Wateen Spampaign on Pakistani Blogs

I can’t say that I’m disappointed with Wateen, as I don’t really care at all about that brand or whatever they sell, be it bandwidth, cell connection or water-balloons. I do have a serious problem though, when there is an intrusive attempt by corporations to use my belongings (this blog being one) or my surrounding to  sell their products – and Wateen did just that!

Today, around noon, I received a comment spam from Wateen advertising their broadband packages on a post that has nothing to do with broadband.

Exhibit A - Spam by Wateen

Exhibit A - Spam by Wateen

The spam was sent by a certain H. S. Kiani (probably a desi John Doe) from the IP 116.71.34.205, with the email waristerrorism@yahoo.com.

I whois’ed the IP to verify that it was official Wateen spam generated from their own servers (and not a negative marketing campaign by one of their competitors), before trying to call their tollfree number and asking them about a certain Mr. Kiani, and was amused to see that the IP belonged to PTCL.

Despite being a very satisfied PTCL customer, I sent an email to Mr. Kiani, showing my interest in their amazing offer, and I also added him up on Yahoo Messenger, but so far there has been no response from him. If he does reply (one can dream, no?) I intend to ask him a LOT of questions.

A quick look at my analytics plugin (Open Web Analytics) revealed that the visitor had hit the same post twelve times before submitting the spam.

Rasala Group Spam

Wateen Spam

In parallel, I was also asking my tweeple on Twitter if they had received the same spam today, and not surprising, many of them confirmed their blogs, or the blogs that they read, were targetted by Wateen today as well. Here are a few tweets from this noon, recording things as they were uncovered. The ones in italics are mine.

  • Nice! Wateen (or some Wateen rival) just sent some comment spam about their broadband on my blog, including their URL and phone #! about 2 hours ago from TwitterFox
  • Has anyone else from Pakistan received comment spam from Wateen about their 1mbps package today? about 1 hour ago from TwitterFox
  • UzEE @reallyvirtual Lol. Tell them you wont remove the comment if they give you 6 month subscription free. about 2 hours ago from mobile web in reply to ReallyVirtual
  • @uzee I’m emailing the guy who spammed me, and calling the Wateen # mentioned afterwards. Funny thing, they used PTCL IPs to spam! about 1 hour ago from TwitterFox in reply to UzEE
  • phpgurru @ReallyVirtual I also received wateen spam from the IP 116.71.34.205 40 minutes ago from TwitterFox in reply to ReallyVirtual
  • aqeeliz @ReallyVirtual Quite a few other Pakistani blogs I read have gotten comment spam about Wateen package. less than 5 seconds ago from web in reply to ReallyVirtual
  • harisn @aqeeliz @ReallyVirtual I also got that Wateen spam comment. Infact I still have it in my pending comments hehe 8 minutes ago from m.slandr.net in reply to aqeeliz

Shafiq from Shafiq.pk also shared that the text in the comment spam is the same as the one broadcast in Wateen’s radio ads, so this is a coordinated campaign. Aamir Atta pointed out this article by Bites85 on his blog propakistani.com that notices the recent rise in spampaigns by Wateen and other telcos very recently, so at least a few other bloggers have noticed as well.

This is the normally the point in the post where I start my rant, but it is almost my bedtime so I will not spread a lot of negativity, and instead, I will just ask a few questions and hope that the relevant people (read Mr. Kiani & Co.) will step up and answer them. What I really want to know is:

Wateen:

  • How could you possibly conceive a spampaign in the Pakistani Blogosphere and not worry one bit about it backfiring? Do you think the Pakistani bloggers are so naive that we will let your comments pass by unnoticed and let them stay on our blogs?
  • How can you support bloggers’ meetups all over Pakistan one month and spam the same bloggers the very next month?
  • I wrote down my email and blog URL on paper during LBM08 , which was supported by you. Did you take the URLs so that you may add me to your spam list? Did I opt-in? or are you spamming all the blogs aggregated on bloggers.pk ?
  • Do you think I will trust your brand in the future, after you abuse my contact information?
  • I was all praises for LBM08 and still think its effect as a catalyst was significant, despite whatever motivations you had as a supporter. Do you think that I’ll feel the same way the next time you support any event?

PTCL/PTA:

Bloggers:

  • Did you receive the same spam from Wateen this week? Care to share your  blog URL?

Enough questions. Time to sleep.

16 Comments

  1. Ghazala Khan says:

    Yes, we have been receiving such spam comments by Wateen at http://www.pakspectator.com for quite some months. I have permanently placed them to the spam bin.

  2. aamir attaa says:

    Wateen enjoying in SPAM list at ProPakistani too ; – )

  3. I received a similar spam message at a blog post “Pakistan Government Technology Illiterate?” at my blog guppu.com. And Yes! I was there too! in the LBM08 and they took my blog address twice.

    I think our blog addresses were sold off to Wateen for Spamming! :D

  4. Abdul Qudoos says:

    Thank God i have not yet received such spams :P

  5. [...] تفتیش کرنے پر معلوم ہوا کہ بھائی صاحب کو وطین کی جانب سے غیر ضروری پیغامات یعنی کہ سپامز موصول ہو رہے ہیں جس کا مواد کچھ یوں تھا [...]

  6. aqeeliz says:

    I agree with Shafiq that they have taken blogs URLs from bloggers.pk as I didn’t get any spam love from Wateen and I was at LBM08 (but am not on bloggers.pk). :)

  7. Sohaib, can we do anything about it besides blogging about it? I mean the persons with the official power to put a stop on getting us abused by these companies do not read our blogs. How to approach them?

  8. Salman says:

    well all my sympathies are with you…

  9. [...] done even more digging and discussed the matter with the parties involved and updated his original post. He’s asked us to update this post accordingly as [...]

  10. [...] If you haven’t seen it happening, check out the image below about the Wateen campaign that got termed as the Wateen ‘Spampaign’ that got ripped apart by the blogging community. If you wish to read more about the Wateen Spampaign, please click here: [...]

  11. [...] a viable option for me in Abbottabad, so as luck would have it, I ended up owning not one, but two Wateen Wimax connections after moving to Abbottabad from Lahore – I believe this irony has something to do [...]

  12. I have not still received such spam comment by Wateen.

    Wateen is Reliable Internet service provider. Wateen Services and Packages are so comparable and fast than PTCL.

    • I’m happy for your spamfree life – perhaps you have been spared the spam because your site is not a blog per se :-)
      I have been using Wateen along with PTCL for a few months now, and can safely say that their infrastructure is alright (though not as great as PTCL) and their customer service is horrible – nervous breakdown inducing horrible.
      Also, they can provide good bandwidth and yet continue spamming – the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

  13. I also did not get any spam comments on my blog May be their marking guy find all Pakistani blog and then start commenting there

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