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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    5,512

    Beware of e-mails asking for company information posing as a potential customer

    Please beware of e-mails that are going out to service providers asking for seemingly harmless information about your company size, capacity, ability to provision services that appear "generic" in nature yet customized to your company.

    These requests will generally say that they're sending the same request out to a number of other companies but do not specify exactally what they're wanting to purchase.

    There is a 99%+ chance that these are not potential customers, rather marketing firms attempting to datamine for the purpose of solicitation or selling semi-privileged information to your competitors.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    2,336
    Well then.. certainly new information, thanks.
    Personal Blog: Here | Currently Hosted By: GoDaddy | Twitter: @Quartz87

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    904
    Thanks for the heads up! If I'm not mistaken, there was a thread started here recently regarding e-mail's of this nature, however most of them were coming from one specific individual. Perhaps you could post the name of the individual in the mail header, of who is sending these e-mail's? I would say that would be very useful to have .

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Richmond, VA
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    3,102
    Thanks for the info! How were you alerted to this?
    Daniel B., CEO - Bezoka.com and Ungigs.com
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Gotham City
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    We've seen such mails from "John Webber" and a few others, answered them like we would any other query. Sometimes it's just hosting directories collecting information.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    427
    We have had a few from "Tommy" "John Webber" and a few others.

    Thanks for the heads up.
    The MonkeyPC - cPanel webhosting that's vibrant and high in quality. Just say hello to The Monkey!

  7. #7
    yeh same i was going through the in boxes of a hosting company i just acquired a few weeks back i found several like that. There blocked by my spam system now

  8. #8
    would it be possible to show us the email here? or a sample so that we'd know how it looks lik
    Caro.Net: Support is everything
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    179
    I've seen many of those types of emails as well. It is a good idea to make sure your staff has a generic response when someone requests too much technical or corporate information. Some requests are harmless and are just paranoid customers with nothing better to do, but some people do indeed ask ridiculously specific questions that have nothing to do with the hosting.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Gotham City
    Posts
    1,849
    For everyone's referece:

    Hello,

    I am interested in your services and I have some questions.
    Please give me clear and informative answers and I will register 4 accounts, because my current host is down and I need to move everything fast.


    1. What can you tell me about your company history? How many years you are in business and how many customers you have?
    2. What moneyback guarantee you offer? When it applies? I mean what should happen so I could request refund? (for example if server down for XX hours)
    3. What types of support do you offer? What is your support response time and how many staff members you have?
    4. Do you offer any discounts for yearly payments? Is there any bonus features I can get?
    5. What is your average uptime and can you issue partial refund if server will be down?
    6. Can I host multiple domains on 1 account (add-on domains) and how many domains can I park?
    7. Do you have reseller hosting packages? If so - how many domains can I host, can you setup private name servers.
    8. How many email boxes I can create, is there any attachment size limitation?
    9. Account Upgrades. Is there any fee for upgrades? What is the cost of additional resources?
    10. What else can you tell me about your company and services? Why should I join you?


    I am very sorry for so much questions,
    but we have terrible experience with current company and we are looking to purchase 4 different accounts from you guys.

    John Webber
    [[ Reyox Communications / USA based cloud servers & support / 9 years of hosting websites ]]
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    31
    That is a very interesting e-mail. But after reading it, aren't all of these questions you would answer for potential customers anyway? In fact, if I had a hosting company, all of this information would probably be available in various parts of the website.

    I would give more generic responses (perhaps "See the About Us page, etc) for questions: 1, 5, 19.

    I understand that there's a potential for them gleaning some piece of information from your answers, but customers in general are putting lots more on the line (for example, a credit card number) and are going to occasionally ask tough questions.

    I guess the best way to get around that is to encourage your representatives to provide information based on FAQs, and then be sure to keep your FAQ up to date but containing only information you feel is not confidential.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Gotham City
    Posts
    1,849
    Thats the thing, for any good company this information is right on the website which makes it rather obvious the mail has been sent pointlessly.
    [[ Reyox Communications / USA based cloud servers & support / 9 years of hosting websites ]]
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    West Michigan, USA
    Posts
    9,675
    I'm not quite understanding the motives behind this and how it could cause problems for the host. I did get a few of those, from John Webber, and quickly realized it was suspicious...but I'm still not getting it. Can someone explain?

    --Tina
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    3,854
    Thanks for the heads up!
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    London, United Kingdom
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    4,362
    We get them regularly. And know that some of our "competitors" employ the "mystery shopper" method to try and get details, prices, nda's etc out of people.

    A recent one even went as far as to say "we've also been talking to xyz for this servce, why should I go with you instead" and it was from an email address of xyz !
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  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Seattle
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    I long deleted the e-mail that I received but it was slightly diffrent. It asked for a lot of information about the size of our company, datacenters, and inquired about our outside relationships.

    Same concept though.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by othellotech
    We get them regularly. And know that some of our "competitors" employ the "mystery shopper" method to try and get details, prices, nda's etc out of people.

    A recent one even went as far as to say "we've also been talking to xyz for this servce, why should I go with you instead" and it was from an email address of xyz !
    That's unbelievable! Everyone has a scheme.

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