I work for a very large web site. My boss wants me to search out the web and get as many related reciprocal links as possible. So I started the campaign contacting tons of webmasters, and being honest and telling them the benefits of reciprocal links for both of us. I got good responses, and some even thanked me for information they didn't know.
When my boss found out what I was saying she got all freaked out. She said I should just tell them how much it would benefit THEM to put our link on their site, and offer them a link on ours. She didn't want me to speak of the mutual benefit. I run my personal web sites with complete honesty, and would never do this. In my opinion if another site contacted me telling me how much I would benefit from putting a link to their site on mine I would delete the email as quick as possible. Yet I am being honest, and that's not what she wants.
Anyone have an opinion on this? I would appreciate sopme fellow webmasters comments. Who's right? Me or my boss?
I think you started with a very good approach and your integrity is commendable. You don't always have to tell them everything about SE ranking algos, I usually just ask for a link trade and don't get too particular where they put it on their site (most webmasters are thinking traffic and not link pop.).
Personally, I think *you* are right, but who's signing your paycheck? ;)
You could slightly edit your 'recruitment' email, so it's a little more roundabout on the mutual benefits... I'd leave out the part about how much a link to your site will benefit the other sites tho'. Sounds "spammy" to me as well.
I usually just tell them that I'm building a resource guide for the "keyphrase" industry, and that I think their site would be a great resource for our clients. Then I tell them that if they would like to be added to the resource guide all that we ask in return is a link to our site.
It is nice to know there are some honest people in the world. When I ask for a link or get a request, I try to make sure it helps both parties and if it won't I tell them so. I can understand your bosses reaction but I find honesty usually wins out in the end. Good luck and keep up the good work.
sometimes it's not just the webmaster who makes the decision to add links though. More often, in business/community/industry association sites, all outbound links must be approved by a 'higher up' - so it benefits you by enlightening those people in your email why exchanging links is a good 'fit' for similar audiences:)
honesty is the best policy in reciprocal links, without a doubt.