Rose DesRochers – World Outside my Window

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Rose DesRochers – World Outside my Window

Advertising company Gr-Ads-Something Smells Fishy

May 27th, 2008 by Rose DesRochers · 35 Comments

Has anyone heard of the advertising company GrassRoots Advertising On May 23rd, Sarah Raymond contacted me regarding placing an ad on She was offering me $25.00 to a place a link on my site, which is our rate for one month advertising. In a reply, to her email I informed her that $25.00 for one month advertising would be fine and where she could make payment.

That was four days ago. Today she contacts me by email informing me that she wishes to place 23 different text ads on my domain on 23 different pages for $475 dollars. She went on to say that unfortunately,
she could not afford to pay us per month so she was hoping I would accept the $475 dollars for one year of placement.

In reply to her email, I told her that she must be kidding and that she should find another sucker.

She then emailed me offering me $525 dollars for 6 months of placement of all 23 ads.

What of $25.00 per month per link can’t she understand? I’m willing to barter advertising, but this chick is really trying to stick it to me.

Something smells fishy. I decided to check out their website and some of their employees must be moonlighting as models. Katie Donahue photo looks very familiar. I wish I could remember what stock photo site I saw it on. Come to think of it Lauren Kiedis photo looks familiar too. Wait all these photos do.

Anyone want to take a guess on what stock photo website they are from?

I sent a nice reply to Sarah’s email and I don’t anticipate she will be trying to negotiate an advertising deal now.

My reply to Sarah:

Sarah, (If that is even your real name)

If you can’t afford to pay us 3450 for 23 ads placed on our site for six
months than you can’t afford advertising with us. The cost for
advertising on our site is $25.00 a month or $150.00 for six months.

I did not like your proposal and you know what else I did not like?

The website gr-ads appear to be full of fake employee profiles. All the
photos in the employee section looks to be photos taken from a stock
photo website.

The website gr-ads also states the business launched in 2004 yet the
domain was not registered until 2007.

She thanked me for my time and that was that.

It comes as no surprise, but is on a spam block list offered by Neil Van Dyke (

Sometimes when you have a hunch, you are right.

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Rose wears many hats. She's a wife, mother, respite worker, proud shih-tzu owner, blogger, published poet, freelance writer, as well as the owner and administrator of Today's Writing Community and Blogger Talk Blogging Community. Feel free to contact her with any questions you may have.Rose DesRochers has 1019 post(s) at Rose DesRochers – World Outside My Window

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35 responses so far ↓

  • GaryJay
    Wrote: May 27, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    Being a retired dude—barely coping with the advance of the use of the internet, no way am I gonna comment on your customers offer—but sounds kinda cheap to me, not an offer you should accept.—but I don’t know what I am talking about so —there ya are.

  • Martin
    Wrote: Jun 3, 2008 at 7:21 am

    Funnily enough I have just received exactly the same offer. Initially an ad on one page and now on many.
    The photo profiles are obviously stock photos. Either that or the two fat guys are the luckiest men on the planet 🙂

  • M
    Wrote: Jun 12, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    I was contacted by christina at and she wanted me to edit my posts to put ad links in, but not label them as ‘ads’ or ‘sponsor’ or ‘links’. For me that would be wrong, sort of like lying to my readers.
    Also it was VERY fishy. I blog about very local topics, and she wanted me to have ads for housing in an area several time zones away.

  • Snakecharmer
    Wrote: Jun 17, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    I was contacted by a Katie Donahue today and this is what she said:

    Hey,I was actually not surprised to read that a lot of sufferers of PTSD are drug abusers. I would like to buy an ad on your site for a rehab company. I would like to place the add on:
    I can offer you around $30.00 for this ad. Do you have PayPal or would you prefer a check? Thanks!
    Katie Donahue:-)

    Well I replied to her and have not heard from her as of yet. This is my reply:

    I do not sell space on my site. Send me the link to your site and I will look it over and if I feel that it may help some vets, then I will add it.

    So I started surfing the net for the site and that is how I got here…lol 😛

  • wendy
    Wrote: Jun 23, 2008 at 9:47 am

    I almost fell for this too; a Kristen Romero with the email> contacted me and asked me to place these two shitty ads – really poorly worded – on my blog for $100. One about a fly fishing trip and another about hotel deals.Yeah right…
    I think they are working out of Nicosia in Cyprus as thats the location which showed up on my feedjit at the time she viewed my site.

  • wendy
    Wrote: Jun 23, 2008 at 9:55 am

    And as a foot note, this is her reply when you let them know you’re onto them…

    “I assure you there is no scam… lol

    I have done business with MANY people with advertising and as unfortunate as it might be that we are unable to do business because of recent changes in company policy but that doesn’t make me, or my company, “scammers” “

  • michelle
    Wrote: Jun 23, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Hi, I got ads from them before. For a small blogger like me, that’s a huge amount. So I have no complaint. Btw, those photos of the ladies are real. I think they are studio photos, photoshop. Everyone will look pretty after being photoshop. I know one of the employees personally (a very good friend of mine) and Gr-ads is not a scam. 😀

  • ShangNing
    Wrote: Jun 23, 2008 at 10:37 am

    My friend got the email from Gr Ads too, he told me that he has been got the money via PayPal.

    I searched about Gr, it is a company that buy/sell inner text link on blogs, but normal, it cost about 25 US dollars per links.

    You have a great blog, because your links worth more than 25 US dollars. I hope someone buy my blog’s links too 🙁

  • Pittaya
    Wrote: Jun 23, 2008 at 10:44 am

    I was contacted by too. I think selling space for advertising on the Internet is common. If the advertising is illegal, I will not accept the offer. Why do you care much about fake employee profiles? Nowadays, people are wearing a mask in business world. 😀

  • Marina
    Wrote: Jun 23, 2008 at 10:54 am

    I was approached by the same company a few months back and was quite happy with the set-up and to be frank, it may not be for everyone but it worked for me at the time!

  • wendy
    Wrote: Jun 23, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Nope I was wrong – they are in Albany, New York.

  • Jon
    Wrote: Jun 23, 2008 at 11:11 am

    I dealt with Kristen from Grass Roots Advertising last month, and found her forthright and honest in placing ads on my Maui information website at I did not have any problem negotiating a price with her. And she immediatly paid me when I placed the ads that she ordered on my site.

    I don’t think you have anything to complain about. It was a simple negotiation, she offered you less than your normal price, you turned down her offer, so you didn’t place their ads and that was that. It’s not as if you placed her ads and she failed to pay you. It was you, not her, that turned down the contract. I see nothing wrong with people trying to negotiate prices, nothing wrong with a potential buyer offering a lower price for anything, and nothing wrong with either party deciding not to do business if the two of you cannot reach agreement on a price.

    My experience dealing with Grass Roots Advertising was excellent.

  • jaXed
    Wrote: Jun 23, 2008 at 11:54 am

    I’ve used on my blog with no issues. In fact, the way they do ads is refreshing IMHO. Just my opinion.

  • Kristen
    Wrote: Jun 23, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    heres another cute one with me sarah and jen

    Its ok you can keep bashing us and our company we don’t mind 🙄

  • Jose Anes
    Wrote: Jun 23, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Those people happen to be clients of a website I maintain.

    The business relationship has been good with them. They did delivered the payment as promised.

    There are a few interesting points I am reading on this string of e-mails, and I think that it is bashing too much the advertisers:

    1) On Advertisement Fees: The actual price people pay for an advertisement is dependent on what the publisher and the advertiser can agree on. If the publisher and the advertiser can’t agree on a business transaction, they should not go forward with it. Nothing wrong for a publisher to increase their price, and nothing wrong with the advertiser to try a low-ball advertising offer.

    2) On Advertisement Markings: I had the same discussion with this advertiser. I needed to differentiate between my content and theirs. So I separated the content with a line (hr tag) and a GIF file that says “Sponsored Content”. It worked nicely.

    3) Name and Identities of Customer Representative: I did noticed that they tend to use women’s names and very pretty pictures for the women they show as company employees. I do not know if they are real or not, and I do not care. This wouldn’t be different from when we call Technical Support and we get a customer representative based out of India that tells us on the phone he is called ‘Bob’. Looks, names, race, or gender should not influence our business decision. As long as the money gets deposited on the account, I do not care who I deal with.

  • wendy
    Wrote: Jun 23, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Oh my god, these people are desperate…they are now bombarding this site with false statements…GRAB THEIR ISP’s!!!

    Here’s my post on these criminals…

    Site owners beware: Advertising are a CON !

    Looks like they are panicking…!

  • Jon
    Wrote: Jun 23, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Kristen from Grass Roots Advertising bought some ads on my Maui Vacations website, and paid me immediately. The company was honest and forthright in their dealings with me.

    I posted a longer post about how good it was to work with Grass Roots a couple hours ago, but it has not appeared on this blog. Do they reject comments that disagree with them?

  • Rose DesRochers
    Wrote: Jun 23, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Martin- LOL

    John, they’re spammers with fake profiles. As for your longer comment: It’s above. Comments are monitored on this blog and I don’t sit right at my computer waiting for comments.

    Marina that’s nice.

    Pittaya, there are plenty of examples of companies that use photos of their own employees and get TRUSTED results.

    JaXed thanks for your opinion.

    Jose, it is nice to hear that they do follow through on payment even if they pay below the going rate. I happen to care that they use fake profiles that is why I blogged about my experience with them.

    Wendy I noticed the increase in traffic to this post. They must be sending people here.

    Michelle the photos are real, but not of them. They are from stock photo sites. No where did I say they were a scam. You used the word ???scam” not me.

    Kristen thanks for providing proof that the apparent photo of you on is a stock photo. Bashing? I’m sharing my opinion of your company.

  • wendy
    Wrote: Jun 23, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    I have reported them to their ISP for fraudulent activities.

    The emails ‘Kirsten’ has sent me are a complete joke. And now, all of a sudden, these ‘happy customers’ show up right after I tell them they have been sprung.

    Power to the people!!

  • gr-adh8r
    Wrote: Jun 23, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Suzanne Whitney

    and Cute Redhead Stock Photo

    ‘nuf said

  • Rose DesRochers
    Wrote: Jun 23, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Thanks GR

    Lauren Kiedis

    Girl in a library

  • 1earth
    Wrote: Jun 25, 2008 at 4:53 am

    I too can write a positive comment about Kristen and – because I did some links and got paid, no worries.

    But sure, there’s something fishy with their website. I asked some questions in this article on my site, but the truth is, it’s hard to tell if they’re scammers or not.

    Kristen asked me to put in a good word for her here too – like she must have everyone else who left positive comments here.

  • wendy
    Wrote: Jun 25, 2008 at 11:26 am

    Any company who operates with a reputation built on legitimate practices should not need to get people to post ‘positive remarks’ about them anywhere – if they were legit they wouldn’t be getting such bad publicity. You have only to read their emails to see how amateurish their whole operation is. Their reputation should speak for itself – and it does!

  • Mitch Brisebois
    Wrote: Jun 25, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    I’ve written about GR-Ads sister scam site GrounpUpAdvertising ( – the fake employee profiles are hilarious! And commentator “Michelle” claims to know these ladies! BTW – here’s one of GR-Ads employees Amy Callanhan… in her part time, she’s a model for a european jewelry company!

  • Nancy
    Wrote: Jul 14, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    i was approached by
    and some of the names on their employee profiles are the same as employees
    that’s how i ended up here on your page, i was googling their names to find more info

    but bridgeofknowledge has NO info, profiles with no pics and really dont say much at all about who they are or what they are selling

    she offered me $5 to review the links and $45 to post them on my bio page connecting them to words and leave them up for a year…$45 for a whole year! would i like that via paypal or a check? woohoo i’m rich bi-atch!

    i wrote said Melinda Hathaway saying, please give me more info, sure i’ll review your links, but if this is religious i would not be interested

    it’s been many hours and i haven’t heard anything back

    i may writer her again just to get a response

    i’m not a blogger, i’m a musician, and my website gets hardly any traffic so i’ve no idea what they want from me

    thanks for your post!

  • Rose DesRochers
    Wrote: Jul 14, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Nancy, from the whois info was registered on July 8th.

    Hmm, my guess is that it is GR-Ads ads operating under a knew name.

  • wendy
    Wrote: Jul 14, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    Nancy, maybe it is best not to correspond with them – that gives them your email and could open you up to other scammers doing the same.

  • 1Earth
    Wrote: Jul 15, 2008 at 10:41 am

    So Wendy, what is exactly is the scam? You keep on saying scam-scam-scam, but you never say how or what the scam is. I’m itching to know.

  • Rose DesRochers
    Wrote: Jul 15, 2008 at 11:03 am

    1earth I was going to comment on your post, but it is returning a 404 – Not Found. 😥

  • 1Earth
    Wrote: Jul 15, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Thanks Rose, I’m upgrading to WordPress 2.6 and you having some issues. Should be up and running in the next 20 minutes.

  • wendy
    Wrote: Jul 16, 2008 at 3:10 am

    Whoever these people are they are definitely not legit; collecting valid email addresses is one way that spam/junk mail firms use to invade both your privacy and your inbox. They email you, you email back and there you go – you’re on the list for more crap. The overwhelming evidence supports the fact that GR-ads and their intentions/practices are totally false – and yes – scams.

  • wendy
    Wrote: Jul 16, 2008 at 3:19 am

    Rose, I think these ‘defenders’ of Kirstens honour should provide us with the url’s to to the pages where they posted these supposed ‘ads’. Give us proof – show us the links guys!

  • wendy
    Wrote: Jul 16, 2008 at 3:25 am

    Plus a screenshot of the paypal payment notice – personal details blanked out of course – showing the amount paid and the source of the payment would give 1Earth some credibility too…

  • Miqel
    Wrote: Aug 23, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Hi Rose!
    I’ve been researching this scam for a week after being contacted by a “Darcy” from about placing an ad on my site.

    With the help of your blog & the others posting on this topic, I believe i’ve solved the puzzle of what is a 3-fold pagerank scam, found yet another ‘clone’ site and identified those at the top of the pyramid and who they REALLY work for.

    The short version is: the ‘bottom level’ link finders recruit and pay you small amounts (using false identities & untraceable companies)
    to unknowingly help scam clients of the ‘top level’ business by adding spammy paid-links
    (padded with 2 other .gov and .edu links),
    The SEO clients are assured they are getting transparent & ethical ‘organic’ linking services at a price of around $6000.00 … or MORE, When in fact the SEO Companies I have identified are using shadow companies, deceptive marketing practices, fraudulent identities and bloggers to purchase the links for the purpose of spamming Google’s PageRank system and lying to their SEO clients about how it’s done. All the ‘top level’ SEO companies are owned by Jim Boykin, who also owns the company the link payments come from and coaches sessions on paid-link baiting.

    Here’s a link to the full Autopsy:

  • some guy
    Wrote: Dec 26, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    I know this is way old but I’ll blab about it anyway.

    They are shady indeed, but I figured what do I have to lose, so I threw up their links (like you said, they wanted to place several ads on several pages and offered a few hundred). I put them up for one year.

    They paid me via paypal as soon as the links went up and I’ve never had a problem since.

    I would not do it again, but it’s not a total scam. Just a bit scammy. I don’t understand why they don’t just be honest, because they’re obviously pretty clever and have to be making a ton of money.