I got yet another email from blog spammer Upskilled that had a more threatening tone than the last:
We have tried to contact you several times regarding the link on “http://camprrm.typepad.com/” to our site http://upskilled.edu.au/.
This link is in violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines and must be removed in order to bring our site into compliance with Google's terms.
Like it is something I did that is in violation. They are now sort of hinting that if I do not respond they will have to put my site on some naughty list sent to Google. All of which follows this laugh-inducing line from their prior email:
We appreciate your efforts to promote our website; however, we are trying to bring our website within Google’s guidelines.
Yeah, as if I put it there. It is a spam comment they put there years and years ago back when Google rewarded such behavior. A spam comment not placed by me but in fact placed by them against my wishes. The comment was one sentence repeated out of the post itself and signed with their corporate link.
For those who are not familiar, the original Google secret sauce over older search engines was that they did not rely on metadata in the post itself to assess relevance of the post (back in the day, people used to fill their metadata with "Britney Spears" and similar gunk to attract search rankings). Instead, they looked at how many other sites linked to you. The more, the better.
But people are nothing if not innovative in gaming metrics, and quickly web sites started trying to spam links to their themselves all over creation. They sometimes paid sites for links, but why pay when you can stick links to your site for free in spam comments on blogs. This is what Upskilled clearly did.
Now, Google has changed their algorithms (actually they change them constantly) and penalize sites for having these spam links. Which is why this company Upskilled is trying so desperately to convince me that I am somehow responsible for their spam link. It almost tempts me to create a whole web page that is just the word "Viagra" repeated over and over and linked to their site.
For the record, here is my response to their email I have sent several times to their National Marketing Manager Michael Crump, which they continue to ignore and pretend that I am not answering them:
I no longer control this site at typepad. I left it 7 years ago for self-hosting. Typepad continues to display the blog, but I cannot make any changes without paying hundreds of dollars to reactivate my account.
Perhaps I misunderstand the situation, but I must say I have only limited sympathy. Your company obviously engaged in a marketing campaign where you used automated programs to leave spam comments on blogs -- in this case the comment your bot left was just a quote of some of the text in the post itself. Such spam comment bots are the bane of us blog owners' existence and we spend a lot of time and money fighting the behavior you engaged in. In trying to promote your business, you vandalized my blog with digital graffiti. Now that Google has changed its search ranking rules to penalize this behavior, you want me again spend time and effort doing your cleanup for you.
By the way, now that I read your original email more clearly, I am infuriated with your approach. "We appreciate your efforts to promote our website; however, we are trying to bring our website within Google’s guidelines". You are implying that I put up the link rather than you guys. Insulting.
You want to scare me that somehow I am in violation of Google guidelines. But in fact you are in violation. It was you or your paid marketing representatives that put the link on my site, not me. I didn't even want it there. And since that sort of spam comment violates the terms and conditions of my site, you put it on my site in violation of my rules and express wishes.