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Without wishing to sound critical because it's not meant that way and I know I don't have a PR8 honey pot with as many PR0 bees buzzing around as you, but if a webmaster can be bothered to track me down and e-mail a request (even if it is automated) then in my opinion the least I can do is to add them to the "declined" e-mail list.
It only takes a second and stops them from sending repeat e-mails when they don't get a response the first time.
Also, if you give them a form to fill out for link exchange requests you could include the following fields (in addition to the normal fields).
Is your site similar in theme to mine? Y/N
What is the PageRank of your Homepage? ___
What is the PageRank of the page where you're going go post my return links? ___
If they really want to make them work for it, you could include an "essay"... Explain in 50 words why my visitiors would benefit from a link to your site.
That should slow it down ;-)
We are entering quality content everyday and are feverously working on a high ranking site. Thank you for the consideration, I'm sure you receive many requests in regards to your site.
If you requested it from me and the exchange was unsuitable you would get a polite reply back thanking you but declining.
As for the others who have replied above your own? It sounds to me like anyone lower than god himself would not be considered for a link exchange.
Personally I have a very low opinion of Page Rank anyway.
It doesn't count for anything, it doesn't provide any additional traffic other than other guys looking for links. It's a white elephant.
How nice to be in such a position :) I'm presuming the higher up the PR scale one goes, the more link requests a site is likely to get. If link spam is a by-product of a successful site then bring it on, is what I say. :)
Personally at the moment I take it as quite flattering when I get link requests. There was a time not so very long ago when it was I who was burning the midnight oil looking for sites to link to, and now they're beating a path to my door looking for links from me. I do try to remember my roots tho', so I normally respond to all requests, whether I take them up on it or not :)
hereforinfo - (welcome to WW btw)- I've yet to see a pro-active link request where someone has already linked to me before asking, so if I received a message like yours I'd certainly give them time and consideration. The web might be anonymous, but it doesn't hurt to be polite - and as I read here a long time ago, a PR0 site today may be a PR8 site of tomorrow.
Some pay a company or 3rd party to email for them. In that case you can expect 3 per day for the same url from the same email address. If you are lucky it is a one time event. Some can hammer your inbox for a week.
By the time you reach a high pr, you tend to really care about who you link out to and in result become more selective. I take link requests and evaluate the quality of the page, PR has a little to do with it but has to meet our niche requirements, but we accept low pr sites providing they are of good quality and relevance.