why I don’t accept guest posts from spammers, or link to them

I get an email maybe once a week from someone with a human-sounding name saying they read my blog and think they have something my readers might be interested in. Or they offer to do a guest post on my blog. The link is usually some sort of vaguely useful list of something library-related but the URL of the website is not library-related. In fact the URL of the website is usually something like onlinenursepractitionerschools.com, searchenginecollege.com or collegedegree.com (which if you’ll notice is the top hit on google for a search for college degree). I sometimes see other libloggers linking to sites like these and I have a word of advice: don’t. When we link to low-content sites from our high-content sites, we are telling Google and everyone that we think that the site we are linking to is in some way authoritative, even if we’re saying they’re dirty scammers. We’re helping their page rank and we’re slowly, infinitesimally almost, decreasing the value of Google and polluting the Internet pool in which we frequently swim. Don’t link to spammers.

This is a linkless post, for obvious reasons.

19 Responses to “why I don’t accept guest posts from spammers, or link to them”

  1. walt crawford Says:

    Nicely done. (Guest posts? That’s what you get for being MUCH more high-profile than me. I haven’t received such an offer in months. Too bad–I can always use a good laugh.) But, yes, even low-level bloggers like me get “your readers really need to know about this” emails on a fairly regular basis.

  2. Alan M Barr Says:

    Great recommendation. What little content those websites address it is only a facade to their true intentions of obtaining and selling contact information to for-profit universities.

  3. jfox Says:

    honestly i though the “:chocolate bar in a book” thing was funny… not trying to spam you… oh well.

  4. Nicole C. Engard Says:

    I too get these emails and ignore them – I’m with you on this. I actually had friends tell me recently I was on some of these lists and I emailed them to tell them not to trust these sites, they’re too suspicious.

  5. Steven Says:

    I’ve gotten many of these as well and asked them to stop e-mailing me. Thanks for writing this.

  6. Rachel Says:

    I not only get these, I usually get the email 2-3x which is a pretty good tipoff it’s not an individualized email :).

  7. Christopher O'Leary Says:

    Thanks for the tip! I’m not far off creating my own website and blog and it’s great to know these sort of things.

  8. Linda Ueki Absher Says:

    I’ve been getting a *ton* of requests from these spammers. Looking at my logs, they are driving a significant amount of traffic to my blog, but I feel no obligation to help them out since I feel they’re profiting from my content.

  9. Paul Adasiak Says:

    I haven’t gotten any such requests yet; you people make me feel like such a nobody. However, people (bots?) often leave comments of the “Great blog; I’m definitely going to add this to my feed!” variety, with a link to some garbage site. Usually I delete the comments altogether, though if I’m in doubt about its authenticity I’ll just remove the link.

  10. laura Says:

    I just left a link to this post in the comments for this Booklist reference blog. Sigh.

  11. Jeff scott Says:

    Thank you for highlighting this. It seemed as if these popped up everywhere, but no one when out and called it what it is. I get frustrated when librarians do link to it (whether to praise or criticize).

  12. jdoewy Says:

    Wait a minute, wait a minute … Aren’t by default blogger links of the “nofollow” type??? Google is not supposed to crawl onto urls posted on blogger sites. I’ve seen some people tweaking their blogger templates to make their urls “nofollow=false” and allow spamdexing. Am I just confused?

  13. Lynn Schlatter Says:

    Sorry for not jumping on the bandwagon, but I respectfully disagree. I’ve got the librarian = information junkie trait, so if I find good information I recommend it and yes, even link to it, regardless of the junk surrounding it. In fact, I have a link to the Learngasm site (which I think is one of the offenders being cited here) on my blog. Of course, it’s followed by a commentary on how badly written many of the referenced sites are. ;-)

  14. the.effing.librarian Says:

    I’m glad you posted this because when I see some of these “best of” links on Twitter, my first thought is, “bullshit.” These are generic lists of the same stuff we already know. But I don’t want to say that because I’m just me, and who listens to me? But since it’s you saying it, maybe everyone will catch on to the scam. FYI, I let someone do a guest post last year on my blog because it’s not much of a blog (in the library world; in the world of awesomeness, it’s, well, awesome, but not so important in the library world). But I’ll try not to make that mistake again. These fly-by-night link whores shouldn’t get help from us because we should know better.

  15. Connie Crosby Says:

    Yes, I’ve been guilty of linking to them. They’ve been around for a long time, I think, but seem to have ramped up this strategy lately and it is becoming annoying. Some people tell me they see value in the listings, and it does indeed bring traffic to my blog, but they are very poorly done having blogs in completely incorrect categories. Maybe we should take the cue and re-do the lists correctly if there is a need. ;-)

    There is such a fine line between lists with value and linkbait.

  16. jessamyn Says:

    It’s a bind, I admit. I really like chewy lists of good information but I also feel that there’s a blogging community in some sense and that people who just ask other people for incoming links [who don't comment, who don't otherwise have a personal profile] just seem like telemarketers of the internet world. They don’t seem to add any value and the existence of sites like theirs reduces, however infinitesimally, the value of the internet as a resource overall. Every time I see a list like that, I think “I should go make my own list, using good information not a quick Google and then bug people to link to that instead”

    And jdoewy I don’t know about Blogger.com but wordpress definitely doesn’t make links nofollow by default.

  17. blog.rightreading.com » Friday roundup | Duly quoted Says:

    [...] On not linking to thin-content (spammish) sites : Do everyone a favor, dont be taken in [...]

  18. Mechelle Fogelsong Says:

    I’m with Lynn Schlatter. I’m an author of YA novels–as yet unpublished–and getting myself published seems to be all work and no play. I designed a teen advice column, attempting to get my name out there and build a platform. (That’s what it takes to get published: make a name for yourself FIRST. No joke.) I’ve emailed lots of librarians, encouraging them to link to my site, and I get a lot of rejections. How am I ever supposed to get published when librarians slam the door in my face? My advice column is well-written. I do book discussion posts once in a while to keep in library-relevant. However, I find myself in a conundrum. It’s like trying to get a credit card at age 18. How do you get credit when you have no credit record? Librarians will post links to authors who are already published, but you can’t get published without a platform.

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