$50 for a link

January 14, 2010 By: erik Category: Internet, Marketing, Weird 220 views

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thumbThe other day I received an email asking me to link one word in one of my posts to a website. In exchange, they offered me $50 per year. Now, my ad revenue from Google AdSense is about $7/month or $84/year. If someone (not you, Mr. SEO Marketer!) offered me $50/year to put a large bold ad on every page, I might consider it. But one ad hyperlink on one word on one post? No problem!

To be honest, I was a little doubtful, but I added the link and replied that I would remove it if I didn’t receive $50 in my PayPal account within 24 hours. Sure enough, the next day, there was a big fat Ulysses sitting in my PayPal account. Awesome.

What I did not expect was to later find, in my blog stats, a referrer back to a Google Spreadsheet that was publicly viewable (I’m row 302 of the “LA” sheet). This is the document where the Search Engine Optimization company is keeping track of websites where they see the word in question and are willing to offer money. It seems that offers range from $25 to $100 per year. It makes me wonder if I could have demanded more. Anyway, I was pleased to note that one of my row neighbors in the spreadsheet is none other than Zoí« Keating.

Anyway, it seems pretty amateurish for an SEO company to A) click on links in your online spreadsheet without disabling referrer information in your browser, and B) allow public access to your spreadsheet so anyone, particularly those that you may not have negotiated a deal with yet, can see how much you’re offering to others.

UPDATE (2010-Jan-19): I’ve donated my Ulysses to Non-Believers Giving Aid to be split 50/50 between Doctors Without Borders and the International Red Cross for use in Haiti. I can’t think of a better place for the money of this incompetent SEO company to go.

  • Paul

    I found the link in your Bishop’s Gambit post. Are you tempted to offer them other links to the same word where it appears in other posts you have written? Hell, for $100, won’t you sell your soul and write a whole blog entry on their product?

    And I noticed poor Zoí« Keating only got $35.

    • I might, yeah. However, notice I didn’t put any links at all in this post.

      Yes, I also noticed that Zoí« only got offered $35. Luckily I spent $15 on her album, so I think we’re even.

  • jv

    Hi, I found your blog a few weeks back while doing a search on chin dimples – my second daughter who is now 9 weeks has a dimple on her chin that surprised us because neither me or my husband have one. I got curious and googled around, and among the various links I ran into, I landed on the post where you had your picture along with your newborn baby’s, comparing the identical chins (very cute). I liked your blog and stayed. I suddenly feel compelled to say “hi”, maybe because this post of yours amused me so much – with the google spreadsheet being public! That’s funny. Anyway, take care, and congrats on the beautiful family and gorgeous baby girl.

    • Thanks, JV! Glad to have you around.

  • You’d better look out with this post, Erik. I know people who sold text links, made a post about it, and then the person that had bought the link cancelled the deal because they didn’t want all the publicity. They were just looking for a link and didn’t want people to know about it.

    • Yes, I was fully aware at the time I posted it that it might cost me next year’s $50. To lower the probability of that happening, I intentionally didn’t mention the word I was paid for nor link to their site in this post, which would generate the same kind of referrer trail that led me to their spreadsheet.

  • These goofballs just paid me another $50 for another link. At least they finally secured their spreadsheet. Luckily I made a copy of the original.