Ok, so. I have a blog. Blog lists an e-mail address. So I get SEO spam requests. "Dear R, I read your blogpost <url> and I really think it would benefit from the link to my post <url>".
The post being peddled is inevitably just dull or bullshit. It's only purpose is to rack SEO for the main domain, that always sells some shitty service or another.
I usually ignore such e-mails…
…but this time the guy is really persistent. And is getting on my nerves.
So, I have an idea. And I want to know how bad it is.
I want to respond with:
thanks for reaching out. My going rate for a link placed on my blog is $500USD, and I get to decide where and how I place it, and in what content. It will be placed in a regular blogpost on the blog in question, reachable by search engines, of course.
I require payment of the half of the sum (non-refundable) before I prepare the specific placement offer, for you to accept or reject.
The offer is final, and once rejected, I understand you are no longer interested in placing a link on my blog. At that point the initial payment is considered payment for my time and expertise in preparing the offer.
If you accept the placement offer, I will put the link on-line within 10 work days, and I will expect payment at the latest a month from it went online.
2. will actually placing his link in a blogpost about how annoying SEO spam is and how bullshit the article in question is, still lead to his site getting the sweet sweet SEO juice?
What does fedi think?
@rysiek I like the idea. You should go ahead and try it out.
Its biggest drawback is that your proposal is more solid than anything such SEO scum usually deal with.
My bet: 80% sure you’ll never hear back.
If you’d make your texts available as a template, I would consider that a service to humanity.
> My bet: 80% sure you’ll never hear back.
This is a win. 😃
> If you’d make your texts available as a template, I would consider that a service to humanity.
Yeah, that's the plan, if I go through with it.
@ilja yeah, I would add "the blogpost along with the link will stay online for at least a year".
The point is the blogpost with the link would talk about how shit it is anyway.
@rysiek This is thoughtful and beautiful and elegant.
My own impulse would have been to reply along the lines of “contact me again, ever, and I will find you and nail your testicles (if any) to your forehead.”
But you do you.
@rysiek I don’t know whether I’d recommend upping the price to try and get more out of this person or do it for dirt cheap so they’ll definitely go for it and you can article to your heart’s content 🤔
@usul if he doesn't like the terms he is welcome to just walk away. In fact, he's encouraged to! 😉
Just thought any invoice should mention the project as "CAVEAT EMPTOR".
But honest question, what do you think he could sue me for? I assume that would be once he sees the placement offer and doesn't really like it?
@rysiek I think “any such further communication” wouldn’t actually hold up in court as having agreed to the terms, but I’m not sure. he could say maybe “he didn’t read that sentence” or whatever, and it’s not really a contract
@amatecha shrink-wrap licenses are a thing. Why am I expected to read and understand 15 pages of legal text to watch a cat video, but this guy can't be expected to read a 1.5 page e-mail response to his own unsolicited e-mail, right?
@amatecha come to think of it, I should add a shrink-wrap license to my blog, mentioning unsolicited SEO link spam, perhaps.
@rysiek considering how those e-mails are sent by an automated service, I don't think it will have any effect
@deshipu they are sent by automated service, but I'm expecting the replies to have a human eyes on them at least some of the time.
And do I care if these are automated e-mails? I have their domain, I have the link they want to post, I can find a way to invoice them the $50 for their automated response. 😉
@rysiek And then what? I get dozens of invoices sent to me by similar automated systems, and somehow I don't feel compelled to pay any of them at all.
All you achieve is having your e-mail marked as active.
@deshipu cool, cool. I'll still probably try it and see how it goes. Sounds potentially fun. You're welcome to disagree, of course.
just some rando outside ur jurisdiction
@rysiek after the 50 day period interest should accrue at 12% p.a. (calc'd annually not in advance if u want people to do it in their heads)
i'd make it explicit that:
- the placement, context and meaning of the link shall be determined at your sole and absolute discretion
- there is no representation or warranty whatsoever as to whether the link is placed in a way that would imply an endorsement, or even fail to be an explicit or implied disparagement
just some rando outside ur jurisdiction
@rysiek and any and all disputes must be subject only to the law of your jurisdiction and handled solely in the courts therein
just some rando outside ur jurisdiction
@carcinopithecus hah, great points! Yes, jurisdiction is another thing I already thought of adding.
Interest bit is 😗 👌 , totally doing it.
The representation/warranty bit: I don't necessarily want the guy to run scared. I would love to actually get his dough for publishing the blogpost. So I wonder if it was enough to soften this a bit. Like:
"there is no r. or w. that the link as placed might not be seen as explicit or implied disparagement."
I'll have a thunk.
@rysiek Not if you specifically put that blogpost in your robots.txt file - You could have a whole category for asshole SEO spammers that's all robots-blackholed and rel=nofollow, if categories naturally appear in the URL for each post it would be pretty straightforward.
@rysiek I know someone in the UK who did the continued invoiced for each call from a company, to then sue in small claims court to have the judge double the cost to the defendant. Otherwise, I think I'd look at GDPR maybe
@oiyouyeahyou hah, so I guess it worked out for them? Good. Another reason to do it.
Yeah, no, the e-mail in question is publicly available on my blog, the GDPR angle is substantially weaker.
At some point it would edge too closely to "wire fraud" I'm afraid. Question is, where that point lies, exactly.
@rysiek There is an argument that stuff like that is actually good from the spammer’s perspective, as it filters out leads that aren’t gullible enough to look at that and think “seems legit.”
(This is also cited as a reason why “Nigerian prince” scams still exist — if you’re the scammer, and a lead is smart enough to know “Nigerian prince” equals scam, you WANT that lead to go away so you can focus on real rubes.)
@rysiek more on this line of thought here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/publication/why-do-nigerian-scammers-say-they-are-from-nigeria/
@cgervasi @rysiek it’s just that, if you’re a scammer, any time you spend trying to hook someone smart enough to spot the scam is time wasted. You want to only talk to the real hard-core idiots out there, because they’re the ones who will actually bite. Throwing out some signs that are obvious to anyone with a room-temperature IQ thus helps you by screening out everyone above a certain gullibility threshold.
@jalefkowit @rysiek I percentage of people will respond, and percentage of them will send money to the scammer.
A convincing scam will get more responses, but you think a smaller percentage of those will send money. That's plausible but not intuitive to me. I would guess (quantity fall for the scam)/(quantity respond to the scam) would be similar.
@cgervasi @rysiek The full paper goes into some detail on how they modeled things mathematically; if you're interested in it at that level of detail, it can probably explain itself better than I can 😀
@jalefkowit yeah, I am aware. Still, I'm going to test it for a bit. It costs me nothing, and stops them from sending me 3-5 follow-ups (seriously!). So, a net gain anyway.
Next step might be to add this to the ToS on my website directly and use stuff like the CFAA to invoice them *immediately* after I receive the first e-mail. Since people insist website EULAs are enforceable, why not use it? 😉
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