I've been receiving a large number of emails recently requesting I clean from link spam from my forum. Initially the emails were very polite and professional, and I was happy to remove the links. Recently the email have gotten very abrasive, here is a particularly rude example:
From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi, This is the second time we are reaching out to you regarding your link to our site hxxp://www.company-two.com from hxxp://www.my-forum.com/some-topic-id. We really do need to remove this link. We have to report to Google any link we were unable to remove, and I wouldn't want to have to include your site in the list. Could you please remove our link from this page and any other page on your site? Thank You, Name Changed
Behind the superficial pleasantries I feel there is some very real maliciousness.
- Note the email address, DMCA Violations, I don't see how the DMCA is involved here, except as a word which tends to strike fear in many people.
- Also relating to the email address, it doesn't match the company being linked to at all. How am I to trust they are truely operating on behalf of company-two when they don't even use one of it's email addresses.
- My email is hidden by privacypost. While a service with legitimate uses, I feel it's highly unprofessional for communications between to companies.
- The claim "This is the second time..." Every email I've received has started like this, but a check of my spam filters has never revealed a 1st mail. Initially I gave them the benefit of the doubt, by now though it's clear this is a cheap ploy to start me off on the defensive.
- And finally worst of all- the threats of reporting me to Google if I don't do everything they ask.
I sent a polite reply asking for more information. I have no idea if the email address was even valid but I never received any response. Much later I got this followup mail
From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi, This is the final time we are reaching out to you regarding your link to our site hxxp://www.company-two.com from hxxp://www.my-forum.com/some-topic-id. We will soon be reporting to Google any link we were unable to remove, and currently your site will have to be on the list. Could you please remove our link from this page and any other page on your site? I appreciate your urgent attention to this matter. Thank You, Name Changed
This time the from address was more personal, though still not obviously connected to the spammed company.
Lets be honest, I don't for one second believe that the companies were the victim of a 3rd party spammer as they claim. The links in questions were generated well over a year ago, and I firmly believe the companies were directly responsible for the spam links in question, a type of spam that has plagued my forum. Now they have the audacity to demand I spend my time cleaning up their mess, using threats to ensure they get their way.
Have recent changes in Googles algorithms meant all the cash they spent spamming the web has now turned into a liability? If so I can see why these companies are all of a sudden running scared. Frankly, cleaning up my forum is a good things, but the threats they are using sickens me.
So my question here is specifically about the threats:
- Are they vaild, and would such reports to Google destroy my page rankings?
- Is there a way I can report this abusive behaviour to Google?