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:

"""
Hi,

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.

(cont.)

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.

(cont.)

Please be advised that any further communication that is not a clear rejection of this deal as outlined herein will accrue a $50 processing fee; any such further communication amounts to acceptance of these terms.

Please let me know if these conditions are acceptable. I am looking forward to doing business with you.
"""

Now, the questions are:
1. is this clear enough such that when the guy is unhappy with my placement offer, he doesn't get to sue me for some bullshit;

(cont.)

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? :thaenkin:

Follow

The annoying SEO spammer is back. Sending him this e-mail. Hold on to your socks.

· · Web · 1 · 1 · 19

I even found out their invoicing details and included them in the e-mail as "The invoice will be made out to...".

I fully expect never to hear from them again. And now I have a template for such dweebs.

So here's the big question: when I inevitably do not hear from them again, should I do a follow-up e-mail next week (they did 5 already)?

That would be funny, wouldn't it.

Just got another SEO spam e-mail and I kid you not the website in question (crypto peddling crap) has *glitches* in their huge header image, and Lorem Ipsum all over the place.

Sent them the e-mail, waiting impatiently for their response.

(never gonna come, I bet)

I am happy to report that a solid 6 days later (for the first SEO scammer) and 5 days later (for the second one), neither decided to send me a reply nor even a reminder.

So I chalk this up as a success. Usually I get a reminder after 3-4 days, and I got *several* from the first aforementioned nincompoop across about a month and to two separate e-mail addresses.

I guess I need to write this up.

You know, on my blog.

That attracts SEO scammers.

🤷‍♀️

The next stage would be talking to a lawyer and figuring out if I can make this into a shrink-wrap EULA type thing (these are, after all, valid and binding as many lawsuits have "proven").

You know:

"Sending me an e-mail suggesting to put a link of your choosing on my blog confirms you have read and accepted these terms. The processing fee for such a requests is $100, non-refundable."

That could have two outcomes:
1. I never et to see SEO scam spam ever again.
2. I get to invoice a SEO scammer one day.

@rysiek damn, I wish I could subscribe to fediverse thread in Mastodon

@kuba yes, this is a huge missing feature! I've had the same thought many times.

@kuba @rysiek this is something I always wanted the birdsite to have, too. A thread looks interesting, so let me follow it. Either just toots from the original author, or all toots in thread. Put those in my Notifications please and thank you.

@magnus919 @rysiek just gonna practice wishful thinking and cc @Gargron here. We know you had an extremely stressful week. You rock! No pressure. Just sharing our thoughts

@rysiek keep sending the invoice and threaten a collector lol

@DrWhax kek.

At some point it would edge too closely to "wire fraud" I'm afraid. Question is, where that point lies, exactly.

@rysiek IMO, when you don't hear from them again, you should put the template somewhere public (under a free license and maybe somewhere where people can provide feedback). When you *do* hear from them again, you may also put it public, but accompany it with an explanation of further steps to take (what channels are used to get the money, are extra contracts needed, any pitfalls to be aware of when doing this...). I'd love to see this become a more common thing.

@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.)

@jalefkowit @rysiek Is the idea that if you did a more convincing scam, a lower percentage of those who reply would eventually give out their bank account number, money, or whatever the scammer is looking for?

@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 😀

Here's the link: microsoft.com/en-us/research/w

@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? 😉

@rysiek

You could always have a look at simplelogin.io, which I use all the time, for newsletter subscriptions etc. You can link your actual email account to (any number of) alias addresses, which become your public email contact, and which you can delete and replace if too spammed. Your true email account remains out of the public domain for this purpose.

(It was recently bought by ProtonMail, but is being led by the same team, they say.)

Just an idea, anyway.

@littlegravitas I run my own e-mail server. I can do this already myself. But thanks for the info.

@littlegravitas not at all! I was not aware of that service, and it's a useful thing to know about.

@Fourteen @rysiek I think it sounds fun ngl

What else should you do in your free time if not have fun?

@84b08ef8 @rysiek it's just writing an email then acting smart about it, you should do actually fun things like fostering constructive and creative hobbies

@Fourteen @rysiek maybe it's a personal thing but I always enjoyed bothering scammers. To each their own :)

@84b08ef8 @rysiek if that's what mashes your potato i'm not here to stop you, it's just seems futile, they do not respond with anything entertaining, they just silently move on to the next rube

@Fourteen @84b08ef8 again, from the first scammer I got *several* e-mails nagging me about their SEO bullcrap.

Them reliably moving on is a *win*.

@rysiek @84b08ef8 just block his address, he's not sitting there impressed like "damn he got me good with that one"

@Fourteen @84b08ef8 if I was not finding pleasure in this little exercise, do you think I would be doing it?

I mean, you've made your point about how futile it is, I heard you. I appreciate your feedback. 🤷‍♀️

@rysiek

It is a lot of work, but as long as you have fun and can afford the effort, it is well worth the time. I love the idea anyway.

If there's good legal basis, this shit can be automated, or delegated to a counter-spam-attack commercial service that *will* send the lawyers and a bill behind their ass, when they are in breach to the agreements outlined in your communication exchange.

@humanetech yup. Tearing-SEO-scammers-a-new-one-as-a-Service, or TSSaNOaaS.

Just rolls off the tongue.

@rysiek

I was thinking Continuous Spammer Bill Delivery service, or CSBD.

@rysiek As long as the idea of SEO itself doesn't ever actually come up in the contract, so you can blackhole the page with robots.txt and fail to link it from the frontpage/rss whoops

@rysiek I think you made this too cheap — and giving them a link in an anti-SEO article would still give them what they want (google-foo).

This should also be 500USD *per timeframe*, not a flat 500USD. 500 USD per week would be appropriate, I think.

A nofollow link could be different … but would still drive people there.

@rysiek I heard that Troy Hunt of haveibeenpwned came up with the answer, sure just create an account on this site.

But then he designed a method to always find something wrong with the submitted password.

passwordpurgatory.com/

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