This is one in a series of posts reviewing and looking at how some of the SEO companies which use bulk emails/spam with ‘we can help your terrible site’ type emails really can (and actually mostly can’t!) help your site.
I first dealt with Runexe Solutions back in June 2019, but they’re still at it. So let’s have another look at them…
Last time, this spam came in via a digitalmarketingline.com domain. This time, it was from a ‘Rose’ who was using a gmail account, which had her name and some numbers in it (a very popular email format for SEO spammers…)
The subject was “Business proposal for your whychristmas.com” and the contents of the spam was:
Hi whychristmas.com team
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2022
Your website’s design is absolutely brilliant. When I was looking at your site, though, I noticed a mistake that you’ve made re: search engine optimization. It’s a relatively simple fix.
As a business owner, you might be interested in gaining profit by placing your website among top in search engines.
If you want to know more about your website errors, then we can provide you with the Website Audit Report as per your request.
Email us back to get a full SEO proposal.
Your response is highly awaited.
Rose [last name removed for privacy, even though I’m 90%+ sure it’s fake]
Business Development Manager
If you want to receive a detailed plan of action, please feel free to reply” Yes”, We will get back to you with more details.
Well, me being me, I had to reply…
That sounds interesting. Please send over the audit report.
Within an hour (fast!), I got a reply from a ‘Shawn’ who was using an @runexesolutions.com email address. It had a new subject of “Website Audit Report” and it went:
I wish you a very happy new year.
I appreciate your kind response to my associate Rose’e email seeking an audit report for your website.
Note: please find your email communication thread shared at the bottom of this email. [Only it wasn’t…]
We are glad to send you a no obligation technical audit report for your website whychristmas.com in our very next email.
However, I would like to know more about your expectations from this website.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Shawn [last name removed for privacy, even though I’m 90%+ sure it’s fake]
Senior Sales Manager
Shawn asks what my expectations for my site are. Well, I’d only replied because Rose said my site needed their help because the SEO wasn’t good! So I sort of pointed that out..
Well, I’d like as many people to be able to find the site as possible through search engines. The email from Rose, said that it had some problems and that you could fix them.
So really I’d like to see what needs fixing so my site is as good on Google as possible!
Thanks. I look forward to seeing what your report says.
A short time later I got this reply:
I appreciate your prompt response to my email.
Sure, I understand what you have said.
Please allow us a couple of hours time, we will send you the detailed technical audit report.
I’m Looking forward to it.
And the next day, I got this from ‘Shawn’…
Hello Again James,
I am very much glad to inform you that you have maintained your website so well and your online presence is also good.
To be honest with you, I haven’t seen a website so good with all the technical aspects covered and with good online presence in the recent past.
Congratulations for that, we are doing a great job.
I hardly found a couple of errors which are
1. Website Analytics
2. W3C CSS validation errors
3. Keyword density is low.
Secondly, we have found that your domain authority score is 50 which can go upto 65 .
As you are doing Google Ads, how about we can discuss more on search engines or Google Merchant Center?
I thought it was time to explain to Shawn that I wasn’t really interested in their services and I also asked some pretty basic questions about why they spam people (and break the law in doing so)…
I’m really glad you think my site is one of the best you’ve seen! I’m also very much aware that my site is VERY optimised for SEO! It gets over 20 million page loads every year…
I’ve been running my site (and in the web business) for over 20 years. I reply to SEO spammers, like yourself, to see what they say to try and get business.
Please can you explain why ‘Rose’ spammed me and said (I quote): “When I was looking at your site, though, I noticed a mistake that you’ve made re: search engine optimization.”
You now admit this is un-true and that you (again I quote) “…haven’t seen a website so good with all the technical aspects covered and with good online presence in the recent past”.
So why do you spam people with blatant lies to try and get business?
Why do you spam people (breaking multiple international laws) to try and get business?
Why do you spam from random Gmail accounts to try and get business?
Your website says you have a location in the USA. That means you come under the CAN-SPAM act. You are in breech of this and other pieces of legislation such as GDPR and PECR with your spam.
You might claim that ‘Rose’ was doing lead work independently from Runexe. However, under CAN-SPAM, Runexe is jointly responsible for any ‘lead’ emails sent by third parties on their behalf.
That’s not good is it?
Let’s look at the three points you made about my site:
1. My site DOES HAVE web analytics. It uses privacy friendly analytics from Cloudflare, because I care about the privacy of my visitors. (You can see this quite easily from looking at the site’s code.)
2. Oops. Yes, there was a ; missing! It’s now fixed. However, your site has 67 CSS errors (and 102 HTML errors) – mega oops!
3. On ‘keyword density’, kd of about 1/2% is recommend. Let’s look at a typical page from my site: https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/christmaspickle.shtml running that through a kd checker, the key phrase ‘christmas pickle’ has a kd of 1.6%. That is excellent! And that page is #2 on Google for the term ‘christmas pickle’ (only behind wikipedia). So it looks like the kd is pretty good too!
According to ahrefs, my site’s Domain Authority is 71… (I know DA can be calculated in different ways, but that seems pretty good to me!)
Your internal system also doesn’t seem to have told you that Runexe spammed me back in 2019.
You might have guessed that I’m not interested in your services!
I’d also really like it if you stopped spamming me – and others.
It’s now been over a week since I sent that and I’ve heard nothing back. It’s funny how keen SEO spammers are to email you, but when you ask them some simple questions, and point out they lied in their spam, they don’t email back…
Their Report & Recommendations
There’s not much to put here as I basically explained in my email to Shawn, why his three points were not really correct.
Looking at Their Site
Since I first ‘reviewed’ Runexe in 2019, they’ve got a new site. Let’s see if it’s any better than the previous one (tl;dr, it’s not).
For HTML Validation, my site has no errors. Their site has 102 errors and 13 warnings (and of course 67 CSS errors). That’s quite impressively bad.
Using the ‘WAVE’ Accessibility Testing Tool, their site has 80 errors and 52 contrast errors, again, not exactly good. My site has no errors of either kind!
Using the Google Lighthouse speed test tool their site gets:
Performance: 27 (erm, not good)
Best Practices: 62
My site gets:
Best Practices: 100
So my site is MUCH better across the board, and especially in ‘Performance’.
Considering they pointed out the 1 CSS error (now fixed) on my site, it really is rather rich of them to have a site with so many HTML and CSS errors – yet they want to ‘fix’ the sites of other people…! (Oh and in the week since my email to them, they’ve not fixed any of the HTML errors. You might have thought that an SEO company might look at fixing things like that if they’re called out on it, but I guess they don’t care.)
Some of the HTML errors they have on their site include amazingly basic things like having gaps in the phone-number links (you can have spaces in the ‘written’ ones on a page, but not in the linking code) and using \ in paths to images. In HTML you ALWAYS use / and not \. That’s ‘your first day of learning HTML’ type stuff (and it can affect SEO).
They have 12 Heading 1s on the site. You should only ever have ONE! (That’s SEO basics 101.)
Back in June 2019, the alt text of their logo was ‘logo’. It’s now ‘Porto’. That is not better (for people using assistive tech or for SEO).
They also appear to be collecting full IP information and setting tracker cookies – and don’t tell you.
In the site’s header, it says, ‘Mumbia, Orissa, USA’.
In the footer there’s an address in Bhubaneswar and one in New Jersey. On their contact page, there are addresses in Bhubaneswar, Mumbai and New Jersey!
The address in Bhubaneswar is the same one used by Zentryx Tech Solutions, another SEO spammer who we guessed were linked to Runexe in the past. Well, that seems to confirm that then!
Bhubaneswar is in the Odisha province of India (it’s on the east coast and Bhubaneswar is the home to many an SEO spammer). Odisha used to be known as Orissa.
The address in Mumbai appears to be a residential housing block, whereas the one in Bhubaneswar is in an office/business complex.
As for the address in New Milford, New Jersey, well it’s a mess. It’s got the zip code in the middle of the address. No one in the USA would ever write their address like that! There’s also no ‘street’ address, it’s just a city name and zip code. The zip code covers a very suburban area of New Milford.
Also, back in 2019, the Runexe site said “Our headquarters are in Miami, Florida however; our delivery center is in India.”
So, yeah, that wasn’t true then and the address in New Milford probably isn’t true now!
The Mumbai address is on their LinkedIn page but the Bhubaneswar one is on their Facebook page!
Via a search for ‘Runexe Solutions Pvt Ltd’ on Google, I found a PDF about their services. On it, it lists the Mumbai address as the ‘Sales Office’. So is that where they spam (sorry, do sales) from?!
There’s a US and two Indian phone numbers listed on the site. The US number, is the same one as back in 2019 and it’s area code is still in the Bronx – that’s in New York, not New Jersey or Miami!
So although they claim to have a location in the USA, I very strongly doubt it. Their domain was registered in Odisha/Orissa by ‘Runexe Solutions Pvt. Ltd’. ‘Pvt Ltd’ is the Indian registration for businesses. In the USA, it’s commonly LLC.
Runexe Solutions have joined the ranks of the ‘blogged about more than once SEO spammers’.
Their spam emails are clearly rubbish, as a member of their staff basically admitted as much when he actually looked at a site they’d spammed saying how bad it was.
Like most other SEO spammers, they also happily hide behind random email accounts to send out their spam.
They also like to point out their perceived errors on your site, whilst ignoring the multitude of errors on their own site.
So if Runexe say they want to fix your site, the delete button of their email might be a better option.
But, as ever, the choice is yours..