Phone to Phone Inc. is Spamming Again–This Time for Lawschool.org

I have received numerous promises from Phone to Phone Inc. that they will stop spamming me, but either they have ignored those promises or they have an incredibly weak internal data tracking system. My latest spammed email from Phone to Phone Inc. (which, characteristically, I received twice, nine minutes apart):

____

from Michael Geller

to egoldman@gmail.com

date Thu, Jan 14, 2010 at 11:18 AM

subject Regarding a Partnership Opportunity

To whom it may concern,

My name is Mike Geller and I am an assistant editor with LawSchool.org. I came across your website and noticed that you have law school related resources on your page, so I wanted to reach out to you to discuss the potential of having LawSchool.org added.

LawSchool.org offers a number of features like a legal career center, up to date law school information and news, profiles of law schools around the country, and information regarding admission standards and financial aid. Several universities and colleges around the country like Syracuse Law School, University of Colorado, and NYU utilize LawSchool.org as a resource for their students. If you have any questions feel free to contact me and please let me know if you are able to make this addition. Thank you very much.

Mike

_____

Obviously Mike didn’t actually look at my website (at least, not very closely). If he had, it would have been impossible to miss my repeated blog criticisms of his employer.

I have formulated a new hypothesis that Phone to Phone Inc. is a domainer, i.e., they have a sizable portfolio of domain names, which they are trying to build content for using cheap student labor. Let me offer some support for this theory.

First, they have a portfolio of generic domain names. I don’t know how many, in part because the ones I’ve checked are registered via domain proxies to mask Phone to Phone Inc. as the owner. I believe all of the following domain names are associated with Phone to Phone Inc.:

Attorney.org

Chessboss.com (check out the associated Twitter account–wow!)

Disease.com

Docket.com

Hospital.com

Laws.com

LawSchool.org

Medicalschool.org

Newdoctor.com

NewLawyer.com

Pathology.org

Physician.com

Science.org

I’m pretty sure this list is incomplete. If you know of other domain names in their portfolio, please let me know.

Second, many of their sites are built on the same basic design template. Take a look at a few of the sites and you’ll see what I mean.

Third, they use Craigslist aggressively to recruit new employees. See the Craigslist listings for Mahwah, New Jersey and notice how often Phone to Phone Inc. shows up:

* Jan 14 – Looking for Skilled Writers – (Mahwah, NJ) << writing/editing

* Jan 14 - Looking For Marketers - (Mahwah, NJ) << marketing/advertising/PR

* Jan 14 - MARKETING POSITIONS AVAILABLE - (Mahwah, NJ) << marketing/advertising/PR

* Jan 14 - Writing Positions Available - (Mahwah, NJ) << writing/editing

* Jan 14 - Great Postions for Recent College Grads - (Mahwah, NJ) << marketing/advertising/PR

* Jan 14 - Marketing Positions Available - (Mahwah, NJ) << marketing/advertising/PR

* Jan 14 - Marketing JOb Opportunities - (Mahwah, NJ) << marketing/advertising/PR

* Jan 14 - Looking For Writers - (Mahwah, NJ) << writing/editing

* Jan 14 - Limited Number of Marketing Opportunities Available - (Mahwah, NJ) << marketing/advertising/PR

* Jan 13 - MARKETING POSITIONS AVAILABLE - (Mahwah, NJ) << marketing/advertising/PR

* Jan 13 - Limited Number of Marketing Opportunities Available - (Mahwah, NJ) << marketing/advertising/PR

* Jan 13 - Marketing Joba Available - (Mahwah, NJ) << marketing/advertising/PR

* Jan 13 - Limited Number of Marketing Opportunities Available - ((Mahwah, NJ) ) << marketing/advertising/PR

* Jan 11 - Limited Number of Marketing Opportunities Available - (Mahwah, NJ) << marketing/advertising/PR

* Jan 5 - Entry Level Marketing - (Mahwah NJ) << marketing/advertising/PR

* Jan 5 - Writers Needed - (Mahwah NJ) << writing/editing

* Dec 28 - Entry Level Marketing - (Mahwah NJ) << admin/office

I count no less than 9 postings on January 14, 2010 alone! [Update: I count another 7 postings on Jan. 15]. Most of the postings are blind, but they seem to follow some common formats that give me reason to believe that all of these listings are related.

Why does the company need to run so many ads? Are people not responding to the ads? (An unlikely prospect given this down market). Does the company have a large or rapidly growing workforce? Does it have unusually high turnover?

You will notice that the listings clearly target student workers, mentioning that they are hiring graduating college seniors/recent graduates and promising volleyball courts and free Red Bull. I wonder if college students, desperate for a job in a down market, are particularly vulnerable to some of the tactics alleged by a previous tipster?

I am curious about their cost model of developing content. A previous tipster indicated that employees are expected to write about one 500 word article every 30 minutes. At a salary of $12/hr, fully loaded to approx. $15/hr including benefits, this would work out to about $7.50 per 500 word article. (I’m discounting the allegations that they don’t pay some folks at all for the work they do, which if true would result in extremely cheap content). I’m pretty sure $7.50 for 500 words is relatively cheap for content acquisition, but you get what you pay for. My personal assessment of the content I’ve seen is that it’s crap–it’s low-quality search engine bait that indexes well but is useless to humans who actually read it. Google needs to do a better job coping with these attacks on the integrity of their algorithms. I suspect, in the end, Google will have to make manual downgrades of crummy sites that they discover are engaged in pumping out lots of low content quality. In any case, it appears that Phone to Phone Inc. is aggregating cheap but junky content that will not improve readers’ impressions of their brand. No surprises there.

My previous coverage of Phone to Phone Inc. and related entities:

* Another Phone to Phone Inc. Employee Speaks Out (Dec. 15, 2009)

* Questionable Employment and SEO Practices at Phone to Phone Inc.? (Dec. 10, 2009)

* Attorney.org is Latest Phone to Phone Inc. Website to Spam Me (Oct. 28, 2009)

* More Spam from Phone to Phone Inc.–This Time on Behalf of Laws.com (Oct. 23, 2009)

* Newlawyer.com Spams Me Again (Twice in One Day!) (Oct. 19, 2009)

* Newlawyer.com: Persistent Telemarketer, and Now a Spammer (Oct. 2, 2009)

I also wrote a review of Newlawyer.com at SiteJabber.