The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Oblivious spammers looking to game Google for “organic” links

Two weeks ago I received an email from A informing me of a broken link on a 14-year old post and suggesting I replace said broken link with a link to a general purpose site that has no relation to the post or to the specific information I originally linked to with the now broken link. It was obvious to me that A just searched for links to the defunct site and spammed anyone that had linked to said site in order to divert some Google Page Rank to some obscure site they've been paid to hawk. Then a week later, A emails me again to remind me of the email of the previous week. What sent me over the edge on this one was the following at the bottom of the second message: “P.S. If you don't want to hear from me anymore you can unsubscribe here.”

I'm sorry, but when did I “subscribe” to your emails? I replied in a rather harsh tone, but I suspect A just sent my reply to the bit bucket.

Then two days after that, I received an email from C informing me of a broken link on the same 14-year old post. C had a different email address from A, and appeared to work for a different company than A, but yet offered a different link than the one A had offered. And the link showed that C had no clue how the original broken link was used in context of the page and was just hawking some obscure site to obtain some Google Page Rank. So I ignored it.

Today, I received an email from C, reminding me of the email sent previously.

So I replied with a very harsh message informing C that not only was I aware of his previous email, but I was also aware of the previous two emails from A and the links A was spamming. I ended my reply to C with “I've decided to remove the damn link to XXXXXXXX­XXX entirely! It's obvious both of you never read the page it was on and are just looking to game Google with ‘organic’ links.”

C surprised me with a reply a few hours later, apologizing for sending the emails.

Wow! Complaining actually worked. At least, I hope it worked and I was removed from at least one spam list. A guy can hope.

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