I had a similar approach a couple of years ago. It is a 'personal interest' site that ranks very well and is not monetized in any way. It gets so-so traffic but visitors WANT to be there. (We use AdWords for our own for-profit sites, but never AdSense for anything - ever.)
It is good content, relevant, a good addition to the site really. It is also a full page low key ad of course, but they checked out as a quality outfit, the content checked out (We couldn't find that is was ripped from anyone.), and we sold the page on a per year basis. Already have year three price set, and they did a second page on the site as well.
Found money for me, no issues with quality of content, association with company, and such. We refer a modest amount of very targeted traffic, and I expect that their conversion is pretty good. It's not a niche that we want to be selling in, so no problem. It's probably better for them than for us, but we wouldn't be doing anything with it otherwise, and nothing more than some due diligence invested, so quite happy.
This sort of thing is a fairly common method of link building. Sometimes companies would offer just the content in return for the link and sometimes they offer cash as well.
Make sure you know what website you're linking to before you agree to anything, cause linking to anything the search engines think is dodgy could end up hurting you.
I have never heard of this before, but from my viewpoint I can't see why it would be terribly different from someone paying you to put a banner ad on your web site only in this case they are offering content because they must believe it is more valuable to post content than an ad. In any case I agree with Shimrit that I would want to know where the link is going, that the content is at least relevant to your site, and most importantly get the money in advance.
I have had the same emails, as well as someone I know. Like Shimrit (Shimrit Harrari? - sorry, couldn't resist ;) Israeli joke) said, it's just a way for them to build links. If it's on-topic, you can go ahead with it. The content they sent me was just fine, had no problem with it and the site was legit.
i have been trying to offer this to webmasters several times but it seemed to be too difficult for them to understand and agree. most of webmasters are still stuck with 10 meter long links pages :(
I found an email year ago, and felt a scammer approach towards marketing SWOTS of any company.....
Sounds like a more natural looking, harder to detect version of paid links where you are publishing links to their advertiser's site. They pay you to get a link from your site AND they make sure that the page on your site that links to their client is relevent because they wrote it.
I know a lot of the paid link companies are finally wising up and looking for ways to embed links inside the content (not just not just anywhere like a footer or sponsorship section or resource section) on pages with content relevent to the link text their 'advertisers' are trying to 'promote'. 1) They are more valueable which means they can charge their clients a higher monthly fee for the link, and 2) it looks natural and will be hard for Google to detect as a paid link.
Where do I sign up? ;)
PS: When I first started doing SEO and heard about paid links, this is EXACTLY the way I pictured that it worked. Boy was I wrong.
[edited by: ZydoSEO at 7:34 pm (utc) on Nov. 25, 2008]
I got approached by someone with a slightly different twist.
They wanted to pay for links from certain words (not currently links) in a few of my most-visited articles. The links were not to sites I would have linked to anyway (and in some cases didn't make sense) so I turned them down.
There are a lot of sites that do the same thing. Seems to me that the company that e-mailed you could just join up with some of the broker sites that do a good job of "hiding" paid links and just go through the broker. Just a thought though.