Link Exchange Requests are NOT Blogger Relations
I'm working on a longer bad pitch post that will cover some recent faux pas perpetrated on bloggers by marketing and PR professionals in the guise of blogger relations. In combing through my pitch file, I found some link exchange requests, which reminded me to tell you about the "special place in hell" reserved for those that send link exchange spam. [An HP Photo Book for the first reader who correctly identifies the special place reference. Mum, you can't enter.]
Link exchange requests are spam. Full stop. They are sometimes sent by newbies who don't know better but most often by spammers who just don't care.
Note the time sent: a sure sign of a mass email program. This one is probably a porn site.
Spelling errors, highlighted in both. Another sign of the spammer. No relevance to my blog other than I mentioned a trip to California.
When you are cataloging the list of PR agency sins, don't tag them with this one. While there are always exceptions to any "rule," link exchange requests are rarely used by reputable agencies with any online experience -- even those that send crappy blog pitches to <insert name here> with multiple jpeg attachments.
What should you do when you get a link exchange request?
If you sense it is from a newbie who just doesn't know any better, send them a brief email. Tell them that you add people and sites to your blogroll that you find interesting or valuable to your readers, but you do not do link exchanges. If you sell advertising, by all means offer it up as an alternative. If the blog or site is on target to your interests, perhaps offer to check it out but make no promises. Give them the link to this post if you think it will help. If it really was a mistake on the sender's part, they should appreciate the kindly meant advice.
Spammers? Block the sender in your spam filter and delete the email.
And think about that special place in hell just for them.
PS -- The reference to my mom is a clue for anyone who has heard me speak recently, as I often use an anecdote about her as an example. And did you know, faux pas is a pun in French. Literally it means "false step" but it also rhymes with "faut pas," as in "il ne faut pas," which translates roughly to "one must not."
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