Exposing a spammer: First-Rate.com
I hate blog spammers. Unfortunately, you normally don't know who exactly is responsible for blog spam and so there's usually very little you can do about it beyond getting angry, deleting the comment, and feeling wholly inadequate about the whole thing.
However, today, I saw some spam on my blog from a company called First Rate, promoting the web site of a certain photographer (Update: name and spam comment removed to protect the photographer who is innocent in all this, read my follow-up post for First Rate's reponse).
I'm almost entirely sure that the photographer in question has no idea that the firm he hired to market his web site is engaging in spamming blogs in his name but that is exactly what First Rate are doing.
What this company, First Rate, is doing is stealing space from my blog. They are advertising their message without compensating me.
I hope that this blog post raises awareness about their activities and I hope that their current and future clients think twice about employing a company that engages in spamming blogs.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on what, if anything, we can do to hold companies like this responsible for their unethical actions. Naming and shaming them whenever possible appears to be a good start.
Update: The photographer emailed me today. As I'd thought, he had had no idea that First Rate was spamming blogs to advertise his business. Here's what he told me:
Thank you for letting me know as I was completely unaware of this. I have got someone looking into it right now and will come back to you as soon as I have some more info. Please accept apologies in the mean time.
And this is exactly why it is so important to name and shame these companies that engage in such unethical behavior: people have no idea of the underhanded tactics they use when they hire them. It's my hope that if they do know, they'll take their business elsewhere.
I'm sure this is not the kind of publicity that First Rate were looking for when they spammed my blog.