is Behind the Topsites Scam and Spam?
Part 2: Correspondence
3: Topsites Uncovered
4: More Topsites Scams and Lies
Part 5: Topsites
6: For Sale: Topsites.us / Topsites LLC
Updated November 19th 2004 ---
Topsites spam comes from
two "names" within Topsites LLC, firstly there
is "Paul Thomas", who is the name on the spam
emails from the first year or so. Secondly, there
is "John Kennedy" who started to appear on
the spam from about mid-2003.
Topsites LLC's "official" contact details
PO Box 7334 - 101591,
The address is Post Office box located at 1300 Evans
Avenue, San Fransisco with an alternate number of +1
(415) 294 5300. The San Francisco address
also appears on Topsites LLC's W9
tax form, indicating a FEIN (Tax ID) number of 980378607.
Back in November 2002 it was:
Master, Web email@example.com
Hills Dr. #140
Sioux City, IA 51106-4735
This too is a box number as far as we
can tell and doesn't appear to have been used in some
For a while Topsites LLC was registered to an accommodation
address in Cupertino which was was rented accommodation, and
unfortunately the owners of the household have had some
problems because of their relationship with their tenants.
The tenants were listed Paul Aunger and Namrata Aunger,
the owners of the household do not want to be identified,
and it appears that Topsites no longer operate from
that address in Cupertino.
Topsites LLC have a pattern of using innocent third
parties either for bill processing or for accommodation
There are also two billing services, one in Kansas
City, Missouri and the other one in Shannon, Ireland.
These are independent of Topsites LLC and appear to
be completely innocent parties. Their current billing
agent operates from the following address:
The Better Business
Bureau shows this as the current address for Topsites LLC:
Top Sites LLC
PO Box 7334-101591
An examination into "Paul Thomas" shows
that he is a former editor of the Open Directory,
dating back from early 2001. Although it's difficult
to see what he contributed during his time as an editor,
it does appear that the commercial potential of the
ODP data was not lost on him.
However, there's a little more to the characters
behind Topsites LLC.
"Paul Thomas" (real name - Paul Aunger)
Claiming to be a Canadian Citizen, Paul Aunger rented
a luxury household in Cupertino in about 2002 where
he lived with his wife, Namrata Aunger. This Cupertino
address was registered with the Better Business Bureau.
Recently, the Aungers have moved out and the original
owners have moved back in. Unfortunately, due to the
multi-million dollar spam business that had previously
been registered at that address, the actual owners have
been receiving some unwanted attention.
Using the Paul Thomas pseudonym, he was briefly an
editor at the Open
Directory Project as editor paul23 from October
2000 - not long enough to make any contribution, but
long enough to see the commercial benefits of attempting
to resell the vast (and free) ODP database.
In the Summer of 2002 he started spamming for the
Topsites.us site, which is described on other
pages and has been doing the same for almost two
years. We have reason to believe that Topsites LLC has
earned at least $500,000 to $1,000,000 dollars through
these operations. IRS and lawyers take note.
We understand that Paul Aunger's direct cellular
telephone number is +1 650 575 1228. Real email
address is firstname.lastname@example.org
"John Kennedy" (real name - Somnath Bharti)
other half of the Topsites LLC spam duo, based in New
Delhi and using a pseudonym of a well-known assassinated
president of the United States (we assume he thought
it was "nicely inconspicuous" - like Ford
Somnath Bharti describes himself as the CEO of Topsites
LLC. Unfortunately, he appears to work in a basement:
He lists his business number as +91 11 51831049,
mobile +91 98 11154636 fax +91 11 26599126 and residential
number as +91 11 26676111, personal email address is
- if you live in India and you are trying to get a refund,
then these are the contact details to try.
- Updated 14th November 2004
Somnath Bharti denies having anything to do with
the Topsites operation:
Subject: surprising and serious
From: Somnath <email@example.com>
I was taken by surprise to find you listing my name, one of my
properties address and my picture in an article on a company named
"TopSites LLC" on your site. I don't know on what basis you have been
talking so emphatic without cross verifying with the person you are
talking about. To my utter surprise, you have been having this article
on your site accusing me of being related to a company I have heard
only through your article. Please have the same removed ASAP and
explain to me what made you write all this about a person, not even
remotely attached to any such company.
Please acknowledge of this email and have any and everything related
my name, my pic and c-28 address removed. I am available at
+91-9891819893, if you have anything to talk about. Also, post on the
same page an apology for this grievous mistake on your part.
In this email Somnath Bharti confirms that the "C-28"
address is valid. However, if you check this spam
report in Google Groups, you can see that a Somnath
Bharti of the same address is listed as a contact for
the domain www--directory.net which is clearly
a Topsites operation. There are several other reports
linking a Somnath Bharti to Topsites (see here)
some of them mentioning the same "C-28"
address. So, the evidence from multiple sources seems
to be conclusive.
Oh yes, here is Mr Bharti's business card (we apologise
for the wonky angle):
We leave you to draw your own conclusions about Mr
Two new addresses emerged in October 2003, one of
which ties in the Indian connection. Mr Ashok claims
that he is not related to the Topsites spamming operation,
although we believe him to be a business associate of
Somnath Bharti who certainly is part of Topsites
LLC. We challenged Mr Ashok with the evidence by email
and he has declined to reply. The Oregon address is
yet another post office box number as far as we can
Magnum Solutions Private Limited
Greater Kailash Part II
+91 11 6234940, 6234941
fax: +91 11 6440109
946 NW CIRCLE
What is there still to know about Topsites LLC?
What is there still to know? Well, tax records might
be interesting to look at, especially since we know
that the scam has netted at least half a million dollars.
We've spoken to some of Topsites employees in detail
and we feel that the bread-and-butter staff are not
being told the whole truth. We can see clear violations
of California state law too. Watch this space - you
can be sure that Topsites are!
Part 3: Topsites uncovered