The side effects of Google’s attempt to fight links through harsh penalties are really starting to add up.
After reading this post in which a site was wrongfully accused of having spammy links, one thought occurred to me:
What’s stopping black hats from sending off these emails pretending to be their competitors?
Think about it. It wouldn’t be hard to fake it. Just register a very similar domain name of your competitor, create an email address from that domain, 301 the domain to your competitor’s site, then send out these emails to all of the sites linking to them. I bet a lot of these sites wouldn’t even question it and would just take down the links.
For those who don’t have any link management alerts set up, it might be weeks or even months before you realized they were taken down; at that point, it would be tough trying to get them back up live on that site, even if the webmaster was understanding & willing.
If you think there’s legal problems to this, you could just leave out the wrongful accusations of copyright infringement and other things along those lines. The emails could look something like this (mostly copy & pasted from the letter they sent):
It has come to our attention that your website or website hosted by your company contains links to My Website (www.mywebsite.com) which results in financial losses by the company we represent, because of search engine penalties.
I request you to remove from following website (TheirWebsite.com) all links to www.mywebsite.com as soon as possible.
I have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by My Company. Therefore, this letter is an official notification to effect removal of the detected infringement listed in this letter.
Please, inform me within 48 hours of the results of your actions. Otherwise we will be forced to take action & contact you directly.
Do you think the idea of getting quality links removed as opposed to adding spammy ones could end up being as bad as negative SEO? Or do you think this isn’t even possible, and that I’m some crazy lunatic for ever bringing it up?
Would love to hear your thoughts. To make things interesting, I’m turning off comments. To respond, write up a post on your blog on this topic or join the discussion on Inbound.org or anywhere else it might be submitted. If you choose to write up a post, just let me know and I’ll add a link to it right below this paragraph.
Negative SEO and Faking Link Removal Notices by Sam Applegate
I Got A Fake (?) “Please Remove This Link” Email by Gab Goldenberg
Thanks for reading, and can’t want to see what all of you have to say.