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Observations on Everything

Why are Badass Programmers such Desperate Marketers?

badass_developerWe’re all used to getting spammed by fly by night businesses, all promising to solve some problem you might not even have, like getting to the top of Google.  Most of us would enjoy the opportunity to physically assault (ok, at least verbally) the perpetrators of this garbage, so it’s not often that you see a legitimate business engage in this sort of thing.

So it’s unusual to see a message like this one, from badassprogrammers.com:

Hey There!! Guess what day it is??? Happy Hump Day!!! 🙂

J here, “Badass In Charge” @Badass Programmers in California..

Badasses don’t send salesy emails, so I’ll be brief and say that I simply wanted to introduce myself and our Web & mobile app development team at Digital Brand Group (DBG)… Our group recently launched a special services division called “Badass Programmers.”

Check us out! http://badassprogrammers.com

Our team is made up of some of the BEST Web & mobile talent you will ever work with, and we’re currently accepting new projects ¨C free beer included! 🙂

If you have any Web / mobile development, UI / UX design needs, or other design / programming related projects brewing, I would LOVE to schedule a call with you to discuss further!

Are you available for a call anytime this week or next?

Please let me know and thank you so much for your time!

J

¡¡

¡¡

¡¡

¡¡

¡¡

¡¡

P.S. You received this email because I thought you would find value in our team, but if you could care less, feel free to unsubscribe here.

Now I was thinking, “hey they’re all badass programmers, so maybe they just missed the whole ‘don’t buy some cr*p list from a shady broker'” thing. The email they spammed is the reply address from one of my systems. It doesn’t send mail unless you interact with it. Looks like one of our customers got his address list harvested and here it is, on some cheap broker’s list. but wait, these guys are a “special services division” of Digital Brand Group. You’d figure a “digital brand group” would have half a clue when it comes to marketing, right? What gives?

Let’s start with DBG, who have “offices” in Newport Beach and Trivandrum, India. Their website says that “DBG architects, designs, and develops custom Web and mobile applications with an international team renowned for delivering value through forward thinking and technology innovation” this clearly explains why they needed to spin off a services group to develop mobile applications. Or not.

Then we have “J”, “Badass in Charge”. Well, the email comes form “Jamon” and the person in charge at Badass, or at least DBG, seems to be Jeremiah Jacks, so I’m thinking someone was stoned out of their tree and really this email is from “Ja mon”. Anyway, it’s so nice that the guy writing this warm, friendly introduction letter doesn’t have the balls or integrity to sign his (or her) real name.

Now clever J doesn’t want to send a “salesy” message, as he goes on to see if he can book a sales call. Duh. Pro tip J: don’t ever try copywriting as a career. Also, turn your spell checker on.

Now we have several clever lines of “¡¡” presumably so that we won’t scroll down to find out who this ass really is. There’s the deflect in the postscript: “You received this email because I thought you would find value in our team…” No. Really, I received this email because you are frigging desperate for work, you’ve clearly burned all your referral business, and you’re resorting to a rebrand and spam campaign in order to desperately try to save your sorry ass before the receiver shows up.

And then the final tell, the thing that lets you know that “J” really does know he’s desperately shotgun spamming to get business: that unsubscribe link goes to a weird port on ironchampusa.ru. Yup, his unsubscribe link is on a Russian domain. Nothing quite says “legitimate email” like that!

The way an organization deals with email marketing, says more about their ethics and/or desperation than almost anything else. Badass Programmers has made their ethical position pretty clear (they’re also @BadassDeveloper on Twitter — because brand consistency matters). Whatever they call themselves… run away.

  • Chip Rosenthal

    Thanks for taking the time to document the spam advertising badassprogrammers.com (@BadassDeveloper on Twitter). I’ve received eight copies of their spam so far (and I know of at least one other person who received their spam).

    There are so many sleazy bad practices embodied by this spam.

    * The spam is not being sent by a trusted service provider — or even from a service provider that enforces a responsible terms of use. It’s being sent from a variety of machines in China.

    * Each of the emails has a different name forged in the From: header.

    * The unsubscribe link is on a Russian domain for an energy drink (www.ironchampusa.ru), which, again, is hosted on a machine in China.

    * Attempting to submit an address to unsubscribe always returns a success message (even a bogus made up address), and a bunch of broken image links, which makes you wonder about the integrity of the unsubscribe.

    Try it:
    http://www.ironchampusa.ru:8133/bap-unsubscribe/unsubscribe.php?email=nobody@example.com

    * And these people are trying to sell their development services? I can’t imagine spammers — and bad spammers at that — being a good technical partner.

    January 27, 2015 at 18:41
    • Alan Langford

      Thanks for your comments and the additional information, Chip. I’ve run some tests on these so-called “unsubscribe” links, and they’re better characterized as “I am confirming that this is a valid address” links. I’m pretty sure that this mailer will be sending multiple copies of their spam to nobody@example.com as a result of your efforts.

      January 27, 2015 at 18:54

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