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Why You Should Ignore Most Link Requests

We all get these emails: the link requests. Even if you’re all for paid links, you have to admit that most of the the generic link request emails floating around are a pretty poor investment—permanent links on interior pages with a low, one-time payment. I’ve gotten offers as low as $10 or $20. Rather than reply with “No, thanks, I’ll just keep my eyes open for loose change,” I usually ignore them.

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger gets his fair share of these proposals. He actually takes the time to reply that he’s not interested. Today (tomorrow, actually, but it’s just that whole international date line thing) he posted not just the initial email but a long conversation from a would-be link seller. Over the course of more than two weeks, the seller insistently emails Darren more than ten times. Darren’s consistent reply: “Sorry, not interested.” From the exchange (these are the 9th and 10th emails in the conversation):

Thanks for your time

I can give you $250 per page per paragraph if you are interested.

Have you any other website where you can easily place my paragraphs

Kind regards



thanks for the offer shawn but I just don’t do text link ads.

Sorry – it’s just not something that I do


“Shawn” started off with a generic offer, no money. Darren said he wasn’t interested. Apparently to “Shawn,” “sorry but I don’t do this type of thing” means “Yes, please tell me more!”

So he launches into the pitch, offering $150 each for a paragraph containing 4-5 permanent links to be placed on six of Darren’s pages. (I know you’re wondering, so I’ll tell you—all of these pages have a Toolbar PR of 5 and the list included Darren’s About page. The About page?! Come on!)

Despite the being rebuffed time and again, “Shawn” continues to think “I’m not interested” and “I don’t do this kind of thing” means “pay me more.” (I’d hate to see this guy in a singles’ bar…) He negotiates as high as $400 per page and expands the list to eight pages (so that’s 32-40 permanent links for $3200). Finally, “Shawn” asks Darren to name his price and Darren does—$10,000.

My favorite suggestion comes from the comments:

This is how I approach the offer:

1) It must be a recurring payment. If not, they should offer at least 24x my monthly link ad rate. So, If my monthly rate is $100, they should offer $2,400 for lifetime.

2) The paragraph ads should be enclosed in a bordered box to separate it from the content on the page.

3) The ads will be labeled as “Adverts” conspicuously.

4) The link should have the nofollow tag or a Javascript link or a redirect.

5) I have editorial rights to reject any one or all of the ads.

I’m guessing he doesn’t get many takers.

Even sadder than the link seller’s persistence here is the fact that there are lots of bloggers out there who would be so flattered at the offer or so tempted by the cash that they accept on the spot. Not everyone knows enough about text link advertising to realize that this is a bum deal, and I’m guessing very few of these people are being offered $150 per page. In fact, looking at the whole blogosphere, I’d guess that it’s a very small minority that has any idea what a reasonable price is for a text link.

This kind of tactic will be tried—and work—until the majority of bloggers become more advertising savvy.


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