Gloves off for this post, because who it’s about sufficiently pissed me off, so I am going to name and shame them. Don’t want to be named and shamed? Don’t do dick things.

I semi-regularly get emails asking to insert people’s links into some of my content, for free, because apparently that’s an accepted thing to ask random blogs these days.

So much so, that I’ve written an entire page to send to people expressing my views on that by linking them there. Essentially I view this as a request for free advertising for them. This very blog though is mine, I control what content in what form gets published, and I will absolutely refuse any such requests. But because everyone has a price, so do I – hence the page. Read that for more context by clicking the “I want my link in an article of yours!” in the header.

Enter Anna Carter from <> who wrote me three emails before I could respond due to various life events:

From: Anna@customlogocases.xyz
To: me

Hiii Gabor hope you're well.

I wanted to ask if you can help with this. I came across this page on your website https://javorszky.co.uk/2014/02/08/we-want-a-website-for-our-business/

And I saw you were linking out to resources on business tips, so I thought you'd like to take a look at this guide we created for small businesses.

It's packed full of actionable information, and we have some nice graphics too :D

You can check it out here if you like: https://www.customlogocases.com/blog/<some link to one of their articles>/
I thought it would make a helpful additonal link on your page. What do you think?

Would be wicked if you added it. And we'd also share your page with our followers on social media as a way of saying thank you.

I'll even through in a joke:
Where's the best place to hide when playing hide and seek?
The second page of Google XD

Ciao
Anna

--
Anna Carter
Community Blog Manager
Custom Logo Cases
Email: Anna@customlogocases.xyz
Website: Customlogocases.com
Blog
Facebook
Twitter

From: Anna@customlogocases.xyz
To: me

Helllooo Gabor (again XD)

Just little me, Anna, wanted to double-check you got my message last week?

Maybe my joke wasn't good enough. Here's another:

Why did Cookie Monster apply for a marketing job?

He heard they were tracking cookies.

--

Anna Carter
Community Blog Manager
Custom Logo Cases

Email: Anna@customlogocases.xyz
Website: Customlogocases.com
Blog
Facebook
Twitter

From: Anna@customlogocases.xyz
To: me

Right, oookay. This is my last shot. You won't hear from me again.

Did you get a chance to check out our guide for SMBs?

If I don't hear back from you, I'll assume you thought my jokes were so good, you've quit your job and are now persuing a career in stand up comdey using my material (that I also stole).

--

Anna Carter
Community Blog Manager
Custom Logo Cases

Email: Anna@customlogocases.xyz
Website: Customlogocases.com
Blog
Facebook
Twitter

This is pretty standard. I found the insistence of getting through to me kinda weird, and somewhat tonedeaf (I didn’t get back to you. Maybe get the picture?), but as I said, I have my price, so I sent this to her:

From: me
To: Anna@customlogocases.xyz

Hey Anna,

Apologies I didn't get back to you earlier, was dealing with some not-so-happy family issues. So I think you're looking for a service that I do offer. You can read more about that here: https://javorszky.co.uk/your-link-would-be-of-interest-to-my-readers/

Let me know what you think!

Best,
Gabor

And got the following amazing answer, which is the reason I’m naming and shaming:

From: Anna@customlogocases.xyz
To: me

Thank you, just submitted your website here to be de-indexed for charging for links: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/paidlinks?pli=1

That obviously didn’t sit well. I mean you come into my house out of the blue, asking me to do things that benefit you, and does not benefit me in any way (yay, I would get a backlink that’s worthless to me), and then have the actual AUDACITY to go and cry to Google about it when I say pay me?

I mean sure. My blog isn’t earning me money because of the traffic, and the main source of the traffic I think is direct, when I post links to various slacks and Twitter, and I don’t even have Google Analytics installed on my site, but sure, go ahead and get me deindexed. I still maintain that what I’m selling is an advertising package, and shall be telling the authorities, because I’m petty like that, but okay. Continued conversation:

From: me
To: Anna@customlogocases.xyz

Hah,

The audacity! Thank you though. Hope you have a great day :)

Gabor

From: Anna@customlogocases.xyz
To: me

Not really an audacity.

It's against the webmaster's guidelines:

Screenshot of the webmaster tools rules with the following section circled in: The following are examples of link schemes which can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results: Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link

I mean okay, yes. She’s technically right in this. But then let’s talk about her attempts at manipulating their own pagerank score by cold-emailing website owners and finding relevant-looking content so their link there isn’t going to be considered an unnatural link, and then sobbing profusely when someone threatens them with reporting because “they didn’t exchange money!!”.

And at the same time will immediately look at the report button the moment a website owner stands up to them.

So, hence this little old blog post with actual names. The last email I sent her was

From: me
To: Anna@customlogocases.xyz

Right, so you think it's totally okay to send an unsolicited email to webmasters asking your link to be placed into content they host, for free, with literally no benefit to them, and they refuse and say "actually, you know what, if you DO want your link here, pay me!", then you bully them into it? I consider this advertising, and not a link exchange. That said enjoy the blog post I'll be writing about you and your company around this.

I’ll also be reporting their entire site for participating and soliciting link exchange schemes once I sorted out some other life issues.

I’m also not convinced that Anna Carter is an actual person and not a pseudonym.

Photo by Icons8 team on Unsplash