Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lady Marmelady: Another in a Long Line of Bogus Russian Dating Sites

UPDATE (April 18th, 2010): A few things to add to this, since this remains a pretty popular and routinely discovered posting on this blog.

First: the spam promoting "Lady-Marmeladies.com" has mutated into spam that either is still promoting that bogus Russian dating setup or the more recent "marmeladies.com". That switch occured not long after I first posted this in January, and it appears that Marmeladies.com is the predominant spammed property.

Second: As of this April 19th update, the spam promoting these properties has not stopped, and in fact is now third or fourth in quantity compared to the well-known "Canadian Pharmacy" fake Russian pharmacy setup.

Predominantly Gmail recipients (but definitely many, many others) are continuing to receive massive, massive amounts of this spam, with most of it promoting the URL "littledatenow.com". This has been going on for several weeks promoting that specific URL. The predominant means this group is using to promote either "Lady Marmelady" or "Marmeladies.com" is via unwanted spam sent via botnet to most likely millions of email addresses, none of whom ever opted in.

Starting on Dec. 12th, I started receiving notices from numerous readers of this blog that yet another strain of ridiculous "Russian dating" spam had begun. (I also received a pretty large batch of it but I had to weed through spam logs to find them.)

I've decided to write this entry to outline what it is, because enough people were curious about it that I thought it was worth doing.

Here are a few examples of the ridiculously worded messages being sent in the hopes of enticing potential "mates" for these alleged "single Russian women" These are just from the past 24 hours.

Subject: Want to know what the real Russian girls love and warmth?

I want you now, tell me reciprocate and get me! A smart click

[Links to: http://cid-e96fb019c8ac25b9.spaces.live.com]

Subject: I can do for you is - what can not no girl!

Want to know what the real Russian girls love and warmth? Visit here

[Links to: http://cid-340515fcc8a5b596.spaces.live.com]

Subject: You have little joy in life? Lacks warmth and affection? Come to me.

I can do for you is - what can not no girl! Speed to come

[Links to: http://pprp.net/index.php?idAff=136&action=3]

Subject: Want to know what the real Russian girls love and warmth?

I sexual Russian blonde, want to see, come closer Knock here

[Links to: http://cid-5af57dfa325d5e11.spaces.live.com]

The MSN Live Spaces links (all reported, but they take a while to come down of course) link to the url "mdok.net".

Each of those MSN Live Spaces URL's feature the following image:

[Hosted on the same mdok.net domain, and named "Ebulk-Img.JPG".]

It only identifies the alleged "dating site" by the name of "Dating".

That image has extremely compressed copy. Clearly they don't seem to care that anyone might actually wish to read what it says before linking forward to the target URL. Here's the copy so it can be fed into search engines (I'm including it verbatim, I'm not altering anything the image contains.):

Welcome to the
Best russian brides online dating site.

Our clients who have already married Russian wives** illustrate better than anything the work we do.
We have been introducing single Russian women since 1997, and we are one of the oldest international marriage companies on the Internet.
What is there in Russian women than no one can fnid in women from other countries? Probably, if you decided to visit the site, you already know what women in your country lack. Russian women are undoubtedly beautiful and sexy, loyal and trustworthy, family-oriented and very feminine.
A great many websites on the Internet are dedicated to russian women marriage. However the number of these sites only makes it more difficult to find a real Russian wife. If this is not your first experience of dating russian women online or dating online at all, then you probably know that there are plenty of scams. You may read about them and - avoid them. I know a couple of sad stories about guys who have been disillusioned in any kind of online dating. Don't become one of them. Believe me, a lot of beautiful lonely women are really trying to find their second half on the Internet. You do have a wonderful opportunity to find your beloved and have a happy life where there will be no place for loneliness.
We represent only real women who are genuinely looking to marry a foreigner. I may assure you that we filter out the scammers and check all profiles. We are always aware if a woman is actively searching for her Mr. Right. We delete all inactive profiles, and you can be certain to find only real women on this site.

Wow. Just tugs at the heartstrings, doesn't it? Something which has always baffled me is when spam arrives with text that could only have been written with spam filter evasion in mind, and then links to a site which speaks to the visitor in the first person. If I received this message, I've clearly never heard of whoever it is that's promoting this rather obvious scam of a site, yet the idiots behind this assume I'm going to have the slightest interest in their fake-personal endorsement of this scam of a website. "I know a couple of sad stories", "Believe me", "I may assure you", etc.. Who is this "I" person? Why on earth would anyone take this seriously at all?

But I digress...

For the nerdier among you: That domain is registered using an address in - you guessed it - Estonia, hosted on IP address, which is - you're right again - hosted in China. DNS servers are ns2.datinghosting.net and ns1.datinghosting.com, both also hosted no that same IP. That domain was registered on Jan. 11th. (Yesterday.)

So: nothing terribly surprising so far. An anonymous website, called only "Dating" yet claiming to be "one of the oldest international marriage companies on the Internet" (Really? You registered this site yesterday.)

If you actually visit mdok.net, the goal of the site - no matter which of the "ladies" you click on - is to ultimately get you to register. I would be willing to wager that not one single piece of information presented to the user is genuine.

The title on all pages gives the user no idea whatsoever of what site they are actually registering for. The title on every page is "The best selection on Russian brides". The goal here appears to be to keep the actual brand of this site a secret from the user. The landing page shows a list of what appear to be professionally photographed models with the phrase "100% Checked" underneath the images. (Well that's certainly encouraging.) Clicking on an individual "lady" results in a pretty generic "description" of the model with the only link encouraging the user to "Contact me!"

Apparently this registration process has changed over the past three weeks. The original form featured both country, US state and city. The first people to report this to me mentioned this specifically because trying to actually find the city they wanted to enter was a wild goose chase due to the ridiculous method the programmers of these sites used to list the city names. (It started with some numerical code, and listed literally every known city in the US, in no particular order. Ingenious, really. I'm sure that ensured lots of new registrations.) The current one merely asks you for a username, first name, date of birth, country, email and a captcha value. It also features a checkbox stating "I agree with Terms of Use", but the link for the so-called "Terms of use" goes nowhere. Another red flag. (Stay far away.) Once again we have some real geniuses at work here.

Upon successfully posting the form, you are presented only with the following text:

Thanks for registration!

We'll let you know by email how to contact the ladies

Note that at no point does it ever pass forward any specific "lady"'s ID, even though all of the call-outs are to "Contact me!". At no point does it ever mention where you just registered. No real tangible information whatsoever. On the surface this seems to be an identity theft operation. (Note: as usual no SSL or other secure processing is in place at any point.)

Several individuals did a bit of legwork and created bait registrations to see where the trail led.

About two weeks after sending in their registration, they receive the following "welcome message":

From: info@w-rus.com
Subject: Your account details on www.lady-marmelady.com

Thank you for the registration on our site www.lady-marmelady.com.
Here your account details:
Your login is [#######]
Your password is [########]
E-mail of information service
Save or remember this information!

And look at the messages that start showing up immediately after that:

Dear [username]!

If you have problems with your site www.lady-marmelady.com and can't reach it or login there, you can always go to the site www.dmlogin.com and login to your account there with your login and password.

These ladies did not get any mails for the past 7 days.
We are sending you the list of active profiles (ladies that have been on the site this week) that have NOT received any mails in the last 7 days and that seem to meet your requirements for a partner.
If you like somebody, just click on the profile and write to them.

Also: within one day of the new registration being approved, "private messages" start arriving:

From: noreply@dmlogin.com
Subject: New Private Messages has arrived!

Please do not reply to this e-mail. Mail sent to this address cannot be answered. For replying use the links below or go to the site, login and answer your mail there.

If you have problems with your site www.lady-marmelady.com and can't reach it or login there, you can always go to the site www.dmlogin.com and login to your account there with your login and password.

Hello #######,

You have received a new private messages on www.lady-marmelady.com.

From raptornat 26y.o., 1 message(s), last message at 25-12-2009 08:15:08 GMT Read the letter(s)

To your account [##########]

If you've forgotten your password - write to us at info@dmlogin.com
If you don't want to receive such a message - correct your Account Settings at the site.

Huh? So I can login to either lady-marmelady.com or dmlogin.com?!

lady-marmelady.com was registered in Turkey using contact information from Moscow, Russia on Nov. 30th, 2009.
dmlogin.com was registered using contact information from St. Petersburg, Russia on Jan. 20th, 2009.

Neither of these is anywhere near being "the oldest international marriage companies on the Internet". Not even close.


In literally every case, the people who sent me this information claimed that all they had done was register, using bogus information and a newly created email address. They had not entered *any* information on the site itself. No photos. No personal details. No information about the user's height, weight, eye color or hair color: Nothing. And yet, starting the day after their registration was activated, each of the people who contacted me about this scummy operation claimed they were receiving anywhere from 3 - 5 new private messages a day, every single day.

Hey guess what? You can't read private messages without paying money to lady-marmelady.com.

Given that the initial contact regarding this whole setup claimed "you can be certain to find only real women on this site", this sounds extremely suspect. Genuine dating sites don't act like this one does. No normal human being on the other end of a dating site will contact someone without seeing the slightest hint of personal information. For anyone who had any doubts about whether this is a legitimate site or not, that right there should tell you: this is 100% fake.

Subsequent messages consistently claim that no fewer than a thousand new "ladies" have been "activated" on the site:

On our site www.lady-marmelady.com 1641 new ladies have been activated this week!

There are 1014 among them who match your criteria.

On our site www.lady-marmelady.com 1608 new ladies have been activated this week!

There are 993 among them who match your criteria.

On our site www.lady-marmelady.com 1086 new ladies have been activated this week!

There are 635 among them who match your criteria.

That's an average of from 58% to 63% who "match your criteria", despite these users never having logged into the site to set any such "criteria". Again: FAKE! Stay far away.

So who's responsible for this scam?

Messages sent to the user on behalf of lady-marmelady.com come from info@dmlogin.com. dmlogin.com appears to be a separate operation. Its affiliate program is: owndating.com (Registered in March, 2007)

The affiliate program for lady-marmelady.com is profitdating.com (registered in June, 2009)

Neither of these organizations has responded to numerous requests regarding why they use criminal spammers to promote their services. I wonder why?

Nutshell: yet another bunch of scammers from Russa. What else is new?

I would very strongly recommend against joining this scam of a site. (I guess that actually means: either of these sites. They can't even keep that part straight.)

I'm starting a counter to keep track of how many times someone from Russia is lying to the public at large. This sole example represents no fewer than 30 distinct lies, not including the repeated emails the individuals who brought this to my attention continue to receive. Much of the Russian individuals I hear from regularly via crap like this seem to have a pretty consistent track record of being outright liars.

Stay safe.

SiL / IKS / concerned citizen

P.S. I edited the last paragraph because some readers felt it was overly broad. Apologies to any non-criminal Russian citizens I may have offended.