desperate for business? LIke others have suggested, you might want to contact their corporate office and make a complaint or it would be better if there was some way you could describe what happened on a public forum (other than your blog) so people that might not read BNOTP are aware of what happened….maybe contact the BBB in the state of incorporation as well? I do agree with others who said they were a little underwhelmed by the “makeover”….I wasn’t impressed either.

    Sorry this happened to you Susan. Hopefully you won’t experience anything like this again.

  34. What a shame this company had to resort to such antics. The windows looked great. Perhaps the owners would have agreed to promotional photos and to having an article written about them. Unfortunately, there are some who think it is okay to misrepresent, stretch the truth, or even lie to their own advantage. As I said, the windows look great. There was no reason to misrepresent themselves. I am so glad you were able to see through their attempt to mislead.

  35. Cecilia says:

    What?!
    Susan, are Brenda and Bruce real persons whom you know and did you ever “heard” of them before? I get goose bumps every time I read/hear something like that happens! I once got an e-mail that actually showed the e-mail address of a friend of mine, it said she was on holiday in London and that her bag was stolen, so she wanted me to send her some money… too bad for the bad guys, they wrote that e-mail in English… of course, this made immediately clear that this was a fraud attempt, why should my German friend wrote in English to me?! Haha, not only criminal but also stupid! lol But also scary, somehow… Yikes!

    • No, but I receive emails several times a week from readers who want to share a table setting, a DIY project they just completed, or a porch they just added. I always love hearing from readers, it makes blogging so rewarding and inspires me toward other projects. But this is the first time a company has ever pretended to be a BNOTP reader and sent over a fake story to get free advertising. I can see little hints now that something didn’t add up now, hindsight is always 20/20.

  36. penney helms says:

    I never noticed the name tags, etc., so fell for scam. Fortunately, will never be anywhere near this scum company to be tempted to use their services. So sorry this happened to you, and thanks much for clarification.

  37. stephanie says:

    If this is their level of honesty – then I can only imagine how “honest” they would be with their customers. Yikes! I wouldn’t trust anything they said going forward – their warranty, their prices, their promises about the quality, where the product is made and so forth.

    Disappointing – but I admire the way you handled this.

  38. I am glad you were made aware of this. I do wonder if corporate headquarters was aware of this or if the employees took it upon themselves to try this. If ever there was a time to be honest, it is in today’s society as so many things are photographed, recorded, saved on to various devices, etc. It was just plain silly on their part to try this deception.

  39. Dear Sweet, Susan. I am sorry this happened to you. Like you, I have always been a trusting person and hate to assume that everybody is a scam artist. However, a couple of years ago I stumbled on a couple of short videos quite by accident, that really opened my eyes. Since then I have thought about mentioning a couple of things to you when I have seen you post about something that seemed to be a ‘red flag’ to me. Not wanting to stick my nose in your business, I didn’t. But if you’d like me to, I will email you privately about such things.

    One thing I can recommend to you and the board at large is to look up a Ted Talk video on youtube by Sharyl Attkisson. She has a very impressive resume and gave a short talk that I was flabbergasted by. It really opened my eyes and I sincerely hope you’ll take the time to go find that video and watch it. Not only for yourself, but for your son’s family and your grandchildren’s sakes, as well.

    This is such a sweet and happy place, I don’t normally veer off topic here, but since you brought up this problem, I thought I’d mention Sheryl. If you have any trouble finding the video, let me know and I’ll go find it and post a link. <3

  40. Beatrice says:

    Well look at it this way…they were desperate to have the most popular blogger on earth “recommend” them. Bloggers come and go. I’ve been on the internet since it was The Well, and I’ve rarely seen a blog as consistent and long-lived as yours. So don’t look back, and do take them to task. You can perhaps keep them from doing it again. Best, Beatrice

  41. I enjoy your blog and the scope of topics it covers. As I read this one and the responses, I noticed that there were no further comments from Brenda. As our English language changes, we forget that “scam” is another word for malicious. Thank you for pointing this out.

  42. Isn’t that annoying! I get frequent requests to post on my blog- they want me to “allow them” to post something relevant that my readers would appreciate. Ha ha.. yeah- I’ll give you my password and everything! Well I guess they got their 15 minutes of fame! Good thing you were able to figure out the deception and terminate their free ad!

  43. I’m new to your blog and love it. I am currently looking at various contractors to rehab a small house. Integrity is very important in any kind of construction and I am wondering if these people realize what a negative impression this kind of tactic creates. Their actual work might in fact be great but I wouldn’t trust someone who had to resort to “stealth marketing”.

  44. Barbara Eddy says:

    Everybody spread the word and don’t use them. It’s as simple as that. They can’t be trusted.

I'd love to hear from you! Please leave a comment!

*