I believe in hypertext. When Tim Berners-Lee proposed the concept and helped bring it to life, we all became a part of the world wide web. The concept is simple and beautiful. I can reference anything and link directly to something with meaning and additional context to my original work. For many years I have blogged off and on and one of my favorite features has been to leverage the “hypertext reference” feature. Now, thanks to Google, I have been asked to remove this link from a company working on behalf of another company that is being penalized by Google for my reference to a page on their site.
Now, first let me say that VirtualPBX has never paid me to include the link either directly or through another company. They’ve never asked me to include the link. They don’t even know who I am. I simply found their page explaining how call forwarding works, thought it was a nice little reference that provided more context to my blog post, and was happy to send a curious potential customer their way for their efforts in creating the page in the first place.
Unfortunately, “due [to] the Google Penguin update these links are negatively impacting both of our sites by creating an unnatural link.”
Here’s the email I received from a representative at RemoveThisLink.com:
I have been contracted to help with the optimization of the site http://www.virtualpbx.com/. In light of recent Google updates the site’s link profile needs to be cleaned up, so we would like to request that you please remove the links to our site located here:
Due do the Google Penguin update these links are negatively impacting both of our sites by creating an unnatural link. Please know that your site’s integrity and business practices are not in question, it is just that the existence of the link itself causes Google to establish a relationship between our sites that looks unnatural.
If you have any questions about the request above, please contact
Thank you for your consideration,
I think this is a real shame. I get that there is a significant amount of SEO spam out there, but the fact that I received this email, given my intent in my blog post… well, shame on Google. This sure feels evil and controlling and against the culture, purpose and value of the Internet.