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Just saying no to link spam

December 20, 2007

Hi,
I am interested in purchasing permanent textlink advertising at some specific pages of http://blogbitesman.net/ let me know if interested so that we can discuss it further. I can make a good offer to make it worth your time. Let me know!

Someone wants to advertise on my blog? Is this guy on crack? Either the blog stats I see are wrong — and I have 100x the traffic I think I have — or I have my first groupie! Or, bloggie, I suppose.

Neither is the case. Curious, I asked for more information (seriously, what are you smoking and can I have some too?). Two days later, I received an email with a $100 offer to put text ads on five blog posts. He had sent me two examples of sites that had complied with his offer for easy cash. Here’s how the ad — on a site about cooking — reads:

spam ad text links

Viagra, anyone? Clearly it was a spammer that was looking to build a good linking strategy.

It’s going to be incredibly tough for search engine algorithms to filter out these spam links. The paragraphs are written in perfect English and the text links go to various different websites. While the example above is incongruous with the rest of the site’s content, in another example, the spam paragraph actually relates perfectly to the rest of the page. ie, it’s contextual and much more likely that someone will click on the links, giving greater validity to the ads as far as the search engines are concerned.

I did a quick Google search to find out how one can report spammers, but what’s interesting about this model is that this guy is not a spammer in the classic sense. It’s a different class of spammer, the same way a honeybee is different than a wasp; same order (Hymenoptera, in case you wondered), different species and degrees of sting. I would be paid for the ads. It’s no different an arrangement than the advertiser Text Link Ads, the latter of whom is a member of the BBB and SEMPO and who only places ads on sites that have signed into their network.

Why am I blogging about it? Is it a bad thing or much ado about nothing? I think it’s insidious. This type of linking strategy makes it harder for legitimate business owners to get decent search rankings for their companies or products. As someone trying to market great products, the last thing I want is to compete with this species.

My reply to this offer:

Sorry, dude, I just say “no” to link spam.

His reply:

About the sites I work for, they’re not spam sites. I’ve worked for some edu sites as well as for gov sites. If requested, I can also arrange a replacement for a site you don’t want to link to :) .

In my terms, its not spamming. You might have a different definition for link spam :) .

I’m not convinced. You?

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74 Comments leave one →
  1. December 20, 2007 4:01 pm

    In my terms, its not spamming. You might have a different definition for link spam :) .

    LOL. Of course it wouldn’t be link spam in his terms! He really didn’t try very hard to give you a creative answer here.

    Needless to say, after getting several inquiries like this myself, I’m not convinced either.

  2. January 4, 2008 8:57 pm

    I got this same exact email and I’ve only had my blog for a few months and don’t get much traffic. I answered back to see what the offer was and this was the reply –

    Thank you for your reply. I am interested in placing paragraphs on specific pages of your website . An example of this can been seen at middle of content….

    …. The paragraph will be custom written with 5 to 6 links to match the content of the site and you will have the right to edit anything. The textlinks will go to non spammy and related websites.

    However, since these links are on specific pages. I would be paying only one time fees and the paragraphs will stay permanent i-e as long as the page stays.

    So here is my offer of $10/ad for your following internal pages:

    I’ve haven’t emailed the person back – 7 pages for $70 – sure I could use $70 but it just doesn’t seem legit.

  3. Joseph permalink
    January 6, 2008 11:56 pm

    Yep. It’s spam. I found your blog by googling the exact message. It sounded fishy. I told him off. Thanks for your helpful post though, it confirmed my thoughts.

  4. January 21, 2008 5:20 am

    me too. found your post by googling “Hi,I am interested in purchasing text link advertising at some specific pages”

    thanks for the info. :)

  5. Mike permalink
    January 30, 2008 11:00 am

    me three… only what’s curious is that I’ve received two messages from different individuals that have some of the same content but some different wording around it. Makes me think there’s a site somewhere offering people a ‘fold @home’ type of opportunity to go out and send email to sites. very strange.

  6. January 30, 2008 12:11 pm

    I really think one has to expand their idea of what spam is. It’s not just emails offering Viagra. In this case, it’s part of a search engine optimization strategy. Instead of selling Viagra directly, they’re pushing Google searches in that direction.

    As to your point — more than one individual making the same offer — I think it’s the same with email spam. There are more than one spammer sending out similar emails.

  7. February 3, 2008 11:10 am

    I too received the EXACT same email and was interested to see what kind of ads he would come up with. After all, what could it hurt? When the ads came back having nothing to do with the content of my post, I asked him to re-write. I eventually rejected the offer because of too many “flags.”

    Two things here:
    1. In corresponding with the person, they inadvertently signed a different name in one of the emails, leaving me to wonder who am I REALLY dealing with?

    2. In attempting to search for an identity, I’ve yet to find anything about the person (apart from multiple posts reporting the same offer), leaving me to wonder .. will this linking strategy end up associating my site with a site related to porn, gambling, or something else completely inappropriate to my site AND reputation?

    I don’t care what your definition of “spam” is, if you don’t know the dealer, you’re asking for trouble. Responsible blogging can be a double-edged sword: provide valuable content, including your links.

    If you’re willing to take money from a stranger for admittedly low-level link association (my blog isn’t exactly #1 either) … you’ve just been pimped! (excuse the analogy, but I feel violated)

  8. June 17, 2008 6:50 am

    hey all. i just got the same email and thanks to this post, refused the offer. it was a company called link star – http://www.linkstar.co.uk. they offered a link ad for an online poker room. my site is about indie filmmaking. this is a really interesting new sort of spam and people should know about it, so thanks again for making my decision for me.

  9. Tom permalink
    June 30, 2008 4:26 am

    Hmm.. I just one of those emails from limkstar.co.uk about an hour ago. This is why I am here, investigating them.

    Their domain was only registered on 03-Mar-2008, and they only have a two page website – (one of the pages – http://linkstar.co.uk/team.php – looks like they have hired a small airline’s entire stewardess crew) but the domain is registered as an individual (Michael Shanks).

    The claim on their front page that they “..are the worlds leading link acquisition company with the experience and expertise” – Wow! All that since 3rd March 2008? I am impressed!

    I will definitely be saying No to them.

  10. Dean permalink
    July 3, 2008 10:51 am

    I don’t care if it’s link spam or not. I got the same email for a finance site to be linked with my finance site, and they paid me $60 for a one year link. So spam, scam, or whatever, I pocketed $60. I didn’t make that much in two years in Adsense. So, go to hell Google.

  11. July 4, 2008 5:04 am

    Strange things about linkstar:

    - if they are a market leader in links it is odd that their web site source code does not even have a header, let alone any keywords – the source code is basically illiterate;
    - they offered to pay me in US dollars even though they are .co.uk;
    - in order to pay me they asked for my Paypal account details (I told them to go to paypal and follow the instructions – they only need my email address to pay me – suspicious, no?);
    - I receive replies that have been sent at 3am UK time.

    I also looked at my Google stats for the page which they want to use – not anywhere near one of my most popular pages, and with content entirely unrelated to the link.

    I asked ‘Xycris’ why (s)he sent out emails at 3am and (s)he replied, “I am just eager to do my job, I am still new here.” Whether ‘here’ is Basingstoke or perhaps in some other continent remains to be established.

  12. July 9, 2008 5:44 am

    Having failed to inform Linkstar of my PayPal details and having advised them merely to follow the easy-to-use on-line instructions on the PayPal site I have heard no more. ’nuff said.

  13. John permalink
    July 10, 2008 8:08 pm

    I also got a similar mail, checked out this post (and others) before proceeding. I also asked for a subscription payment but suposedly because of their accounting software, they have to make payments direct. I had no problems though and also got my money after supplying my paypal address. So I dunno, it’s not really spam because they are concluding the links :s

  14. Matt Keeth permalink
    July 24, 2008 1:41 am

    These EDU sites they mention and such like, do you think they’re 411 related(you know with the nigerians..)

  15. Ian permalink
    July 24, 2008 7:12 am

    We too had an email from Linkstar. The coms were very fast and Roland even negotiated the price down (which would be odd if it was a scam) that said we added the link and even after a few emails to them we have heard nothing and seen no Money at all.

  16. August 5, 2008 1:59 am

    So what if you just accept the offer and then remove the banners as soon as you receive the payment? I don’t intend to reply to their message; I wonder where they got my address in the first place. There are several pages where it is posted, but actually finding it and then establishing a link between the identity of the person who posted the email somewhere, and me… that takes some time.

    Indeed, spam these days takes new forms… I think it is mostly because of the way search engines work, they found a way to exploit them, so now we have zillions of link farms, comment spam, trackback spam… Eh…

    p.s. I think “John (20:08:32)” is one of them.

  17. aj dimarucot permalink
    November 24, 2008 8:09 am

    This is interesting. I read about a guy who just sold ad space to Linkstar for $300/year. Linkstar offered me $140/year.

  18. November 28, 2008 11:04 am

    thanks for confirming my suspicions, leaving a coment so others will nopt support this nonesense. as one poster here says we can do without this spam which benefits none of us long term

  19. December 1, 2008 6:37 am

    At this point, all our clients email us regarding any communication (email and snail mail) they receive from someone they don’t know. The email seemed well written with an up front offer – paying for advertising links or banners is common and not really spam as long as it is related. The email header matched the email: Rechel Simmons .

    Snippets of the email:

    “We would be interested in purchasing advertising in the form of a text-based
    link on your site. To reduce unnecessary admin and hassle, we prefer to pay a
    fixed annual upfront fee for such advertisements.”

    That’s all fine and dandy – but, I don’t agree that their:

    “… client in the Gaming industry…” has anything in common with my client’s site – particularly the page they requested: http://www.4pawsembroidery.com/stock.htm

    Odd – so, I started checking them out… I looked up their domain info and they haven’t been blacklisted – yet – they are new (march 2008) but registered to a “UK individual” named Michael Shanks. The registrant is a “non-trading individual who has opted to have their address omitted from the WHOIS service” (also the phone number was MIA).

    On the site’s contact page – looking for a phone number, they have this odd statement:

    “By Phone – You can contact our London office on +44 (0)20 3239 9187 during UK working hours. Please note however that our marketing managers in charge of negotiating advertising deals are only contactable via email.”

    Why wouldn’t their “… marketing managers in charge of …” be available by phone? hmmmmmm… very curious…

    You know, I just MUST call their office … LOL! Can’t resist asking about the odd way they go about things. Oh yeah, and how they came to the conclusion that the GAMING industry was a match (by any stretch of the imagination) with an embroidery site. (Maybe they were drinking – do they have happy hour in the UK?)

    Anyway – continued “googling” and found this blog and others discussing this. I think I will reply to see if they have a better content match client. And if they do, following AJ’s post – offer to carry the ad for $175/yr – LOL – see what they say.

    I’ll update this post to let ya’ll know what happens!

  20. December 24, 2008 9:48 pm

    I was offered $100 for a link that would be enclosed in the following text :

    “If I’m selling iPhones I wouldn’t aglow the iPhone deals I have up in my shop to miss this app! ” The link for my blog : http://www.ilikemyiphone.com/?p=349 and the link was pointing to http://www.o2.co.uk/iphone/ : I totally find it related. I have a decent google rank, but I am also sure that o2.co.uk is in a much better position than iLikeMyiPhone!

    I took the offer, eCheck in progress on paypal. If it takes long, I can simply take the link off.. as simple as that! Why are people paranoid here?!

  21. January 5, 2009 7:07 am

    We got email from link star, offer 1 text link on one page with $50/year..

  22. January 6, 2009 12:02 pm

    Yeah… friendly enough with me, but I’m not willing to sellout for a non-related link. The whole thing just reeks of scam, no matter how you shake it… thanks for the info, everyone!

  23. January 7, 2009 7:29 pm

    jon:

    nice work. I am looking into linkstar for a possible article/blog entry. can you contact me at the email address I provided? I have some questions for you.

    thanks

    dan tynan
    dantynan.com

  24. January 14, 2009 8:42 am

    Got the same offer from linkstar. Offer has gone up to $120 a year, after I told them that I would only place fixed text-links, on a fixed place, for a fixed duration, after payment.
    Ofcourse it is scam, but I am still curious for an answer.

  25. January 14, 2009 10:15 am

    Dan Tynan has contacted me after reading the comments on this post because he is working on a story about Linkstar to be published here (I think) http://blogs.computerworld.com/tynan, fyi

  26. January 20, 2009 2:42 pm

    I’m not sure I understand the concern here. If you don’t like spam, bin it. I have however dealt with linkstar and they didn’t ask anything outrageous and they did pay.

  27. January 21, 2009 10:15 pm

    There are ads that are totally legitimate: if someone from Yahoo or Yahoo’s ad agency asks you to put an ad about Yahoo or one of their properties like Flickr on your website, fine. If someone asks you to put totally unrelated ads on your site to build link popularity to viagra sites, I think it’s spam. The advertisers are hijacking certain keywords to link to crap websites.

  28. January 22, 2009 5:21 am

    The links linkstar wanted from me were not to crap viagra websites and they were related to my blog. But I know what you mean – the web is full of millions of crap spammy sites with links to other crap spammy sites.

    Spammers will never go away but Google is getting better and better at filtering them out. If spammers contact you – just delete the mail, not much else you can do.

  29. Ruairi permalink
    February 2, 2009 12:58 pm

    Thanks for all of the contributions. Just received a contact also. At 630pm GMT. From an Ace Kirkpatrick. Could you make a name like that up? Man…..

    Anyway, I’ll also want to know what I’m linking to. I don’t see it as spam at all if the demographic fits. Its not necessarily shady. But the stuff Dan Tynan has turned up does make me uneasy. The gig’s a sideline for Mr. Alberto Lopez-Garcia apparently. Even though the website boasts of 1000′s of customers and a number of account managers.

    Like someone else said, If you don’t like it, you can kill the link pretty quickly. As far as I’m concerned, Google’s ba of tricks are just as devious as any spammer or marketer out there. Its all about da ching-ching

  30. February 3, 2009 5:05 pm

    The story behind link spam:
    Part I: The curious case of Linkstar Media
    Part II: Bloggers beware: Bad ads can come back to bite you

  31. February 17, 2009 1:44 am

    linkstar is located in the phillipines. Need the exact address?

  32. February 17, 2009 1:54 am

    linkstar is in the philippines

  33. February 18, 2009 9:00 am

    I got this suspicious email from linkstar saying that one of their clients was interested in purchasing advertising on my site because they had a “similar target audience”. I did a google search for “linkstar” and “fraud” which instantly got me to this blog post.

    Thanks for the info. I’ll be ignoring their email.

  34. February 18, 2009 9:10 am

    “Linkstar NOT A FRAUD” will also get that result.

    The internet is full of paranoid people. I dealt with Linkstar and they were perfectly legit.

  35. February 18, 2009 1:07 pm

    Yup, googled it because it seemed too beautiful. My blog is moderately popular (about 200 visits a day, with peak being couple thousand), but I always approach sweet offers with a bit of a reserve.

  36. xxx permalink
    February 19, 2009 3:05 am

    By Phone – You can contact our London office on +44 (0)20 3239 9187 during UK working hours. Please note however that our marketing managers in charge of negotiating advertising deals are only contactable via email.”

    —– marketing managers / agents / bots who send out the spam emails are located in the Philippines that is why you can not contact them or talk to them through their London Office and these agents do not undergo any formal trainings or whatsoever with their line of work. Well maybe we should also give credit to these agents for mastering the art of lying.

  37. loupiote permalink
    February 24, 2009 2:01 am

    i receive a lot of those, with almost identical wordings but different names and emails.

    yes, this is spam, and i hope the smart guys at google will be able to detect their linking strategy and penalize those scumbags.

  38. Jerry permalink
    March 31, 2009 12:38 pm

    Got an email from linkstar asking to buy a link on my site. Negotiated an annual price with them and they checked the link that I put up and said it was fine and that I would be paid. Then a day later, “Stephen”, the manger contacts me to say that the rate is too high and that my site isn’t that good anyway.

    In other forums Stephen goes by different surnames like Hill or Williams:
    http://www.acorndomains.co.uk/general-board/39635-linkstar-media-2.html

    He or someone pretending to be “Stephen” is the actual owner. The site seems to be based in or working out of the Phillipines. The people that initially write to webmasters or bloggers certainly don’t have good English skills and many have surnames which sound like they are from the Phillipines.

    Not sure why this company has so much to hide. Just be upfront, say what you want to say and then follow through with it.

    If you’re interested in working with Linkstar my suggestion is to go to reputable TLA resellers like text-link-ads or inlinks (Same company). Otherwise you’re in for a headache and maybe worse.

    • May 6, 2009 1:44 am

      “He or someone pretending to be “Stephen” is the actual owner. The site seems to be based in or working out of the Phillipines. The people that initially write to webmasters or bloggers certainly don’t have good English skills and many have surnames which sound like they are from the Phillipines.

      Not sure why this company has so much to hide. Just be upfront, say what you want to say and then follow through with it.”

      – stepen is the front of the owner. He is british but the office is located in the philippines. stepen tolerates the use of drugs among his staff given the fact that he is a user himself. You are right the BOTS do have a lot of grammatical errors and i can guarantee for myself that the staff are filipinos who are perfectly comfortable with a mediocre style of work.

      There is nothing spectacular with this company. They will no longer respond to the contents of this forum for the simple reason that its the easiest way out for them to shut up and deny everything. Companies like these don’t deserve to be allowed to have a working permit at all. I’ve got the chance to talk to this stepen once, he is a total waste of time.

  39. April 20, 2009 5:17 pm

    Got the same offer from linkstar. Offer has gone up to $40 a year,

    top page $70 a year

    my site is very very popular 80 000 alexa

    totaly no spam no pop pup it free to add you site

    i find very stange that they suggest me to pay afther 7 day i accept

  40. April 20, 2009 5:25 pm

    The Adresse:

    http://www.linkstar.co.uk

    2ND FLOOR
    145-157 ST JOHN STREET LONDON EC1V 4PY GB
    Company number: 06672204
    Tina Adams Account Executive tina@linkstar.co.uk

  41. Faris permalink
    April 21, 2009 6:49 am

    Just so people know, the phone number quoted is a (London) VoIP number. The endpoint could therefore be absolutely anywhere.

  42. Rusty Wilson permalink
    April 30, 2009 4:35 am

    I received an email a few days ago from them linkstar.co.uk asking about advertising on one of my sites. At first I was skeptical but figured, what do I have to lose. After a few email exchanges, I was told they typically pay $140 for a one year text link on a specific page to which I agreed. I was told he would get approval and get back to me. After a few days passed I received a message that the amount was approved and was given instructions on which word on a specific page I should hyperlink to a related website. After doing so, I advised my contact it had been done and he could check it to make sure it was OK. I received an email back saying it was fine and that I should expect payment via paypal in coming days (I had given them my Paypal email address in an earlier message). I awoke this morning to find I had received a $140 payment from them via Paypal. No doubt linkstar.co.uk is legit. I am still in awe!

  43. Ken Jones permalink
    May 9, 2009 5:11 am

    I’m an SEO and one of the sites I work with was recently contacted by a representative of Linkstar. As with a lot of other people who have commented on this post, I found it while researching this company before responding to their offer.

    There are a great many reasons why participating in link-selling schemes like this are a very bad idea. Whether or not these guys are scam artists in the sense that they won’t pay up, or spammers promoting viagra sites is irrelevant. What they are doing by purchasing text links in the content of your sites and dictating the keywords which are used as the anchor text for those links is an attempt to influence Google into ranking their clients sites higher up the results than those sites deserve to be.

    Google and all the other major search engines use links as one of their major signals for determining rankings and some unethical SEOs try to manipulate this in their favour by purchasing links on other websites.

    If you have a look at this page from Google’s Webmaster Guidelines you will see that they take a very strong stance against this practice of buying links to try and manipulate their results –

    http://www.google.co.uk/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=66736

    Not only do Google penalize sites that they discover have been buying links, they can also penalize your site for selling those links, banning you from their index until you have removed the links from your site and submitted a request for reinclusion (which there is no guarantee they will even accept).

    If you do sell links on your site for the purpose of advertising, it is possible to add a rel=”nofollow” tag to the links, which basically tells the search engines to ignore those links and not use them when calculating their website rankings. Doing this means that you are keeping within Google’s guidelines and not risking a penalty if caught selling links, however I’m pretty sure that if you were to reply to these people from Linkstar and tell them you would be happy to take their money and put their links on your site with a nofollow tag you probably wouldn’t hear anything back from them.

    People like this rely on the fact that the owners of the kind of small websites and blogs that they approach are not savvy enough about SEO and Google’s guidelines to realise the sort of problems paid links can cause. They give ethical (so-called “whitehat”) SEOs like myself and many of my friends and colleagues online a bad name because we all end up tarred with the same brush when your Average Joe Webmasters think that all SEOs must be spammers, scammers and snake-oil salesmen.

    If you’re interested in finding out more about truly ethical methods of search engine optimization I would highly recommend checking out a website called http://www.seomoz.org

  44. May 20, 2009 11:32 pm

    Thank you so much for this post (and for those who have replied to it). I just received an email from this Linkstar company. I immediately began Googl’ing it and came across this blog. This info saved me from doing a lot more research on them…and from bothering to reply to them. I appreciate it.

  45. June 17, 2009 5:21 pm

    Thank you all for your comments. I have a new web based business in New Zealand selling radiation free headsets for cell phones. I was very tempted to go with the Link star offer as I thought it would give me more publicity – I will be very cautious in future and double check any other offers.

    • June 18, 2009 4:19 am

      You may find they are trying to buy advertising from you, not promote your own site. ie – they want to give you some money…

  46. July 1, 2009 7:47 pm

    I was contacted by Linkstar earlier today. I do find it suspicious that an online advertising agency wants to put ads on my site, considering that my site is not a high page ranking one.

    I did research on Linkstar and I don’t know what to believe with all the good and bad reviews I’ve read. I do not know if I would even want to deal with Linkstar, considering that Linkstar hasn’t been in business that long.

    There are too many scams that are being pulled with text link advertising and Google is known to ax sites from their engine without warning or an explanation as to why.

    I might have considered Linkstar had I found more positive reviews and experiences from others.

  47. July 15, 2009 12:14 pm

    I’ve received many emails from ‘Linkstar.co.uk’ about various text ads on my humble blog. Alike yourself, they’ve stated that I have ‘a large demographic of users targeted to their client’. Bullshit?

    Needless to say, after nineteen ridiculous emails from ‘Cris’, he finally stated that “Sorry to say, but we no longer have an interest in your blog.”

    Thanks for wasting my time, morons.

    If anyone is to ever get an email from these people, just delete it.

    Thanks,

    Sam

  48. August 12, 2009 11:19 am

    Thanks for all the info Jon and other posters! A client just asked me about Linkstar; so, I sent him a link to this page!

  49. August 25, 2009 6:59 am

    Thanks for the information – I had received an email from them as well and this this info – I can easily say “no thank you”

  50. September 8, 2009 10:28 am

    None of the negative comments posted above are from webmasters who have ever done business with Linkstar. However, due to the number of outlandish and slightly paranoid comments being placed on this blog. we feel it necessary to correct some misconceptions about Linkstar.

    Firstly, the blog post that has triggered these comments is not even about Linkstar. Linkstar did not exist in 2007 when this blog was published and Linkstar certainly has nothing to do with the email contact quoted at the beginning of the post or discussed further in the article.

    Linkstar is a UK-based online marketing firm. We place ads for our clients on smaller publishers or hobby sites that are not part of the major online banner networks. We are registered in the United Kingdom and abide by all applicable UK laws.

    The UK is a highly regulated business environment and should any person have any complaints or concerns about a particular business, there are official channels for the airing of such complaints and they will be thoroughly investigated by the relevant authority – needless to say, Linkstar has never been the subject of an official complaint.

    We assess all our sites for quality, demographic and traffic before we place an ad, therefore from time to time we will decide that a particular site we have contacted does not measure up to our standards and we may decline to place an ad. From time to time this has resulted in a webmaster becoming annoyed and we have since tightened our processes to avoid wasting anyone’s time with unnecessary email correspondence.

    We do not place any code on our publishers sites and our publishers are free to decline to place our ads if they do not wish to promote a particular client. Our clients are generally larger UK and US-based online businesses and are often household names.

    We always pay our publishers in a timely fashion. Should a publisher not receive payment or object to any of our terms, they are free to remove our ads from their site – however this rarely happens.

    We are completely transparent with our publishers about what we require from them. We work with many hundreds of webmasters and they are generally very happy with their dealings with Linkstar.

    Regards
    Linkstar Management

  51. September 8, 2009 11:52 am

    Wow, I’m surprised it took Linkstar so long to reply. And I’m glad they finally did. But the reply has completely avoided the topic of this blog post.

    The blog post and comments are about specious ads and linking strategies. There are legit vendors that place text-based, non-spam ads on amateur blogs like this one, but AFAIK based on the feedback from comments above and from reporter Dan Tynan, Linkstar is not one of them.

    No one is being forced to put the ads on their blogs, so in that sense the Linkstar commenter above is correct. I’m glad to hear they abide by UK laws. They are clearly a company that sells ads and pays people for allowing them to place the ads. That’s all fine and dandy. But why sell spam? That’s really the question.

    My blog post was a warning to people to run the opposite direction when a mysterious business approaches them to place ads on their site that link to vitamin and viagra websites. What this Linkstar representative — who clearly doesn’t want to reveal his/her true identity — fails to address is the questionable nature of this business practice.

  52. September 10, 2009 2:47 am

    Linkstar does not and has never promoted Viagra or Vitamin websites. As such we fail to see the connection between Linkstar and the subject of your blog post.

    What we wish to address is nature of the more questionable comments about Linkstar and indeed the suggestion that there is something shady about Linkstar’s business practices – a suggestion actively perpetuated by yourself.

    We suggest you moderate the comments on your blog as soon as possible and remove anything that may be considered misleading or defamatory.

    Linkstar Management

  53. October 7, 2009 7:44 am

    I notice that someone from Linkstar likes to taunt people who post negative comments about Linkstar, as well as act like real website owners who have had great experiences with Linkstar. I HIGHLY SUSPECT ANYONE WHO BRAGS ABOUT THEIR AD REVENUE WITHOUT EVEN MENTIONING THEIR DOMAIN. I think Linkstar is a scam organization engaging in link spamming, and that they suck. I deal with scammers like Linkstar regularly. The BEST thing that can be done to combat scams like theirs is to post any valid information about them in as many places as is humanly possible. AS LONG AS THEY REMAIN OBSCURE THEY WILL FIND PEOPLE TO FALL FOR THEIR SCAMS. Give them the attention they desire and they will change tactics to something that’s not working as well as what they are doing now. The truth is Linkstar’s enemy, that’s why they troll comment areas like this.

  54. to linkstar above permalink
    December 2, 2009 3:35 pm

    This is a comment to Linkstar Management above. You have been sending emails to tons of my clients…this is pretty much spamming, soliciting, whatever you want to call it. It’s unwanted mail, your mass mailing people…most people consider this SPAM! Trust me, I plan on blogging about this too because the more people see it, the better.

    If your asking for Paypal details…your just another rotten scammer.

  55. December 7, 2009 8:41 pm

    got the same offer, he wanted to put a casino ad on my military site. watch out for this guy!

  56. Daniel permalink
    December 12, 2009 2:24 pm

    I too was contacted by Linkstar and the on the same day ads started popping up on my website with specific key words within my text sections (that were changed from white to green). I think the timing for this to happen is rather strange becasue it happened the same day I was contacted. Now I am supplying free ads for “someone” without agreeing to it, and I never contacted an employee before or after receiving the email, has this happened to anyone else?

    • Matt69 permalink
      December 13, 2009 1:40 pm

      Sounds just like a coincedence. Websites get hacked all the time, but hackers don’t usually as permission first. You should check your security settings with the hosting provider.

  57. January 18, 2010 8:04 am

    I, too, yesterday received their proposal for placing their links on your site 21wek.by for $ N / year. Not yet decided. what I do.

  58. NoStar permalink
    January 26, 2010 4:55 am

    Regarding Linkstar I looked up their t&c: http://www.linkstar.co.uk/terms.pdf
    It seems to me that their t&c only protects them, and puts publishers in a position without much rights. Besides, how many small publishers could afford to travel to London for disputing a 50$ contract, which leaves them vulnerable to unlawful claims and potential blackmailing.
    The tone in Linkstar’s own comment from september 09 just above indicates that this might also be a part of their “business”.

    • Matt69 permalink
      January 27, 2010 7:24 am

      If that were true you would have loads of people complaining. Is a bit difficult to blackmail someone over $50 – besides the T&Cs looked pretty standard to me.

      • January 27, 2010 7:39 am

        It seems that Linkstar is just another one of those sites trying to make profits while not really providing a product. There may be nothing illegal about it, but it causes all kinds of inconveniences and doesn’t really deliver value to anyone but themselves. One of my clients emailed me because he received the email too. A big waste of his time, and mine.

        They are kind of like that “negative option” offer you get online for free trials and discounts. These discounts come on sites that you’ve already purchased something else on; so, they have your number. If you read the fine print, they tell you that they will charge your credit card continually after the trial is over. Of course, if you complain, they will take the charges off. But, they are counting on all those folks who just don’t notice!

  59. smokingJoe permalink
    January 27, 2010 12:18 pm

    Well they paid me 100 bucks for 5 mins of my time so I made a profit. I guess their client will stand to make more than $100 over the next few months from the ad I placed. Sounds pretty much like a normal arbitrage business to me, albeit on a small scale.

    btw Nora – did you notice they are offering to pay you, not the other way around.

  60. fucker permalink
    February 20, 2010 12:34 am

    Fuck them all. Fuckin spemers!

  61. April 19, 2010 2:25 am

    Dear All, thanks for helping me make my mind up about LinkStar. A business buddy of mine also sent me this, which only confirms what you guys have said. Cheers!
    http://blogs.computerworld.com/web_advertising_linkstar

  62. Blogger permalink
    August 24, 2010 5:32 pm

    I was actually dealing with one from Linkstar named “Joan”.

    She requested to put a link in one of my blogpost.

    They provided a paragraph with a link of their client in it. They promised to pay me, but in about one week, the payment was not sent. But I already removed the link. She replied that ‘they have grown big quickly, and been busy and all’

    Then she asked me once again to put the link back, and she paid me through Paypal eCheck. A week later, the payment has been canceled. She told me to just remove the link, until their payment process has been resolved.

    I believe they were just fishing to know if their sites gets traffic from the page in my site. And would only pay if they’re satisfied with the traffic they get.

    One thing for sure, I would not deal with them again.

  63. November 9, 2010 3:42 am

    I also got a email offering me $400 for life time for 5 dofollow links. I am still confused, because he agreed on all of my terms. The links are relevant, payment will be made in advance etc..
    But my heart is still not agreeing, i don’t know why.
    Do you think this is spam OR not good for my blog?

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