Tuesday, November 10, 2015


For years, I've gotten these odd e-mails from people that all sound something like this:
I read your blog---dubiousquality.blogspot.com--and it has some interesting content. I noticed that in this post--[some link here]--you refer to gray seal hemorrhoid cream with an outdated link. You can use this link instead. Would you please make that change?

It's all bog-standard format, and almost always, the links these e-mails refer to are ancient history--as far back as 2005.

For several years now, I've been answering with something like this:
How about this? I'll be happy to change the link if you'll answer a question. Occasionally, I have people e-mailing me about old, old links (like the one you cited from 2008). The only people who ever e-mail about these links all use kind of the same format, so clearly, there’s some kind of economic incentive for them to e-mail and get links changed. I assume there is for you, too. Here’s my question: how on earth can someone make enough money from doing something like this to make it worthwhile?

I'm sure I've sent out that e-mail at least 50 times, and no one has ever written me back.

Until yesterday, that is, when I received a response from someone who said I had a link referring to a product in an "unnatural" way". Here's the response:
Thank you so much for removing the link. I really appreciate it.

And you are correct, there is an economic incentive.

Google is a free money making machine for companies like mine. Some links are considered higher quality than others and ratios of low quality links to high quality links have a large influence on how highly a webpage ranks for a certain keyword query. Companies like mine pay people like me to help them rank is highly as possible in search results in order to drive increasing amounts of revenue. Higher rank, higher traffic, more eyes, more buys.

And please don't take offense, what I consider a poor website or poor link has nothing to do with it - only Google's opinion matters for my objectives. I'm just doing what a tool told me to do. My assumption is that the link is unnatural due to the fact that the anchor text says jumpsuit and the page it points to features a vacuum cleaner which is a little bit different and misleading to users.

I am also baffled that I have a job and that human beings waste their time on silly endeavors like these. Its a billion dollar industry. But thankful ....incredibly thankful ...to have a job that allows me personal freedom, a roof over my head, and food in my belly. It pays better than you think.

So there's the explanation, and it was masterful. What a remarkably polite person.

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