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Somebody is harassing my link partners to remove links to my site
links, incoming links, link managment, harassment, negative SEO, links,
hheenry




msg:4608628
 8:40 am on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Somebody is harassing my link partners to remove links to my site.
What can I do?

 

martinibuster




msg:4608744
 4:54 pm on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Are they pretending to be acting on your behalf?

hheenry




msg:4608752
 5:21 pm on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

In some cases yes, in other cases they claim that the content on my site is a copyright infringement and they threaten to sue the link partner if they don't remove the link.

LifeinAsia




msg:4608802
 8:55 pm on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi hheenry and welcome [webmasterworld.com] to WebmasterWorld!

Is this just one person or have you found several people doing it?

Are they pretending to be acting on your behalf?
In some cases yes
Sounds like a case of fraud.
they claim that the content on my site is a copyright infringement
sounds like it might be a case of libel.

IANAL, but you should consider contacting one to see if you have a case. Most likely, unless you can prove actual damages cause by the person's actions, you don't have a case. However, a cease and desist letter from a lawyer may make the issue go away once the person knows he's on your radar.

hheenry




msg:4609260
 12:45 pm on Sep 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the tips! This is what the attorney told me as well. If you can't prove actual damages by the person's action you don't have a case. However, if they get a large portion of my links removed there will be damages.

7_Driver




msg:4611407
 8:05 pm on Sep 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

Wow - it's getting nasty out there!

Proving that a drop in traffic was caused by the actions of this person to the satisfaction of a court might be difficult - it would be easy to argue that many other factors are in play.

Which brings up an interesting point - imagine such a case goes ahead - and Google are called as a witness. The court might reasonably ask to see the workings of the Google algorithm in order to ascertain if the removal of links is likely to affect rankings.

Can Google refuse to cooperate with the court - or could a court compel them to reveal their "secret sauce"?

In any event, the libel route sounds a bit easier to prove.

diberry




msg:4611414
 8:18 pm on Sep 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

While it would be hard to estimate the damages this might cause in actual money, it does beg the question why would they do it if not to wreck your business? So at least convincing a judge that this is a type of sabotage might not be too difficult.

It's just the actual monetary amount the judge might have trouble assessing.

I don't think a court would force Google to harm themselves to help someone else. However, you might be able to get someone from Google to write a letter stating that if this person/group is doing what you say, how that might affect your rankings, and how that might affect your income. (Like, they could explain how many positions you would likely drop and by what percentage that could reduce your income.)

nomis5




msg:4611428
 8:34 pm on Sep 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

Is this just one person or have you found several people doing it?


You haven't answered that question which is a crucial one. Also, do you know the identity of who is doing this?

If you don't then the first thing to do is to find out who is doing this. If you do then can you prove they are doing it? If yes then get your attorney to write to them asking them to desist.

You may also want to write to those who link to you warning them of the situation.

If you are certain of your facts (100% provable)) then put a small notice on your site to describe what is happening.

turbocharged




msg:4611467
 11:18 pm on Sep 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

This is one example of how negative seo plays out. Get used to it because it is only getting worse. If they are not bombing your site with junk links, they are removing your good links. Either way your positions will probably drop in 3-4 weeks, if not sooner.

Good luck finding out who this person is. They often hide behind a proxy, use unidentifiable email accounts and are like anonymous ghosts moving from one victim to the next.

Solution1




msg:4611538
 6:42 am on Sep 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi hheenry, You mention that they claim that the content on your site is a copyright infringement. Is it true that you are infringing on someone's copyright?

hheenry




msg:4611575
 12:16 pm on Sep 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

It is just one Person doing it and I know who it is.
It is not true that I am infringing on anyone's Copyright.

Solution1




msg:4611576
 12:22 pm on Sep 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

Do you have any idea why this person is doing it?

LifeinAsia




msg:4611578
 1:00 pm on Sep 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

It is just one Person doing it and I know who it is.

Can you prove it?

hheenry




msg:4611610
 6:06 pm on Sep 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

Why this Person is doing it? To cause damage to my website I'd say.
Yes, I can prove it. A link partner forwarded the persons harassing emails and even a voicemail message.

LifeinAsia




msg:4611649
 9:16 pm on Sep 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

Since you're already talking with an attorney, I'd say he's going to be able to give you the best advice.

graeme_p




msg:4611908
 5:26 am on Sep 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

Your attorney will give you the best advice, but:

1) Specifically ask him if anything they have done may constitute a criminal offence. Where there is deceit its worth checking. A fake DMCA notice, for example, is perjury.

2) If it does go to court, if you can prove that their behaviour was deceitful, the judge will probably be favourable towards you when deciding damages. The lengths they have gone to are also evidence that they themselves expected to do real harm to your sites rankings, so its going to be very hard for them to argue for low damages.

diberry




msg:4612447
 10:26 pm on Sep 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

graeme_p is right. It sounds like this person has been clever enough NOT to send a fake DCMA (which is how I routinely deal with *actual* content theft). I also agree that the effort they've made kind of speaks for itself as to damages.

The trick will not be in PROVING there has been damage - the voicemail is defamation and you could sue for something like intentional infliction of emotional distress just for that. But you want to be able to give the judge some reasonable-sounding estimates, based on some kind of followable logic, that backs up the number you're asking for. Your attorney should be able to advise on this. If he says you can only ask for actual, provable specific amounts of money, that's just not correct.

Side note: I've worked in some very litigious fields and dealt with a lot of lawyers. Not only do they all have slightly different approaches, but some of them just plain don't know what they're talking about or have no ethics to speak of. Make sure what this lawyer is telling you sounds reasonable, and if s/he seems too mousy or too aggressive, don't hesitate to have some free consults with a few others and get a feel for who you trust.

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