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Automated Link Exchange Backlash

Is Link Popularity Broken?



8:05 am on Jul 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

In another thread someone posted this opinion:

The people that use automated scripting mechanisms are email spammers and are damaging the chances of the quality sites that do exist.

  • Is this a case of a good tool used badly?
  • Are some webmasters taking the quest for backlinks to the level of Unsolicited Commercial Email?

Developing backlinks is a cornerstone of most web endeavors. No links, no loving. There are many solutions, including paying for links, outsourcing development, and automated link hunting solutions.

Some feel the quest for links has been taken too far. The comments about this remind me of the steroid scandal rocking international sports. Is Link Popularity Broken?


12:25 am on Jul 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I give them a standard response--"I don't do link exchanges but I'll check out your site eventually"--

Any way to automate that? ;)


1:54 am on Jul 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Are some webmasters taking the quest for backlinks to the level of Unsolicited Commercial Email?

Definitely. I still have a few link pages, and like many here I get a lot of off-topic and unsuitable link begging emails. The best way to get a link from me is not to email, but just to go ahead and link. If the site is on-topic and useful I'll be aware of it and inclined to reciprocate. I even got one once that was automated to fake someone having taken an interest in my site:

"We looked at your $pagetitle page and found you had some really interesting things to say about $pagetitle. " (It was a quiz page)


7:34 am on Jul 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

>>> Are some webmasters taking the quest for backlinks to the level of Unsolicited Commercial Email?

For me, it depends...On my "ADD YOUR SITE" page, I will clearly state the instruction on how to request for link exchange which can be either through the submission form or a specific e-mail address.

If you follow my instruction and send the request to the right channel, I would *NOT* consider it as a spam (although your request is obviously writted by a template).

If you don't follow my instruction and blindly send requests, I would consider that as spam.

On some of my sites, I have two e-mail addresses for link requests - one for automatic software download and one for humans being. The former one will be filtered out even before it reaches my mailbox.


12:20 pm on Jul 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I think Linkexchange can be very good and is the most effective SEO technique.
But will took it too far. It all started with directory submissions, and when directories started to become pais people restores to simple link exchange requests, and then to FFAs.

Google started blocking PR of FFAs and penalising them. Links passed from unrelevent themes, stopped contrinuting to SERPs and even the Page rank. Now this automated link exchange is nothing but giving link request to as many people as you can, and then benefitting from few responses.

But people forget if the theme is irrelevent, it won`t effect much..
Automated link exchange will die down eventually


2:35 pm on Jul 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I encrypt email addresses for every site we manage (70+ sites) - so I do not receive automated link requests :)


7:46 am on Jul 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>I encrypt email addresses for every site we manage...... so I do not receive automated link requests


Encrypting on-site email addresses will not stop these people now! If you have not run into the problem yet, then lucky for you, but you will in the future!

I removed/encrypted all published email addresses on all sites a long time ago. It worked for a few months, but now the little devils have scripts that interrogate the domain registry and send the emails to the admin email address associated with the domain name.

So now what to do? I could use a proxy to hide the admin email address. That would cost me about $8,400 per year for all domains. Why should I pay $8,400 per year to prevent other people's automated spam? Most of the time they are potential competitors requesting links. I would actually rather spend $20,000 per year on an employee that had the responsibility of attempting to close these spammers down!

I know I can't easily solve this problem! With this post and the several others made in this thread, and the original thread, all I'm trying to do is encourage quality webmasters to take the view that this type of spam is unacceptable.

If genuine partners with something to offer want to email us, great, otherwise I hope more of us will not be blinded by those that use the low level automated methods :)


2:14 pm on Jul 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I was thinking of using a tool to help me manage the links as far as keeping track of who I emailed, looking for broken links etc.

Each email I send, however, is to websites that have content that is related to mine and is not automated.

It sounds like the general conclusion is:
You will get the best results if you use them for backend work or management but using them for communication with real webmasters is, in general, considered spam and a waste of time.

Correct me if I am wrong. I am sure you will :).


3:07 pm on Jul 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Create quality and people will link to it.

or perhaps more realistically lately:

Create quality and people will copy it.

Seriously, it seems these days links are really just that : links. They represent a business relationship, and so they need to be negotiated in person (phone, for example,or personal email exchanges) and known and nurtured.

Ask a small business owner who his accountant is, which hardware store he patronizes, which individuals at the local business network breakfast he likes, and he knows. He doesn't have to look it up in a link management program or spreadsheet.

Your primary backlinks should be like that, no? I think that is where we are going.

This 38 message thread spans 2 pages: 38

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