in Meddling, MT.Net

Bot sends email with U.S. News links. Wut?

I got this unsolicited email two days ago from someone purportedly from U.S. News and World Report, asking if I would post some links to their site. The links provided appear to be legit and the message headers do, too. The one thing that looks out of place is the date of the domain registration for, which is a recent May 2017.

The link the email goes to a post of a Mitt Romney story in Rolling Stone to which I added exactly zero of my own commentary. Hardly anything that would “really stand out!” So, it appears a keyword search found the word debt in my post (or title) and that’s why this post was chosen.

Ashley McNamara does not appear in other Internet searches, nor on LinkedIn as far as I can tell. Oh, and there was never any “email sent a few weeks ago.” There never is.

I checked my webserver logs back to the start of the month and the only thing that’s touched that link since Christmas are bots: mostly Google, but ones called Semrush (, BLEXbot (, CommonCrawl (, and AwarioRssBot (, too.

Guessing this email came from a bot of some sort but I’m not sure of the endgame. What do y’all think? What’s the hustle here?

Hi Mark,

I wanted to follow up with you about an email I had sent a few weeks ago, did you get a chance to review it? It’s attached below just in case you needed it again. Let me know if you have any questions!

From: Ashley
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2018 14:50:43 -0800
Subject: Following up on my previous email – financial literacy resources and information
To: Mark Turner

Hi Mark,

I wanted to connect with you because I saw all your resources and information on your website, like the ones found here ( and it really stood out to us here at U.S. News & World Report! We really appreciated all the insights and tips you are able to provide to you readers and are hoping that you might be interested in additional financial literacy resources. Perhaps this is something you might want share with your readers?

Our team here at U.S. News & World Report recently created a guide that breakdowns when a secure credit card makes sense for consumers, how they work as well as their benefits. – I think your readers would find it beneficial!

You can see our work here:

Your website provided such amazing resource and I thought our guide would be great supplemental information for your readers! Would you be interested in mentioning our guide on your site?

Please let me know if this is something you would be interested in discussing further. I can be reached at

Thank you for your consideration,

Ashley McNamara
Outreach Associate working with U.S. News & World Report

  1. I think it is not from google, semrush, blexbot and awario, because the last 3 are the white software Semrush, SEO Power Suite and Awario

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