In which I declare war on link building

I get dozens of emails every week from people who want to post shit on my site — despite the fact that I have never posted an unsolicited article. They don’t benefit my readers and they annoy me, so I’ve declared war on them.

Here are some samples:

Hi there,

I know you’re swamped, so I’ll be brief.

Your website came across my eyes and it looks like something that I would like to cooperate with. 

I am working as a freelance copywriter at WriteMyEssayOnline, and it would be a pleasure to write a guest/sponsored post for you and your followers. 

Just let me know if you are interested in the offer — I’ll be in touch to discuss details.

Best regards, Outreach Specialist WriteMyEssayOnline

Hi there,
My name is Beverly Xxxx, I graduated from NYU in 2015.
I am a professional blogger for more than two years, and I would love to have the opportunity to write the sponsored post (with sponsored links) for your website!
I specialize in writing articles on topics such as education, writing, tech, marketing, etc.
If you accept sponsored posts at the moment, then let me know.

Hello! I would like to know if you are accepting guest/sponsored posts for withoutbullshit.com. If you are interested, please provide me with your sponsorship opportunities. Also, you can check some previous articles, written by me: [link]

 In turn, we will be happy to provide your with a high quality content for your website. Will be waiting for your reply!Have a good day!

Yes, I know “link building” is a real thing, and that some people accept money to have random content placed on their site to enhance the contributor’s search results. But my site withoutbullshit.com is a reflection of me. These constant emails are just an annoyance.

I mostly just respond politely in the negative and ask them to take me off their list. I’ve occasionally enjoyed toying with these bottom feeders, telling them that my price for a contributed post is $10,000, for example (they pay $10). I think having somebody else do your homework is reprehensible, so I told the “WriteMyEssayOnline” emailer to “drop dead,” and he responded “go to mothers grave retard” . (Those must be some impressive essays, with that level of writing talent.)

I’m done screwing around.

Prepare to be spammed, suckers

There’s now a notice prominently posted on the site regarding my policy.

Anyone with a brain who visits my site can read the policy and understand the consequences.

If you have something useful to share with me, based on actually having a clue who I am and what I cover, I welcome your emails. I get plenty of good content suggestions that way.

Anyone with a mailing list who doesn’t give a crap who I am and is using an email template can go to hell. You are just spamming me as efficiently as possible, and I’m not having it.

If you treat me and my site a target for your link building spam, then I’ll just publish your email address. Do you find that inconvenient? Boo hoo.

I’m a nasty, vindictive old man. Deal with it.

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  1. Hi Josh, I get these kinds of emails all the time, from people imagining that their posts would be beneficial to my newsletter readers, without showing any clear indication that they in fact understand who my readers are, what my area of focus is, or what my readers would value. After reading your blog, I think I will respond more empathically with a toned-down version of “drop dead.”

  2. It all boils down to a very simple rule, Josh: it’s your site and you’ll do whatever you want with it. Let those folks put up their own site and post anything they please.

  3. Yes, I get dozens, and I believe there’s even an app that scours the web for “compatible” sites, and then sends a canned email. They probably do thousands a day. I have gotten the same letter from DIFFERENT entities, so I know there’s some kind of software they’re using.

    Anyway, I’ve replied to a number of them via email, and I have yet to get a response. So, they’re either too busy with other results from their campaign, or I was lower on the ‘priority’ list.

    I also get other web sites contacting me to “add” links to a current page. Remember, I’ve had the Design Center online since 1988. We have close to 50,000 items in the site. So some of these people searching for good web pages to be on quite frequently find pages in The Design Center. They’ll send an email, noting the page and the link, and then point out why their link would be “better” for our readers. Each time this happens I reply :

    > Dear ___________
    > Yes, thank you for calling this to our attention. We really
    > appreciate followers who come forward to help us improve
    > our content for our readers!
    > . . . Unfortunately our regular web IT guy has suddenly left
    > us, and we have to rely on the ISP’s guy to make changes
    > to older pages. We would love to add your content to that
    > page, however these new guys charge $75 to make a change.
    > . . . So if you really feel it’s important to get your links and
    > content added here, then perhaps you can pick up the tab
    > rather than us taking out of pocket to benefit YOU.
    > . . . Use ___________ , our PayPal account, and when the
    > $75 arrives there, we’ll have your links added to our page
    > within 24 to 36 hours.
    > Thanks and . . .

    You get the picture. To date I’ve only had three actually pay,
    and the links were valid, and did exactly what we wanted
    them to do.

    1. . . . before ranting on me, I reject anyone who is not in direct line with our content platform and policy. I would never tarnish the site with some of the ones we get. While most are within our content context, there are also the essay writers, the gambling sites, and Russian or China “date” sites. No. We do NOT pander to cyber criminals or freeloaders. 🙂 Fred

  4. Exactly why God made the “DELETE” key. Unsolicited crap spreads indiscriminately and is annoying.

  5. Forgive me if this is old news to you – which wouldn’t be surprising, as it happened nearly 10 years ago – but today’s post reminds me of The Bloggess’ “standby for demonstration of relevancy” episode, wherein her response to spam became a study in asymmetric combat. It’s a delight:
    Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi, and Ken White were among the many, many writers who piled on.

  6. Can I steal your idea, Josh?

    I’m not going to post every month and I don’t get as many of these requests as you, but they still annoy me.

    1. Better yet, just forward me the emails and I’ll post your harassers along with my own.

      But for fair warning, you’ll want to put a notice on your site as well.

  7. The ones that tickle me are the ones that claim to be long-time readers and fans, and then propose something that makes no sense at all.

    I am unfailingly polite in responding, but it’s starting to wear.