Emails, Link Requests, and the Death of Politeness

Why are people so freaking nasty? Seriously…WHY?

“I’m not going down on my knees begging you to adore me Can’t you see it’s misery and torture for me?”

Depeche Mode, Shake the Disease

My link builders are truly lovely people. Well, most of them are. Anyway, they get abused like nobody’s bidness. I’ve reviewed every piece of correspondence that they’re involved with, too, and there’s just nothing there to cause someone to spew the venom that they do, based on getting a polite email. Yes, it may be unsolicited (hell, it’s no secret what we do!) but it’s still nice and really, if it bothers you that much to get an email, to the extent that you write back paragraphs and paragraphs of hate, you have a very serious problem. I get loads of unsolicited emails every hour but you don’t see me threatening to fly to Nigeria and whoop someone’s ass.

I understand the mentality of just not being able to take it any more, of course, but for me, rage comes from traffic: people who can’t drive well, people who sit in the right turn lane with their signal on to turn left, people who don’t pull up so I can get out of the parking lot, and those grungy dirty-haired cyclists who think that cars are evil and will purposefully weave in front of me in traffic as I’m trying to get to Target. They’re damned lucky I like the front of my minivan and value my lack of prison experience. Even so, I don’t really do anything other than try to ride as close to them as possible without actively running them down, although running them off the road is something else entirely. I curse a lot in my car, and then call them every derogatory term in the book until I get to Target and see something shiny and cheap. An email, though? Holy hell. That just doesn’t make me homicidal. Unsolicited and nicely-worded emails? Trash them, for fuck’s sake. Don’t become a crusader.

There seem to be two types of people online: those who know the score, and those who don’t. If my mom had a blog, I’d link to her with the keywords “those who don’t.” She doesn’t, thank God. At work, we seem to hit a lot of the ones who don’t know the score. These are the people who get an email and immediately think we’re trying to scam them out of their life savings and murder their loved ones. Hey, we just want you to see our great content and maybe, just maybe, consider linking to it. The ease of blogging has caused everyone and his great-great-granny to get online and write…that’s nice at times, but these people sometimes lack any of the other necessary skills to actually deal with life online. And can they even read, I wonder? I am fairly damned sure that none of my link builders has ever sent out an email suggesting that we rape anyone’s bank account. (goes to doublecheck email logs…)

Some say email requests for links are dead. I don’t buy it, as I see how far it gets us. Yes, we do use a variety of methods for link building, but by and large, our emails are working. If we didn’t get so many hateful responses, I’d say that our emails work because we’re just nice people and our clients have great websites and that naturally comes across in the written word, but heck, that theory’s shot straight to hell isn’t it? My poor, poor link builders have been called every name in the book. I tell them not to take it personally, but when someone’s accusing you of being a tiny bit less nasty than Hitler, it’s hard to step back and keep going.

We tell all our of potential hires how tedious the work is. No matter how you build links, it’s a lot more work than many people think. However, now I may need to start warning people that they need to be ready to be abused. I’ll start looking for masochists, or anyone who comes to the interview wearing a Smiths t-shirt.

What I want to know is why this happens. Why would you not just ignore an email that you didn’t want to receive? Why would you take time out of your day to respond with such hatred, or even write a blog post about it? OK yes I kind of did that once but I type very, very quickly so I wasted maybe 5 minutes only.

I know people sure as heck abuse the victims and perpetrators of all manners of accidents and crimes, which makes me think that people really just enjoy spouting off loads of crap no matter what. You stick your hand in a pond to retrieve a golf ball and the local alligator understandably eats it off, like alligators do, and well, you damned well deserved it. Husband ran off with his slut of a secretary and you decided to kill them both? Good riddance to them and maybe all their coworkers, too, who also deserve to die. The bile inherent in people today is disgusting. Just read the comments on any local news story or SEO blog. People are mean mean mean.

I will be honest. Some clients have absurdly boring (to me, at least) content, sites, and products. I don’t think that I have ever been interested in freezer repair, nor have any of my link builders, but we try our best. It can be a massive effort, but what isn’t, honestly? It just sucks to get smacked around when you’re only trying to be nice. Um, and move your clients up in the SERPs. Oh, and get more relevant traffic too yada yada yada. So if you get an email from one of my lovely beribboned link builders, please just delete it ok? Don’t respond with all the things you think they should have done to them in a Turkish prison.

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