I realise the title sounds sensational, like a clickbait newspaper headline, but sadly it’s an accurate title for this article, I had two police offers question me due to an SEO review!
On a cold Sunday night in December 2019, two Skegness police officers questioned me about harassing a Stephen Hall from Middlesbrough!
Before I get to the police questioning, a little history first, it’s complicated and spans a 5 year period!
An Unsolicited SPAM Email = Website SEO Review
On August 21st 2014 I received an unsolicited SPAM email to a @stallion-theme.co.uk email address (I own the domain).
The email SPAM was from a Middlesbrough Web Design Company by the name DLH Web Consultancy Ltd (https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/08239559) located at Boho One – F05, Bridge Street West, Middlesbrough, England TS2 1AE: owner Stephen Hall.
Note: The limited business DLH Web Consultancy Ltd has since closed.
I decided to share the SPAM email from DLH Web Consultancy Ltd as a single WordPress Comment in the form of an SEO review. I shared the SPAM email, gave my thoughts and quickly reviewed their business domain from an SEO perspective.
The comment was first added under this URL http://stallion-theme.co.uk/google-consultant/, this URL no longer exists, but you can view an updated version of the comment at https://seo-gold.com/web-consultancy-ltd-review/#comment-4879 (added a legal note due to the attacks by Stephen Hall) and you can also view the original comment at http://web.archive.org/web/20141024081221/http://stallion-theme.co.uk:80/google-consultant/ where it was independently archived: I have no control over the content on archive.org.
A Single WordPress Comment = Google Review SERPs = One Triggered Email SPAMMER
I’ve built a set of WordPress SEO features which means larger comments are indexable by Google and other search engines in their own right, they are treated like any other webpage.
The SEO comments output have a unique title tag so can be ranked for relevant Google SERPs and that’s what quickly happened with this simple review comment, it ranked for “DLH Web Consultancy Ltd Review” type SERPs.
On December 11th 2014 Elizabeth Mulligan (the unsolicited email SPAMMER) made a comment on my website. You can find the original comment (archived) at http://web.archive.org/web/20141215082044/http://stallion-theme.co.uk:80/google-consultant/, it’s currently located at DLH Web Consultancy Ltd Review Response.
I replied to the comment on the 12th of December 2014 and moved on.
Good Review SERPs = One Triggered Stephen Hall
On the 15th of December I noticed 5 Facebook direct messages from Stephen Hall (the owner of DLH Web Consultancy Ltd) dated 11th December 2014, the 5 Facebook messages were sent over a 32 minute time frame (first message 14:58, last message 15:30).
I shared a copy of the Facebook messages as a comment with title “Threatened with a Negative SEO Attack” including my reply.
I made a single reply via Facebook on the 15th of December.
Stephen Hall replied via Facebook around 5 hours later which I did NOT reply to.
Note: that’s the ONLY ‘direct’ contact I’ve had with Stephen Hall over the past 5 years, this is very important. I’ve had no other contact via Facebook, no email, no phone calls, no snail mail letters and have never met Stephen Hall in person.
I took a screenshot of the entire Facebook messages and shared them.
One Honest Mistake = Google Removing Review SERPs
Christmas 2014 came and went and I pretty much forgot about DLH Web Consultancy Ltd until in I believe October 2016 I noticed the domain owned by DLH Web Consultancy Ltd had changed it’s name: it had pretty much dropped the DLH part.
I WRONGLY assumed the owner had simply changed the name of the business from “DLH Web Consultancy Ltd” to “Web Consultancy Group Ltd” to avoid the negative SEO reviews. So I updated my comments to reflect what I thought was a simple business name change: see archived copies at http://web.archive.org/web/20161028023743/http://stallion-theme.co.uk:80/google-consultant/. At this point it was just a handful of comments.
I’d made the mistake of saying “DLH Web Consultancy Ltd” and “Web Consultancy Group Ltd” are the same business, they aren’t, they are in fact two separate limited businesses: this is very important.
What had actually happened is Stephen Hall had closed “DLH Web Consultancy Ltd” and renamed another limited business to “Web Consultancy Group Ltd” and had started trading web design services etc… under the new name.
Since legally “Web Consultancy Group Ltd” isn’t “DLH Web Consultancy Ltd” my updated comments were technically defaming “Web Consultancy Group Ltd”. Doh!
In November 2016 Stephen Hall made a successful Google defamation claim: though he did apparently lie, I never received any emails from him. Stephen Hall said he sent three emails in the defamation claim, maybe Middlesbrough police should ask to see the evidence he sent them, because I didn’t receive anything!
If he’s telling the truth he must have sent the three emails sometime in October 2016 or early November 2016: I’d bet he can’t prove he sent them. If he can I’ll happily admit I’m wrong, maybe my email software put them in the junk folder with the rest of the SPAM his unethical businesses kept illegally sending me!
Successful Defamation Claim = A Triggered SEO Expert
I was annoyed to say the least, a scumbag email SPAMMING business had managed to remove an honest negative website review.
I was finally triggered.
I fixed my mistake by making it clear legally “Web Consultancy Group Ltd” isn’t “DLH Web Consultancy Ltd”, they are two separate businesses owned by Stephen Hall.
Fortuitously I received MORE unsolicited email SPAM from “Web Consultancy Group Ltd”, that meant I could legitimately review the new business “Web Consultancy Group Ltd” as an unsolicited SPAM emailer, so I did. See my Web Consultancy Group Ltd Review.
This time I didn’t limit the Web Consultancy Group Ltd Review to simple WordPress comments, I upgraded my SEO, I moved to multiple full WordPress Posts with relevant optimized images and full on SEO spread over several domains: I easily dominated their business review SERPs and some non-review SERPs.
Since employees of Stephen Hall has sent me multiple unsolicited SPAM emails I also reported Web Consultancy Group Ltd to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) who deal with SPAM email: see Reporting Web Consultancy Group Ltd to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for Email SPAM.
I’ve reviewed plenty of business which have ‘wronged’ me in some way, treat me badly and I’ll review your business. If you don’t want an honest review, treat your customers etc better. This is the first time a business has truly ‘fought back’, every time Stephen Hall tried to damage my website or me, I put more effort into my SEO reviews.
Had he completely ignored the original comment I’d have forgotten about it, it was just a SPAM email after all, but he’s making it personal sending the police to my home!
If anything Stephen Hall is harassing me, multiple messages via Facebook, multiple unsolicited SPAM emails from his employees, misleading Google that he’d sent me three emails related to defamation and now wasting Middlesbrough police and Skegness police time in following up a spurious harassment claim!
I Know Visibility Group Ltd Exists
In August 2019 Stephen Hall started to trade web design services etc… under the business name “Visibility Group Ltd” (another separate limited business). I noticed this quite quickly, what I believe is a staff members called “Beth Web” had contacted me via Facebook on August 21st 2019.
Good morning David,
My name is Beth and I work at Web Consultancy. I’m writing hoping we can discuss the issue we have had in the past and your comments about us on – https://stallion-theme.co.uk/web-consultancy-ltd-review/
Looking over the whole situation, I can see how it escalated but I don’t think an issue several years in the past should continue to tarnish the present and future. I would really appreciate it if you could give me a little time so we can talk about it and hopefully agree a resolution.
Thank you – I look forward to hearing from you.
I’ve no idea if Beth Web actually works for Web Consultancy, but it got me checking the business out again and found that it looks like “Web Consultancy Group Ltd” is in the process of being closed (made dormant) and Stephen Hall looked set to trade under the new name “Visibility Group Ltd”.
I didn’t respond to Beth Web and did nothing (no new comments etc…).
On the 16th September 2019 there was a new comment Web Consultancy Group Ltd & Visibility Group Ltd are Owned by Stephen Hall by a “Mr. Wednesday” on one of my reviews. “Mr. Wednesday” wrote:
As an addendum to my comment, Web Consultancy have, once more, changed their identity. They are now going under Visibility Group Ltd. Add this to the pile of their other monikers.
“Mr. Wednesday” had made the same mistake I’d made, “Visibility Group Ltd” is NOT the same business as “Web Consultancy Group Ltd”, they are two separate limited business, both owned by Stephen hall, both offering web design services etc… in Middlesbrough.
Before approving the comment, I added a legal notice making it clear “Visibility Group Ltd” is NOT the same business as “Web Consultancy Group Ltd” so that my site didn’t again fall foul of a successful defamation claim!
That gets us roughly up to date until December 1st 2019 when two Skegness police officers questioned me regarding the harassment via Facebook of a Stephen Hall from Middlesbrough.
The Police Question Me
My wife and I were just heading out of the house (in Skegness) at about 9:30pm on Sunday December 1st and a Police van pulled up a little down the street. As we walked by a police officer stepped out and I said something like “hey, how’s it going?” and he replied with a similar pleasantry.
A few steps later we heard the police officer say something like “excuse me, do you live there?”, he was pointing at our home. I replied “yes” and we walked back towards the two police officers to find out what they wanted.
They confirmed who I was (David Law) and asked if I had a couple of minutes to chat. I was happy to chat on the street, but they wanted to talk off the street, so we went on our property.
One of the police officers asked me if I knew a “Stephen Hall from Middlesbrough?”.
My first response was, “who?”, until I realised it was related to my Web Consultancy Group LTD Review which is owned by a Stephen Hall from Middlesbrough.
The two Skegness based police officers explained Middlesbrough police had received a complaint I’d been harassing a Stephen Hall from Middlesbrough. They explained they’d (the two Skegness police officers) weren’t part of the investigation (they knew nothing really), they were pretty much passing on a message from the Middlesbrough police force related to online harassment via Facebook.
Seems Stephen Hall has made a spurious complaint that I’m harassing him via Facebook or possibly the information passed on from the Middlesbrough police force had been misunderstood: there’s been no Facebook contact for 5 years (see earlier).
I explained roughly what had happened, but it was clear the two police officers didn’t understand much of what I was describing: for example they’d never heard of SEO. Their job was basically pass on a message from Middlesbrough police and that was it really. It’s a shame the police officers had to waste their valuable time talking to me!
I gave the two Skegness police officers my telephone number to pass on to the Middlesbrough police in case they have any questions: I have nothing to hide, I’ve done nothing wrong.
A few days ago as part of a planned merger of content (I’m moving all the SEO content here) I moved one of the Stephen Hall business review articles from a WordPress theme domain to this SEO Gold domain. When I move content I always update/improve and I guess Stephen Hall noticed better or new Google rankings (I haven’t had time to check yet).
I suspect moving the content here resulted in the spurious police complaint by Stephen Hall!
Stephen, when you read this remember each time you escalate this it gets worse for your business SERPs. Had you taken my first comment on the chin (your business uses unethical unsolicited SPAM email, that’s a fact) I’d have probably forgot about you and your business by now and your last two businesses wouldn’t have been caught up in this.
Stephen, you are the bad guy in this story, accept it and move on.
- Your company SPAM emailed me multiple times
- I reviewed the SPAM in one comment
- You threatened and carried out a negative SEO attack
- I add more comments
- You misled Google to get a defamation claim: you NEVER emailed me!
- I moved from comments to full WordPress Blog Posts on multiple sites dominating your SERPs
- You make a spurious harassment claim to the police
- I make this WordPress Post and update other articles to include Visibility Group Ltd SERPs
What will Stephen Hall do next?
I hope he stops attacking me, I’d rather be targeting money SERPs than worthless Middlesbrough web design SERPs: that will be my next step!