For so long being in this line of business, I thought I have seen it all.
Yesterday someone out of the blue shot us a long message on Telegram. No chitchat, no tentative questions about pricing or how things are done. Just a gigantic wall of text with glorified empty promises and grand-sounding guarantees which I thought was spam until I saw the domain name included which looked just like that of our own website.
Citing our current site's lack of support for English, he - I assumed it's a he - was willing, so he said, to offer his marketing service to expand our business internationally. He built a website in our name to "gain our trust".
In return, the gentleman wanted us to take the GRE for him, without putting down a penny!
"I already made a website for you. This is barter." A fair deal.
Or is it?
First, barter is a payment option only when I want what you offer🤦♀️.
Second, making an unsolicited website in our name - going so far as registering a similar-looking domain name for a supposedly 'demo' website - is to my mind a big red flag.
On the other hand, this website, if left to its own devices, feels more like a run-of-the-mill trademark infringement case where the infringer, by taking our name, attempts to mislead visitors into thinking that it's affiliated with us.
What is also curious is that the man claims to lead a "top-notch team of marketing specialists" but refuses to pay just a few grand. Smells fishy 🐟. to me.
Sorry, sir, but I will have to give it a pass.
The only way to "gain our trust" is to put down a deposit.