Musings About Online Marketing

Archive for February 2009

Being “Professional”

with one comment

This email is secondhand, and I have removed any clues as to who actually wrote it. It is completely real, and was sent to someone in reaction to a link request. I’ll discuss everything below the email as to 1) how this could have been avoided and 2) what kind of jackass would feel compelled to waste his time ranting about such a trivial thing.

Here’s the email exchange starting with the original link request:

Good morning!

My name is XXXXXX and I’m mailing you as a longtime reader and visitor of XXXXXXX and your articles. The reason I’m contacting you is because I’m a XXXXXXXXXXX and content writer in XXXXXXXX. I write for and manage two websites that have been established to connect XXXXXXX with XXXXXXX jobs and XXXXXXX schools. Both of these sites are very content-rich and authoritative – containing a database of thousands of schools and jobs for XXXXXXX across the United States.

I’ll stop beating around the bush. 🙂

I guess what I’m trying to ask is if there is any way you’d consider providing links to these sites in your ‘XXXXXX Links’ section? I really do believe that your readers might find these useful and beneficial to their careers, whether they are looking to relocate jobs or to train somewhere – they can find all of it on my sites.

I also think it might add a unique element to XXXXXXXXX that hasn’t been previously covered. Since XXXXXXX is one of the most authoritative websites related to XXXXXXXX you can imagine my enthusiasm about trying to make this work.

Here are the sites for your review:



Do you think this might be at all possible?

Thanks for your consideration!



And here is the response that the person making the request received:


You could not have made a bigger mistake in emailing me.

You see, forwards to me – XXXXXXXXXX – and I’m the one personally responsible for pushing XXXXXXXXXX to the #1 positions in Google for all of the head terms in the XXXXXXXX SERPs. Go check “XXXXXXXX” and “XXXXXXXXX” on Google and let me know what you see. Late last year, XXXXXXXXXXX was so impressed with our work in terms of rankings and traffic that they actually purchased XXXXXXXXXXX and then in turn hired me to run all SEO and SEM development for all of their web projects. I cast an amazingly wide shadow in the online XXXXXXXX industry, so be extra careful when emailing because there’s a good chance it’ll get kicked up to my inbox. But before you go search those terms, keep reading this email – you might learn something.

I figured that XXXXXXX – you know, the guy that built XXXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXX – would have mentioned something to you, to XXXXXXX, or to someone at XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX when they purchased his websites last year – yes, the same 2 that you listed below. I used to brainstorm with XXXXXXXX during a joint venture we had and if there’s anything I learned from him, it’s link building can be done in a very, very wrong way. Such as sending a cookie cutter email like you did, not an effective way to get links – at all. You say like reading XXXXXXXXXXX? Honestly, I doubt it, but it makes for a caring tone in your email. And just what articles are you referring to that you browsed? I’d tell you the last article I posted on that site, but I’d rather you find it– good luck, you’ll need it. I could always draw you a treasure map in MS Paint and place the image on a webpage and then rank that in the SERPs showing you where it is! Or maybe not. Got a smiley face on? 🙂 Oh come on, this is good stuff!

Next, just why would I want to place a link on MY XXXXXXX site, to YOUR XXXXXXX site? Isn’t that kind of, well, counterproductive – to say the least? Hmmm, let me think, I’ve worked for how many years to entrench my website atop Google’s SERPs and now I want to funnel traffic away from it to your site – BRILLIANT! Or maybe not. I’m guessing that you’re not checking exactly who you’re sending emails to close enough and that you’ve already realized that emailing a direct competitor is a sure fire waste of everyone’s time. Speaking of which, I feel I’ve wasted more than enough of my time with this response.

It’s most unfortunate that you didn’t reflect a few seconds on just who the recipient might be in your email, because if you had, you surely could have avoided such an embarrassing response.

Best of luck in your development,


SR Manager, SEO/SEM

In my opinion, both parties are at fault for something here. The person making the link request should have dug a little deeper and determined, “Hey, this is a competitor site. They wouldn’t link to us, nor would we want to link to them.” The initial email should never have been sent.

The ensuing reply is ridiculous. I really don’t give a crap who he is or what kind of shadow he casts over everything. It’s bridge burning at its finest, and if this guy has to ever look for another job, he has one less place he can look. There are quite a few egos in the SEM biz, as it’s pretty common in advertising in general. I personally find that kind of behavior appalling and don’t have a ton of patience for people who actually go out of their way to belittle someone else in such a manner. For such a self-proclaimed accomplished professional, he sure does lack the social skills I would think necessary to ever get ahead in life. He’ll surely learn about karma soon enough.

So the lesson here is that you need to fully consider what a site is trying to accomplish before requesting a link and make sure they are not a direct competitor. If you make the request without considering all these things, you could possibly get a scathing reply from a 40 year old troll who most likely operates out of his parents’ basement.

No matter which end of this conversation you might be coming from (the person requesting or the person receiving the request), just simply respond with a “thanks, but no thanks” and move on with your life. Or, offer some tips. Just try to avoid telling that person how awesome you are and what kind of grip you have on the seedy underbelly of whatever exciting industry it might be that you represent.

Okay. Rant over. 🙂


Written by rogersikes

February 11, 2009 at 4:29 pm