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.
The spam was sent by a certain H. S. Kiani (probably a desi John Doe) from the IP 18.104.22.168, with the email email@example.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.
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 22.214.171.124 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:
- 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?
- Your competitor (Wateen) is spamming about their services using your network. Putting aside the irony for a second, do you even care? Where are the do-not-spam lists and laws that we have all been waiting for?
- Did you receive the same spam from Wateen this week? Care to share your blog URL?
Enough questions. Time to sleep.