No, I Won’t Link to Your Spammy Article

I love that Troy Hunt has a blog post with that title that isn’t intended really for you or I to read, but for assholes that email him asking for spammy links.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve arrived here from a link I sent you via email. 

I get these email requests all too often myself. They look like this:

In that case, Greg is a real person and the article he wants me to link to is at least sort of topical. But it still spam, and I’m I don’t appreciate this kind of “marketing”. In fact, ButterCMS is obnoxious enough about it that I have scrubbed my site of legit links to them anyway as they should not be rewarded in any way for this kind of behavior.

Here’s one where it’s less clear if it’s a real person or not, but still on the dartboard:

And here’s one where they are just throwing darts in the ocean:

Troys post:

Alrighty, so it’s an unsolicited message (I certainly didn’t ask for it) and it’s intended to advertise your work. And that’s really what you’re asking for here – free advertising. You want people reading my content to leave my site and head on over to yours where they’ll not only read your content, but (probably) view your ads and drive revenue for you.

Thing is, it’s probably not even “your” site anyway because there’s a very high likelihood that you’re an Oompa Loompa in the “digital marketing” space tasked with spamming people like me (remember, you’re only allowed to have gotten down to here if you understand what spam is) in order to drive clicks. It’s either clicks alone or clicks and SEO courtesy of establishing more inbound links in an attempt to artificially inflate the popularity of the site.

Troy’s idea is to then put the keywords they want linked up into this post on his site so maybe he’ll get the SEO instead of them. Dangerous tactic, it seems to me, as it it makes the post body read like spam instead of the legit article it is. At least it doesn’t link anywhere spammy though.

I have strong emotions when it comes to this stuff, too. Last time I wrote about spam:

When I’m particularly frustrated, I think about changing my opinion on the death penalty. This asshole is using my software, which I work so hard at making awesome, to cheat and steal from others.

And not only are they trying to hurt others, they hurt me. Their spam puts CodePen at risk of Google thinking it’s a spam farm and displaying nasty warnings when people come there and removing us from search results. A devastating blow for any website.

And not only are they hurting others and me, they are hurting my team. All of us want CodePen to succeed because we believe in it, but we also need it to succeed because we’re trying to make a good life for ourselves and not succeeding means taking a step back.

And not only are they hurting others, me, and my team, they are hurting the internet. Think of how much better the internet would be if so many smart people didn’t constantly have to spend so much time and mental effort battling nefarious crap like spam and online fraud. Straight up, it would be better. Information would be easier to find, at least.

So this asshole is basically roundhouse kicking everything in my life that I love. And for that they should die.

But then I’m having a better day and new thoughts replace those murderous ones. Surely life is quite hard where this spammer lives. Maybe getting a job at the spam factory is the only way they can feed their family. They are just clicking some buttons and hitting some keys — how bad is that really? Certainly it’s not as bad as their cousin who shovels industrial waste into the river.

And here I am, with my great life in my happy home on my high horse thinking awful things about them. Should I just shut up and deal with it? Or are these really terrible people who need a dose of wrath? Or is there some middle ground? I wish I knew how to do life good.

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