Posted February 20, 2008 5:25 pm by with 17 comments

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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.

  • Beautiful.

    I have been approached by some people like this – sometimes offering $200USD for a bunch of permanent links – and I’ve never been able to succumb to their offers. Good to see a post that verbalises the insanity of this model.

    If I were to accept one of these offers, I’d make it clear that the content they post their ads on could disappear after 12 months.

  • Good advice; I turn down all link exchange offers as well. The money might be attractive but the long term hit on the blog could be severe.

  • Lol, I had a guy negotiating with me that had a “best offer” of $4 per post for 2-3 links per paragraph.

    Darren’s post was very humorous as I have been through that process myself a few times, although the numbers are much smaller as I am a small fish right now.

  • i think you sould not buy any links at all.
    buying links will stay only if you submit to internet directories.
    internet directories most of the time can do more harm then good.
    also read more about reciprocal links truth
    [link removed]

  • I never got these kind of offers but it is really great if you can sell text link for a high price but I prefer not to sell permanent link in my site.

  • I had been offered these types of requests a few times and most were scams anyway.

    My PR never goes up and I wasted plenty of money

  • Zen

    I feel kind of sorry for Shawn. 🙂

  • Got one of those offers 2 weeks ago, despite saying “no” right away, the guy kept insisting. I raised the issue of clearly stating its an ad, limiting the lifetime of the link and so on, and asked for clear contact information: name, physical address, even just a web site! Got a lot of info, including other web sites who accepted his offer (all pretty lame…) but never got any contact information! The guy name was not Shawn, must have been his brother…

  • I had a similar request a couple of weeks ago. The guy wanted to pay me $15 each for permanent placement of one paragraph on several pages of my website. Each paragraph was to have several links and it looked so spammy. The odd thing was he wanted to put these paragraphs on pages that would obviously be counterproductive for me – a sales landing page, book review pages, and my e-zine opt-in page.

    When I kindly refused to sell links on those pages at any price and countered that he would have to pay me a monthly recurring fee equal to or greater than his one-time offer PLUS, and this was a major condition of mine, I would write the content to match the tone and voice of my website if he would send me his anchor text and landing pages so that I could review them prior to accepting closing the deal, all I got was, “Let me know when you’re ready to go.”

    Like, hey Dumb Ass, did you read my counter offer or do you just treat all of your potential business partners like they are unworthy of your business? I won’t be dignifying any more requests.

  • Heh I really should have ready this the other day before sending out some link exchange request emails. A misguided attempt by my company to improve our SEO, as I’m sure many companies have done. We’ve learned our lesson though! :p

  • Link exchanging can always be touchy. I’ve been burned on it before.

  • Tom

    If you want to know the ins and outs of managing link exchange requests, I’ve written an article on what I’ve learned from it – having done it for a few years.

  • The only reason I even read link requests anymore is for the pure humor.

  • I have a guy who exchanged links with me and I was classified as a spam site too. Really sad.

  • I would like to sell some links.

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