And the spamming “let’s exchange links” aka “here’s recognition for your blog” aka “we have an award for your blog” game continues!
The Pitch From Online Schools
Have any of our members of GeneaBloggers or other bloggers received the following email from Jocelyn Salada lately?
From: Jocelyn Salada [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, August 06, 2012 1:23 AM
Subject: Georgia Higher Education Resource Query
I had a question about the listed college and career web resources for prospective students on the http://www.geneabloggers.com/genealogy-blogging-beat-sunday-february-12-2012 website. I would love to hear back from you, and if there is someone else I should be emailing, could you direct me to the appropriate contact?
Of course your results may vary. These spammers are oh-so-clever at using different names, different emails, etc. Same baloney, just dressed up with different condiments.
Why Was I Suspicious?
For you new bloggers and perhaps all bloggers, here is why I got suspicious . . . first, the email was addressed to “there” as in Hi There. LOL. Really?
Second, I went and looked at the link at GeneaBloggers and there was no reference to “college and career web resources for prospective students.” I knew this already. I figure Jocleyn tried to leave a spammy comment on the post, but WordPress let’s me disable commenting on any post older than 14 days at GeneaBloggers. I give Jocelyn an “A” for effort.
I Took The Bait – Sort Of
I figured I’d play along, so I emailed back and told Jocelyn I was interest. I was surprised it took two days to get back to me, but here is what I got:
Thanks for your response. I’m emailing to see how an online project that I’ve been working on for that past year can be included and shared as a resource for students and parents on your website. This resource, is a compilation of every college program offered online in Georgia that is offered full and part time.
For the past year, we’ve been crawling through thousands of college catalogs to compile this information because many students that visit our website have requested a directory of all college programs that they can take online apart from the more well known online schools. Many of our students didn’t even know that their local colleges offer many online programs until this database was built!
This database will be updated yearly and will always remain free and open. Higher education for all students is a passion of mine, and passing knowledge to what types of programs exist out there in hopes that students will find a higher education program that excites them is our goal. I hope that your school, counselors, advisors, parents and students will find it useful.
So far, school districts and high schools throughout the State of Georgia have added the project as a resource for their students and parents to refer too. If you think it could be of use and value to those who visit your site, I would be honored it you would also add a link to the page for others to refer to.
I look forward to hearing from you soon,
Just as I suspected – a link exchange. Also Jocelyn sent me some links that I could add to my blog if I wanted to. As you can see I am not using any Online Schools links so as not to send them “link juice.”
I told Jocelyn that I wasn’t interested, that I didn’t do link exchanges and that I would make sure I put the word out at my blogging community.
Don’t Buy Into Link Exchanges
Recently I had someone tell me that asking for link exchanges was not a black hat SEO technique. Whether it is or isn’t doesn’t matter – I still think it is sleazy and I still won’t accept a link from a website that doesn’t deal directly with genealogy or from a company about which I know nothing. I also take a dim view to companies that just do “cold calling” via email.
All that these sites are doing – and the online school type sites do it all the time – is this: they are trying to game the system over at Google and other search engines to get a higher page rank by building links to their sites. They don’t care if you are selling genealogy or polished dinosaur turds that look like jewelry. They’ll take anything – they aren’t picky. I call them Link Sluts.
Remember that you can’t control the site to which you link, so who knows what kind of content one of these sites will put up in the future. Make sure you know who you are linking to and the best way to build you niche is to keep the focus on your direct subject matter, such as genealogy.
©2012, copyright Thomas MacEntee