Asking for links the wrong way

I received an email a few weeks ago asking me to link to a site that had information to help out artists. I visited the site and chose not to respond to the email. Then, yesterday, I received a follow-up from the same person. Normally, I wouldn't respond at all to requests for links, but because of the follow-up, I chose to respond. This is what I wrote:

Thank you for your emails.

There are a few reasons I didn't respond sooner. I tell you these things not in the form of criticism, but with the utmost kindness–to try to help you understand where I (and others you may contact) am coming from. I hope my response will help you with the future marketing of your site and the requests you make of others.

1. You say you don't make money from the site, but you have Google AdSense all over it. There's nothing wrong with this, but I didn't feel like you were being honest.

2. You didn't address me by name, which implied to me that you were sending bulk emails and didn't know anything about me.

3. Your email was one sided. You wanted me to do something that would greatly benefit you (since my site already has thousands of readers), but didn't offer me a link or mention in return. You also could have offered to post one of my articles along with a link.

I do wish you the best with your efforts.

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3 thoughts on “Asking for links the wrong way”

  1. I just got something like that from a “fellow artist”. Asking me to check out their site, etc. But not addressed to me by name. Whoops! Into the spam pile it went. Your response is very kind and helpful. I won’t go to the trouble. I just tag ’em as spammers and move on.

  2. Alyson – that’s a very generous and tactful response. If I get an email from somebody who’s apparently behaving in an ignorant fashion then I might well write to them. Otherwise, I’m with Barbara – I mark it as spam (to help with the spam filters) and move on quickly. I think you’ve highlighted really clearly in your written response the sorts of issues to think about when responding to people who spam. I agree, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with adding links to websites or blogs which are commercial, however IMO they must earn respect and ‘street cred’ first – and that really only comes with time. Too many people want to skip this bit and go for the ‘jump start’! I added my link to ArtBiz Blog because I liked what I read over a period of time – and not because anybody asked me to. I’ve tried to provide some signposts for people like this. I’ve got a blogroll policy (re links) which is very clearly marked (in the “For Your Information” section of my side column). It starts, in a rather direct fashion. “I don’t swop links – period. Don’t ask.”. I did have it lower and said it more politely but I found it worked a lot better said simply and at the top! I then reiterate the same point in my notes on blogging etiquette in the same section. For those who do want to get news out, I prefer an approach which announces the site and asks if you’d start reading it, or keep it under review – and no more. That’s a much better way of getting my attention – and one which doesn’t get marked up as spam.

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more!! I even thought your email was not only well thought out, but even gentle in responding to what I felt was an attempt-no, more like a “hustle for links” strategy. Is that even a phrase? Ha. I never ask to “get a link.” Instead, I ask if I may put their link on my list of recommended blogs/sites. I say that I prefer to just “ask” first. And you know what? I usually get a friendly link exchange anyway, as well as cultivating and broadening my community of fellow artists and friends. Just a thought. Julianne

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