I’m kind of sitting here in shock right now. I’ve been in the online marketing game for well over a decade, but this morning I had an email exchange that dumbfounded me.

To be clear, this isn’t an “outing” post – even though I could do so – I just don’t believe in “outing”.

This post is a lesson for people hiring link building services.

People often wonder why some link building companies are so expensive when there’s TONS of other companies offering to build links at a fraction of the cost.

I’ve got one word for you – quality.

This morning I had an email exchange initiated by a link builder posing as a woman. She had social media profiles on Twitter and Facebook. She interacts. And she’s the perfect example of when link building goes wrong.

She had retweeted two of my tweets this morning and then sent the following email via my contact form (that I now know was definitely written by someone else but her)…

“Dear Editor,

I have been following your blog sugarrae.com for a while. I can say without hesitation that you have done some remarkable work and put a great and informative content on it. Moreover, I have noticed that you are accepting guest posts as well, so I thought of contributing my ideas to your blog. I have done a comprehensive research on the topics that are related to your blog and can offer you a piece of them.

It will not only attract more visitors but also help them get the informative stuff on the subject. Please let me know if you can accept my blog post. I assure you that the content will be informative, relevant, unique, and will provide help to the blog visitors. Furthermore, being a professional writer.

I Hope for a positive and professional response from your side.

Thanks & Regards,
[Fake Name]”

My son had woken me up before 5AM, I was feeling a bit snarky, so I responded with the following…

Dear Link Builder not named [Fake Name],

1. Had you actually followed my blog for some time, you’d have addressed me as “Rae” and not “Editor” since it’s a personal blog – with no editor.
2. You waited a good amount of time after following me a few days ago before contacting me as a “long time reader” – which was good – most people wouldn’t know what you were only following me to create a “connection” to have a better shot at me accepting your guest post – I had to “more” my followers 4 times to find you.
3. The amount of time you waited between retweeting a second random article of mine and filling out my contact form was too short. I personally would have waited 30 minutes to an hour. Seven minutes between retweet and form submission was too short a timespan. If the “editor” hadn’t clearly given away you had never even looked at my blog before, that timespan would have given away that you copied and pasted an email because you didn’t have time to write that whole thing out in that timespan.
4. “I Hope for a positive and professional response from your side.” < Never insult the blogger. By telling me you're "hoping" for a professional response, what you're really saying is you think I might send an unprofessional one. Why, I don't know.
5. Never, EVER pitch an SEO blog. Ever. Had I wanted to be an ass, I've have said yes to the post. Then had you send it. Then I'd have used parts of your bio to find all your other posts and could have potentially outed some of your clients had I posted about it. Pitching SEO blogs in general is dangerous with this kind of craptastic link building.
6. Your profile image is Mandy Moore. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

You're honestly lucky you didn't end up on my blog.

Cheers,
Rae

And that would have been that. Until, “she” responded with something that floored me…

“Thanks for reply me,

I Wish to doing more business with together, I have a good blog network to post your article, So are you doing to deal with me then reply me.

I send my all list to you.

Thanks
[Fake Name]”

Wait, what? So I responded…

Are you seriously kidding me right now? Is this some kind of online version of Punked?

And “she” responded back…

“No I am serious to talk with you, I have really good blog network for you to post your article Rae….”

[blink] I answered…

“So wait, you want ME to post an article somewhere on YOUR network now? Are you for real? I’m speechless right now.”

And “she” answered…

“Yes right,

Dear tell me theme you like to post your article i show you okay”

Awe. Shock. Amazement. I responded…

Well since you said Dear – I’d like to post an article on Link Building Do’s and Don’ts.

“She” responded with the following. Underneath it, was a list of 10 URLs.

“I send my site okay… Check all okay”

Ok, you’re just fair game now. Actually, you were fair game a while ago. I’m blatantly mocking you. You are responding STILL trying to get a link. So I respond…

Do you want to post on my site too?

“She” asks me to send her a list of my blogs. I tell her I have one blog – Sugarrae.com. “She” responds…

“Okay fine….SO please tell me which type of article do you consider on your site? And also send me require of article length and you adding one link on my website.”

I answer…

One on How to Build Links the Right Way. 300 word minimum.

And “she” answers…

“Hello,

please let me know are you accept affiliated marketing article on your site then i go ahead to write for that..”

And I replied…

Yes, that’s fine. But I need it soon – I have a post to put up about this.

About 20 minutes later, “she” responded with…

“Hello Rae,

I am interested to write an article on “How to Build Links the Right Way”, once you ready to post my article on your blog on this topic.

Don’t worry, I’m a good blogger and have had my posts featured on

[3 known blogs in the SEO/Social Community]

Let me know if you are interested, I already know your blogging style, plus I understand what your readers love… as I am one.

Waiting for your quick and positive response.”

Funny thing was, all three links she sent were posted by the same person – a man who (headdesk) owns an SEO company – but not “her”. So I sent her an email asking who [man’s name] was. “She” told me…

“Absolutely right, He is director of my company and I am working and writing articles for him.”

FAIL

And there you have it folks. Some dude using a network to build client links and using his own horribly bad link builders to even build links to his OWN company.

The Lesson

This is what you get when you try to take shortcuts.

This is what you get when you worry only about the cost of link building and not the effect it has on your brand, your legitimacy, your SEO, your reputation and your livelihood.

This is what you get when you worry about building links solely for ranking purposes and not building an outreach program – internally or by using an external service – that takes more than simply “does this site have PR to pass?” into account.

This is what you get utilizing link building services that keep their costs low by using non English speaking employees to do the job a person actually educated in English, Journalism and/or Public Relations should be doing.