I know for sure that some of you laugh at the things that happen to me, like spam comments and all the crazy stuff online business is related to.
Well, I have another one for you today and not only it is funny, but I hope it will help you if you get in the same situation.
On one of my niche sites, I have an advertising page, like here, where I state the amount of traffic the site receives and I offer ad space on the site.
All the sites I ever had, including this blog, have the policy where you can buy the ad space but not dofollow links. And that is the non-negotiable part.
So I get the e-mail from this guy saying he works for one of the biggest UK Pet insurance companies (the niche site is pet related) and wants to buy advertising space on the site.
Note: The e-mail address he is using is from a UK link building company, not the pet company.
He wanted to put a link on my home page, that would like to one of the inner pages on my site (an article he would send) and then there would be a link to the pet insurance company from that inner page.
Kind of a link wheel, you get nice PR home page to go to an inner page that gets credibility and then goes to his site.
Since I understand that he is building wheels or what ever people call them, I tell him that he needs to understand that the link to the pet insurance company is going to be nofollow! Like it is stated in bold letters on the advertising page.
The guy: “Yes I read that the links would be no follow however I would need it to be a direct link… ”
Direct link? No problem, what else would you be getting.
We agreed on the price, he sent the article which I had to send back to him to re do it. Then he sends it “fixed” and at the same time makes this funny mistake saying that “a female pet needs to be neutered“. Talk about a pet insurance person that has no clue, lol.
I didn’t really feel warm and fuzzy inside about dealing with him from the get go, so I kept my requests up high. For example, I asked for the article to be rewritten. I also said no to his request of putting the home page link above the fold.
All the time, I had this weird feeling about him, so I put the article up without even including it in my RSS feed like I usually do. I wanted to make sure I can remove it easily.
Guess what is the first thing he asked me when I posted it! “Why is the link nofollow?”
Uuuum… because I said it will be.
The guy: “But I wanted a direct link.”
Uuuum… you got one. And that is when I took the article off and told him we can’t do it.
Dude, you work for a SEO company?
You don’t know the difference between asking about direct and dofollow links? I mean, aren’t all links direct?
I usually deal with people that ask straight away if they can have a dofollow link. I always say no and that is the end of it. Although I don’t see the need for them to even ask when it is written they can’t.
Lessons from this
#1 Don’t sell links.
It is a big Google no-no and why would you want to go against the big guy when the benefits of being on the first page are going to bring you much more money.
They can buy all the links in the world from the spammy sites, but guess why they keep contacting the good ones? Cause it counts how good the site it.
#2 They think you are stupid
Yes, I had the same people contact me through this blog and the pet site, with same offers, obviously not knowing they are run by the same person.
When they contact me through the pet site, they think I don’t know the first thing about SEO and links. “Just add this code to your page and that will be OK”. Really?
#3 Stand your ground
If you have something stated on the advertising page, why would you change your mind for a few bucks?
I had a person tell me I should change my site’s design so his ad would be above the fold! Really? Well, you can always pay the “above the fold price” and get it there, right…
#4 Know who are you dealing with
If you are contacted by a person with a “custom” e-mail (not Yahoo or Gmail) you can usually check out their site and see what are they really doing.
If it is a free e-mail address, just be more careful. I use my old Yahoo e-mail for most of my contacts, but if I am approaching someone for the first time, especially if it is related to doing business together, I always use a custom e-mail from one of my sites.
#5 Make sure both of you speak the same language
English not being my native language makes it pretty easy for me to misunderstand people. This could have been the case.
But if I see that the guy is working for an UK SEO company, I would assume he speaks English and uses the “every day SEO terminology”.
Always try to avoid misunderstandings. When I realized what he was thinking, I just took his stuff off the site and decided not to negotiate further. That completely avoided misunderstandings :)
I refuse about 80% of the advertising offers because I will not sell a dofollow link. The 20% that go through make it worth the hassle, because there are people who are buying ad space for traffic and exposure purposes. Selling links and getting caught by Google is going to lose me a lot of money, so I am not taking the chance.
I am sure you had some of these crazy companies contact you, what was your experience? Are you as stubborn as I am, or you still have some sympathy for them?