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When ads go bad

February 3, 2009
Button, Button

Button, Button

There was a Twilight Zone episode called Button, Button where a stranger gave a man, Arthur, an empty box with a button on it. The stranger explained that if Arthur clicks the button, someone somewhere in the world would die… and Arthur would be paid $200k.

  • What are the odds that Arthur would be picked?
  • What if you cannot determine who died or was hurt as a result?
  • What if the offer seemed irristable?

I’m going to stretch the analogy for Linkstar, the company behind what I call link spam.

  • A representative from some company (presumably Linkstar, but I’ll never know) contacted me with an offer to sponsor my blog.
  • In exchange for a small sum of money (much less than $200k!)
  • I would have to put ads on my site that build link quality for viagra and vitamin spam sites.

Unlike poor Arthur, I didn’t take the deal. However, had I been offered $200k…. :)

An investigative reporter, Dan Tynan, contacted me because he was writing an article about Linkstar. I’m impressed at what he’s learned.

As far as I’ve been able to determine, Linkstar isn’t doing anything illegal or particularly shady. But its penchant for secrecy is troubling. As a general rule, I don’t do business with any online company that does not clearly identify its principals or provide its actual place of business – and I don’t think other people should, either.

Can running the wrong kinds of ads on your blog or Web site hurt you? Absolutely.

Read Tynan’s two-part series here:

Part I: The curious case of Linkstar Media

Part II: Bloggers beware: Bad ads can come back to bite you

  1. February 4, 2009 10:06 am

    hey jon, thanks for the shout out and the link.

    for the record, I’ve not been able to connect the guys who contacted you with linkstar. there are similarities in how they approach bloggers, but that’s about it. and linkstar denied having anything to do with any of the sites I mention in part II of my series.



  2. xxx permalink
    February 18, 2009 1:49 am

    Hi Dan,

    I can give you some information like their business address in the PHI and probably help you gather more data but I would first like to know your intentions. It is clear that you intend to inform other companies / parties on this matter but other than that will you also pursue any legal actions? If you can not sue them then what course of action must be done or will be done in order to address this problem? I would like to be clear with your objectives first before I let out more information about how they operate in the PHI.

    Linkstar will definitely deny such facts otherwise they will be out of business. Maybe their organisation do not know the importance of being transparent towards clients. Their strategy is volume based, not quality based; hence they send out spam emails in the hopes of fooling people.


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