Jocelyn Salada and Georgia Higher Education Resource Query – Did You Get An Email Like This?

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 []
Sent: Monday, August 06, 2012 1:23 AM
To: there
Subject: Georgia Higher Education Resource Query

Hi there,

I had a question about the listed college and career web resources for prospective students on the 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:

Hi Thomas,

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

National Institute for Genealogical Studies Announces Acquisition of GenealogyWise

genealogy wise

[Editor’s Note: the following press release was posted by Gena Philbert Ortega, Genealogy Community Director of GenealogyWise at the GenealogyWise website this evening]

National Institute for Genealogical Studies Announces Acquisition of GenealogyWise

(Toronto, February 7, 2011)

Louise St. Denis, Managing Director of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, has announced that the Institute has acquired the website, GenealogyWise ( The Genealogy Community Director of GenealogyWise, Gena Philibert Ortega, has also officially joined the Institute. She can be reached at

Gena Philibert Ortega of GenealogyWise “I would say that GenealogyWise is a great fit with the National Institute’s goals. GenealogyWise is a place to connect with new found cousins, share resources, and learn more about genealogy. As part of the National Institute, GenealogyWise members will benefit from the opportunities that the National Institute provides,” said Gena.

GenealogyWise is the social network for genealogists. This is the place to network with other researchers, and make discoveries about your family history.You can join or create surname, locality, or topic groups. The Group feature allows you to collaborate, share, and ask questions of other members.

You can also join the Chat Room for a quick question about research, a chat with fellow genealogists, or attend one of our educational presentations. As well, you can post a blog entry or a forum question from the GenealogyWise homepage. This is a great way to share your knowledge on a genealogy topic or to ask a question.

To date, there are over 23,000 members online.

A new feature will be added – the Live Meeting. GenealogyWise members will be able to access Live Meetings onsite, and this will open up more education opportunities to members that the Institute has to offer.

For the month of March, the Institute is offering a number of US courses as well as courses on Methodology, Electronic Records, and in Analysis and Skill Mentoring.

To read a detailed description about a specific course, please go to our website at, click on the menu item “COURSES”, and click on “COURSES” again. Then click on “ALPHABETICAL LISTING” to make searching through over 60 courses given in March a little easier!

And to learn more about our instructors, please go to our site at, click on menu item “INSTITUTE”, then click on “FACULTY”, and click again on the instructor’s name.

If you need more information, please call us toll-free in North America at 1-800-580-0165, or send us a message at
You can enroll in these or other courses by simply going to the Institute’s website at, choosing the ones which interest you, and registering online.

About The National Institute for Genealogical Studies

About the National Institute for Genealogical Studies: The Institute now offers over 150 courses in genealogical studies, including courses in the records of Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Germany, and the United States.

If you are looking for a more formal educational training, the Institute offers-in affiliation with the Continuing Education Unit of the University of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto-Certificate Programs in the records of Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Germany, Scotland and the United States, as well as a Librarianship Certificate.

Louise St. Denis
Managing Director
The National Institute for Genealogical Studies

Toll-free in North America – 1.800.580.0165

©2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee

NGS Conference Adds Social Media Policy

ngs family history conference

I’m happy to announce that the National Genealogical Society has developed a social media policy for the upcoming NGS Family History Conference to be held May 11-14, 2011 in Charleston, South Carolina.

When the new NGS conference blog appeared recently, I sent an inquiry to the conference planning staff at NGS to see if a policy had been developed and would be in force during the conference.  Here is the wording of the policy:

NGS does not permit the recording of presentations at the NGS Family History Conference under any circumstances or in any form or media, including but not limited to audio recordings, video recordings, or literal transcripts, except by specific written permission. JAMB, Inc. contracts with NGS to audio record the lectures of speakers who provide their written consent to be recorded. CD’s may be purchased at the conference or ordered after the conference for $12 per CD.

NGS does permit and encourage the use of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and blogging at the conference as a way to summarize, highlight, excerpt, review, critique, and/or promote the presented materials, syllabus materials, or the conference in general, provided that (1) the material is not shared in full and (2) the author/speaker is referenced and cited appropriately in each case.  Please keep in mind that our presenters have invested many hours into the development of this material and copyright laws apply.

It appears that the NGS social media policy is in line with similar policies currently used at various genealogy conferences including the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree as well as Family History Expos.

If you have questions or comments, contact the NGS Conference Manager at or refer to FAQs.

©2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee