Emails requesting I remove links from my site

Over the past few months, I have received three emails along the lines of this one:

It has come to our attention that your site may be linking to our own in a manner which we believe may be mutually harmful in SEO terms. For this reason, I would be very grateful if you would please remove all links to this site at your earliest convenience, letting me know that you have done so.

If you run a blog, have you received similar emails? My standard reply is along these lines:

I am happy to remove the link to <company name> from my site if necessary. However, before I do that...

(Forgive me for being paranoid and ultra-sceptical but...)

How do I know that you're not working for a competitor to <company name> who is trying to decrease the ranking of <company name> on search engines? I see that your email address comes from the domain <company name.suffix> but we all know that it's trivial to fake the "from" address of an email.

Please can you confirm that if I was to contact <company name> directly then they would confirm that you are working for them?

I understand that the Google Penguin search engine algorithm update targets "black-hat SEO techniques" such as participating in link schemes. However, I must emphasise that my website is just an "organic" blog. I was not paid to accept links from <company name>. If you feel that <company name> has been unfairly targeted by Google then please complain to Google using their Penguin feedback form.

Again, I'm really sorry to be so very sceptical about this. I just want to make sure I'm not being duped.

Following my reply, all three people who have contacted me have, so far at least, gone quiet.



Hmmm, it sounds you were right to be suspicious. I think that fact that no one responded to your reply speaks volumes. And for the record, I haven't had any such emails, and I link to a lot of smart metering companies!

Yeah. None of the smart meter companies I link to have contacted me. It's mostly just people who are nominally contacting me from LED manufacturers.

My good friend (and ninja webby person) Ed sent a couple of tweets to me about this. He says "It's relatively common bullshit scam. Tell them where to go and do not remove any links. it's simple black-hat SEO. With the value of link spam now reduced, removing links to competitors is next best."

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