Link request mistakes…

Sometimes you get email from people asking you for a link, and their requests just demand that you out them… I’ve decided that from now on, everyone who emails me with a stupid link request e-mail, which shows that they did not look at my site for longer than 1 minute, will get a blogpost, without any links, and with the full copy of their e-mail, including their names. I hope Matt does something nice with them. This is the first:


I recently came across your blog: while I was looking for good blogs to link to from the website I am trying to link to blogs that my visitors might like to visit once they are finished on the site.

Since is visited by 1,000s of people daily, I am sure many of them would be interested in visiting your blog. I figured since we are not competitors in any way, you wouldn’t mind if I link to your website. Please email me back and let me know if this is OK with you. Would it be possible for you to link back to my website Please let me know. Thanks.


Now, it won’t surprise you, that I do not own, and that this is an extremely bad way of asking me for a link… I hardly ever link out to people I don’t know unless they’ve written something link worthy, and if she had really taken taken the time to look into my blog she could have guessed that.

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35 Responses

  1. Karel GeenenBy Karel Geenen on 14 January, 2008

    I am familiar with this problem Joost. Although I think when you blog in English like you do there are more requests like these…

    Anyway, wanna trade links? I already have your link on my blogroll ;-)

  2. joeBy joe on 14 January, 2008

    Man, just think how many backlinks must have out there!

  3. TzuVelliBy TzuVelli on 14 January, 2008

    I didn’t realize people still made link requests like that. It’s kind of funny actually.

  4. BenBy Ben on 14 January, 2008

    I guess my site just does not get the traffic yours does, cause so far I haven’t had anyone request a link. Having said that, now I will probably get a bunch of crappy requests like your example.

  5. Dennis GBy Dennis G on 14 January, 2008

    I wished I was the proud owner of
    The fun stuff you can do with that domain…

    “Hi, I’m the owner of no really, I AM the owner of…”

  6. jasonBy jason on 14 January, 2008

    So you’re telling me that you don’t own!? Well… what site did I visit?

    Ha ha… How funny Joost… Good stuff!… as always.

  7. Michael ClarkBy Michael Clark on 14 January, 2008

    Doesn’t giving the spammer any exposure at all help them more than it hurts them? If anything you should also publish their email address so that other people can get in touch with them in case they wanted to exchange links as well.

  8. CBRBy CBR on 14 January, 2008

    Link trading is so very much 1999 – wake up and learn correct online marketing ladies.

  9. Peter van der GraafBy Peter van der Graaf on 14 January, 2008

    I have terrible news here! This horrible link requesting works!

    I tested many linkbuilding services that used people from India and China, housewives and students. Those often send very simular emails (except with the substituted) and they have a very high successfactor.

    The problem is that many webmasters fall for tricks that include “a seemingly unfair trade that is positive to them”, “ego boosts”, “an unfair advantage against their main competitor” and many more.

    The format of a link request is very important and it should be targeted at that specific website owner. But using standard tricks in those emails does still work. Apparently just not with SEO’s ;)

  10. StijnBy Stijn on 14 January, 2008

    That’s why it’s called link whoring.

    There was this Dutch guy (no, it wasn’t Joost) that kept requesting that I link to his weblog. He would send a similar request each month, and the longer it the more it sounded like he was begging. His content was ok, but not completely my cup of tea. My blogroll has expanded and contracted over the years. These days it takes a lot for a new weblog to end up there without considerable effort.

  11. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 14 January, 2008

    @Karel: to be honest, I just have a link in my blogroll to people who are either real life friends and/or family, or those who have helped me considerably in one way or another.

    @joe: yeah, good it can’t be sold :)

    @TzuVelli: I get 2-3 a day most of the time, and if this woman would have replaced with my domain, I’d probably have ignored this one like all the others.

    @Ben: it grows together with PageRank and Technorati Authority, I’m afraid…

    @Dennis: hehe, well, it could never be, luckily.

    @Jason: thx :)

    @Michael: this hurts them more I’d guess, as long as Matt is reading it ;)

    @CBR: well… see the comment below yours. You know I’m not even really against link buying or trading, I’d just wish people were a bit more professional.

    @Peter: I bet it works… It’s just that stupid mistakes like NOT replacing get me aggravated, at least they should show some REAL interest in my domain.

    @Stijn: yeah I know, have a couple of those two… Or people getting insulted when I just say no, because “they have commented twice and deserve a link”. Sigh, ah well…

  12. Sam I AmBy Sam I Am on 14 January, 2008

    Had one the other day that was really sheer genius. I was thinking about publishing it live since it’s bound to get hundreds of webmasters actually linking to the site too. Firstly, it was automated, but I dare say 99% of site owners wouldn’t pick up on it. Secondly, it offered links within the copy of a page because you know, G can figure out those others these days (G only has themselves to blame for where this is going to end up!). Thirdly, you had to link back to a money page deep in their site whereas their link to you was to a relatively obscure content page.

    Still, how it was brought was really pretty smart. Focus on similar content on pages listed etc. Some smart SEO behind that link building program I’d say, but we’ll probably be seeing that email format coming through a lot going forward.

  13. RoyBy Roy on 14 January, 2008

    Well Peter, I think the principle: “if you throw enough shit at the wall, something will eventually stick” is right. If spam didn’t work, it wouldn’t be send.

  14. martijnBy martijn on 14 January, 2008

    be careful on those emails. there is still something as secrecy of letter, which also applies to communication over the internet.

  15. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 14 January, 2008

    @Martijn: AFAIK, although IANAL, that is only true if I were NOT the recipient. However, because I’m the recipient, I am free to do with this what I want, unless the author would claim copyright. In which case I would say that he was sending unsolicited e-mail to an individual, which is spam under the Dutch law.

  16. martijnBy martijn on 14 January, 2008

    @joost: OK you’re right on that one. I am updating signatures (adding a notice) as we speak ;)

  17. RobBy Rob on 14 January, 2008

    Reciprocal linking is a waste of time as well. It has to be natural linking or nothing at all.

  18. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 14 January, 2008

    @Rob: well… some might argue with you on that.

  19. Ron@TheWisdomJournalBy Ron@TheWisdomJournal on 14 January, 2008

    At the risk of sounding like a newbie, wait a minute, I AM a newbie,

    You told us the wrong way to make a link request, but what would you consider the right way?

    I need all the help I can get.


  20. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 14 January, 2008

    @Ron: at least make sure you KNOW to whom your sending an email, and give them something that’s appropriate to them. If you read my blog, you know which content I find interesting, and you could write something to make me link to that.

  21. Daan JansoniusBy Daan Jansonius on 14 January, 2008

    IANAL – interresting abbreviation ;)

    Name and shame Joost, name and shame.

    I suppose being an obscure blogger does have its advantages – I dont get these clowns bugging me…

  22. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 14 January, 2008

    @Daan: it is one of the lesser parts of becoming a better known blogger.

  23. Ron@TheWisdomJournalBy Ron@TheWisdomJournal on 14 January, 2008

    Thanks, I’ll be sure and keep that in mind. As a new blogger, sometimes I don’t know proper blogging etiquette and the last thing I want is to have someone trashing me.

  24. RobBy Rob on 14 January, 2008

    @ Joost – My point was people ‘out of the blue’ blanket emailing webmasters requesting reciprocal links when their site content is totally unrelated to yours/mine will eventually look dubious.

  25. Case StevensBy Case Stevens on 19 January, 2008

    So, dear Joost, after reading all those highly intelligent posts of yours, and you being such a nice guy, shall we exchange links now? Huh Joost, huh?

  26. informioBy informio on 19 January, 2008

    Thanks for all the info. I’ve bookmarked your page and maybe one day I’ll stop being such a seonoob, lol.

  27. Jim LeeBy Jim Lee on 21 January, 2008

    There’s an interesting and highly informative article I read some time ago on this subject…

    It gets into the psychology of link-exchanges, plus some great strategies for dealing with this issue.


  28. Drew StaufferBy Drew Stauffer on 6 February, 2008

    I got an email the other day asking for a link and the person told me that they had a very small budget and was only willing to pay me $5.

    They demanded that the link stay on my site for a year, or longer if I liked.

    They didn’t beat around the bush with pleasant talk or anything like that. They just got right to the point.

    After reading the email all I could think was, “what an a*$hole”

  29. Trade Show DisplaysBy Trade Show Displays on 22 February, 2008

    SEO is all about keywords and backlinks but manners and common sense should prevail.

  30. Eran @ Perth SEOBy Eran @ Perth SEO on 29 May, 2008

    Hi Joost, from Western Australia.

    Timing being everything, I had a good laugh at this post, because I had just finished responding to some recipricol link requests sent to one of my SEO clients.

    It’s quite amazing how STUPID some of these people are, with what they write in their emails…

    The best one today was from a site with no PR, and no pages listed in Google or Yahoo (nor any links) that looks like they might have actually been kicked out of the SE index…

    Her 2 line email said:

    “I would like to exchange links. I feel that your website will compliment my website. I would appreciate a link back to my website” along with her link info.

    Nothing about them having given my client a link first, to show some faith, nor a please or thankyou…

    Noooo…. just this twaddle.

    Best part of all: my client’s links page has a PR of 5 and they actually thought we’d agree!!! :)

    Now, if they had a quality site that offered value to my client’s customers, it wouldn’t have been a problem. Instead, it was a thin affiliate site with no redeeming features.

    My comment, upon reading this email and 2 other stupid link exchange requests today was “I should start publishing these dumb requests on a blog or something – just to show people how NOT to do this…”

    Guess great minds think alike eh? :)

    Anyway, I enjoyed your blog – some great content, and will keep it bookmarked for future reading.

    Eran Malloch
    WCR Internet Marketing
    Perth, Western Australia

  31. Java SinghBy Java Singh on 22 April, 2009

    I want to know why do people charge for link exchange. I know that every body
    do not charge, but I was surprised to receive some requests for cash for
    reciprocal links. I made it clear that I am not asking for one way link. Please
    also let me know whether deep link is better or home page link. I am open for
    free reciprocal link with anybody. My website pages are all having page rank 3.
    My site is on Website Optimization

  32. NoakBy Noak on 6 July, 2009

    There is no need to waste too many words about link request… If you want a link, just offer to webmaster something of value. Money or a backlink from website with high Page Rank, and that is all.