A bigger problem than Google penalty or Bad SEO – “Negative SEO Extortion”
We’ve all been hearing about it for a while now – Negative SEO and rivals using it to take down competition. Looks like it has scaled up pretty quickly and spammers are using it as a full time job!
There has been several recent incidents reported where competition hired some spammy SEO company to buy links to their competitor and took them down with Google penalty.
“Either live or kill”, seems to be the the motto of these spammers.
So, what’s latest here? Negative SEO Extortion.
As if doing negative SEO to your competition wasn’t enough.. spammers are now making full use of this “loophole” and have started to threaten websites for negative SEO.
Here’s what the modus operandi looks like.
They (spammers) find a reliable source of spam network from where they can source a huge amount of spam/paid/low quality links. (Mostly a forum/directory network they own.)
Then they create a website showing off the proof of how they source a ton of spam links to you. (Verifies identity with the forum accounts.)
Shoots out emails to everyone they can find (or targeted) with an extortion e-mail.
One such case is reported here by Steve.
The e-mail goes like this.
Read this email very carefully.
This is an extortion email.
We will do NEGATIVE SEO to your website by giving it 20,000 XRumer forum profile backlinks (permanent & mostly dofollow) pointing directly to your website and hence your website will get penalised & knocked off the Google’s Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) forever, if you do not pay us $1,500.00 (payable by Western Union).
This is no false claim or a hoax, download the following Notepad file containing 20,000 XRumer forum profile backlinks pointing to http://www.negativeseo.cn.pn/ (this is our website and go and see on this website, you will find our email address [email protected] from which this email right now is being sent to you) :
[link to the file]
Just reply to this email to let us know if you will pay just $1,500.00 or not for us to refrain or not from ruining your precious website & business permanently. Also if you ignore this email and do not reply to this email within the next 24-48 hours, then we will go ahead and build 20,000 XRumer forum profile backlinks pointing directly to your website.
We are awaiting your wise decision.
Now this is outright extortion.
Steve explains in his blog post how he decided not to respond to the email and chose to fight it. But Steve is experienced in this field.
What about regular folks who gets this mail?
If 1% responds and falls for their threat, it would be success for the spammers. Easy money for doing nothing.
Little would regular non-SEO savvy folks know that they can actually fight negative SEO.
Anyways, this looks like a trend as couple more folks like Steve have reported to have received similar extortion emails.
Looks like the spammers have found another way to make easy money. What’s unfortunate is that major search engines like Google is not doing anything (apart from the disavow tool) to help website owners prevent this.
Well, now that this is scaling up, probably they will. High time!