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How Not To Get A Link

At least at this web site.

I just got the following email, subject : Hello from a republican blogger and Pajamas Media guy


I came across your site through the Pajamas Media site.

My blog is the [snipped to protect the guilty].

If you feel it is of a high quality, please consider a link or blogroll exchange.

Also, I get a decent amount (not Pajama-sized!) of traffic, in case you have anything
you would like to promote.


[snipped to protect the guilty]

Let's start with the subject line. I'm not a "republican blogger," and anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time would know it. I'm guessing that if he came to the blog at all, it was only to get my email address. So it cuts no mustard with me to be informed that somone else is a "republican blogger."

Next, no one addresses me as "Simberg" except spammers and trolls. Either use the honorific, or my first name.

Now there are general rules for how to get a link, none of which this guy followed. One of them is to read the blog for a while, so that you know what the interests are. A second is to send a permalink to some particular post that might be of interest to that blog's readers, based on the prefatory reading. A no-no is to just say, "hey, here's my blog."

But here's where the real joy comes. Just to do the guy a favor, I googled and replied with a copy of the rules for getting a link from Instapundit (though they're generally applicable to other blogs, including this one) of which the two above are a subset.

And what do I get for my trouble? This:

I apologize for this automatic reply to your email.

To control spam, I now allow incoming messages only from senders I have approved beforehand.

If you would like to be added to my list of approved senders, please fill out the short request form (see link below). Once I approve you, I will receive your original message in my inbox. You do not need to resend your message. I apologize for this one-time inconvenience.

Click the link below to fill out the request:

[snip link]

So, he sends me an email, but doesn't bother to whitelist me to allow me to reply, instead expecting me to take the trouble to go to his site to do it myself, just so that I can provide him with useful information (while he's provided me with nothing except a clueless request for a link). I'm all for blocking spam, but if you're going to send someone an email and expect a response, I think it rude to make someone have to go through machinations in order to do so. Why isn't this stupid anti-spam software set up to do that automatically? Anyone you send email to should be automatically white listed.

Anyway, rather than doing that, I decided to simply document it here, on the off chance that someone else will be educated, and perhaps avoid such things in the future.

[Monday morning update]

I have a follow-up post based on some comments.


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belle wrote:

Mr. Simberg,
Thank you for linking to the rules for how to get an instalaunch. I admit that I've make the mistake of asking incorrectly for an instalaunch a couple of times...including last week.
Instalaunch or no...I've read Insapundit every day since 2001 and will continue making that my first stop of the day on the internet.

Donna B. wrote:

Gee, I'd ask for a link but the only qualifications I meet so far are that you can send me an email without jumping through hoops, and I'm a (sometime) reader. But you want me to write something of interest to link to? Hahahahaha.... oh well :-)

On an old blog in 2004, I got an instalanche and it was pretty cool. One of my emails once got quoted by him and that's just as cool. I am famous in my own mind.

MG wrote:

Dear Mr. Republican Simberg,

Could you linke to my blog? It is at:

Thank you,

Mr. I. M. Klulass

Kevin R.C. O'Brien wrote:

Hey, there's a way to get used to being called by your last name. Join up!

On second thought, don't bother. You're more useful where you are!

This case of link-beggary seems to be a subset of a mistake many people make: asking someone you want something from because it's good for YOU, not explaining (or even considering) how and if it's good for HIM. Basic Dale Carnegie stuff. Or basic manners. But people don't read Carnegie any more, and their parents don't have any manners to teach them.

Wee Thouta Klue wrote:


Thank you for sharing the method of getting linked on blogs. I'm sure you're busy supporting the Republican cause whole-heartedly and these pointers are much appreciated.

-W.T Klue.


gs wrote:

His artistry is deficient. He failed to misspell your name.

Rand Simberg wrote:

He failed to misspell your name.

He managed to misspell the name of the blog (Terrestrial Musings) in a follow-up email (apparently, he went through his blocked mail to find my reply).

Warren Bonesteel wrote:

Ya know, this is actually a part of a trend I've seen over the last few years.

The larger blogs are becoming almost as arrogant as the traditional media elites they like to complain about.

In other words, if you aren't already one of the big blogs, you're nobody worth listening to or reading.

Technology is changing rapidly. The big blogs will soon find themselves in much the same place as the traditional media...with falling numbers all around. Of course, this means that trying to monetize a brand new blog at this point is just about a complete waste of time.

clyde_m wrote:

um,. ah, thanks for the, ah, um, advice.

how about linking me just for the hell of it?

what's your name?

Rand Simberg wrote:

The larger blogs are becoming almost as arrogant as the traditional media elites they like to complain about.

In other words, if you aren't already one of the big blogs, you're nobody worth listening to or reading.

It's "arrogant" to ask someone to explain why I should read their blog? Perhaps, if I had infinite time in a day, or my life.

Do you?

clyde_m wrote:

um,. ah, thanks for the, ah, um, advice.

how about linking me just for the hell of it? i;m a repub, I an write republi ... I blog.

what's your name?

Mike Puckett wrote:

Dear Mr. Republican South African Goldcoin Fascist Bullyboy,

Please add my blog about ugly women who enslave cute kittens to your most sufficient blog.


Morris D. Katt

Stephen wrote:






Bleepless wrote:

At least he didn't call you Simby-wimby. Small blessings, I guess.

Larry Patty wrote:

Okay, that last one was pretty funny, but it would have been even funnier if he had asked you to send him money!

I just camp out on Pajamas Media early in the morning and make the first comment. I know there will be an "Instalaunch" to that post later in the day. It seems to work out OK, I guess.

Warren Bonesteel wrote:

heh. Kinda made my point for me, Rand. Have you ever heard of logical fallacies?

...'cause, you know, that response was the same one I used to get from the media 'elites' when I used to refer them to blogs. Oh, 'elites' still say that!

If we survive the next few years of chaos, the near future will be about weak A.I., micro-payments and ubiquitous computing. The blogosphere will go the way of the dinosaur media.

An intelligent way to respond to a frustrating issue - well done.

Rand Simberg wrote:

heh. Kinda made my point for me, Rand. Have you ever heard of logical fallacies?

OK, you've now made two consecutive posts that make no sense whatsoever. As for "logical fallacies," physician, heal thyself.

Warren Bonesteel wrote:

It isn't my aim to insult ya, here, Rand, but ignorance and arrogance on your part does not imply that there's any stupidity on my part. In other words, if you don't understand me, it isn't because I'm stupid, nor is it because I'm not making any sense. Half a dozen terms that I've already used have given full and complete context to the rest.

It's because you, and other like yourself, refuse to look in the mirror. Kinda like in my example. The MSM has done, and still does with bloggers and the internet, what you and your fellow high-traffic bloggers do with other bloggers. Those new bloggers aren't you. They aren't among the 'elite,' so they don't matter. They're the subject of your derision. Instead of assisting them, or offering them assistance and information, or even treating them as if they were fellow human beings on this Ol' Rock, you despise them. Publicly. Thus, you prove that you are no longer in blogging for the sake of blogging or of engendering the free-flow of information. By denying others the dignity of a humane and respectful - or at least, polite - response, by your own words you've proven that you're in it for prestige and, in most cases, for the money. In order for one person to be prestigious, other human beings have to be made to seem to be less prestigious or of lesser value. Thus, the charge I've made of elitism against you and other high-traffic bloggers is valid, and in view of your own words in the above article, and in view of the words of other bloggers who've linked to this article, that charge is irrefutable.

Plus, like the traditional media has done with the internet, you and most of your fellow high-traffic bloggers are not keeping up with new technologies - and those technologies are already having a dramatic impact on economics, culture, politics, society, and on information transfer and exchange. Hell, MySpace and Facebook are already old school and old tech, and YouTube and even Google will soon be challenged by new technologies. The semantic web - highly portable, at that - is already here.

In any case, if we survive the next few years of chaos, everything you know is going to change.

Plus, the current methods of monetizing blogs is not at all new. It is merely a cheap and fast adaptation of old media methods and technologies.

Now, in case there were any words you didn't understand, please google them and spend some time educating yourself.

Carl Pham wrote:

Och, Rand, I don't think that was a good call. Not bothering to link the guy, sure. I fully agree with you that if he doesn't make it worth your while, or at least easy, then he deserves no response at all.

But...your post can easily be read as intending to hold the guy up to public mockery. (I doubt that was your intention, but nevertheless it can be read that way.) That's bound to hurt, and seem a little gratuitously mean.

Wally Ballou wrote:

Wow. Apparently you have an obligation to provide linking services to the entire blogging community, or you are arrogant and helping to doom the entire blogosphere, according to a Mr Bonesteel, logician nonpareil. I believe you gave the would-be linker actual good advice. And since you didn't name him or indicate his identity in any way, it's hard to conceive of this as "publc ridicule".

It's your blog. Commenting is something any idiot can do (even me). Clueless is as clueless does.

Rand Simberg wrote:

It isn't my aim to insult ya, here, Rand, but ignorance and arrogance on your part does not imply that there's any stupidity on my part.

Once again you demonstrate your inability to exercise logic. This is a complete straw man, since I never made such an argument. And unlike you, I never would, because it makes no sense. The premises are false, because I'm neither ignorant or arrogant, and the syllogism is broken, because even if I were, it would indeed not imply stupidity on your part.

I don't know whether or not you're stupid, but you're certainly putting up a good show of it on the Internet.

memomachine wrote:


I generally prefer the "Send traffic my way you rat bastard!!" approach.

For some reason it hasn't worked yet, though not for the lack of trying on my part.

Really. No idea why.

clyde_m wrote:

ok. we've all had our fun. i propose that you take the high road by adding a link to my site, and then move onto other posts.

i know you'll feel better knowing that you helped a hard-working, low-traffic blog with your immense (deity-like) internet power and prowess. that facial tick of yours may even recede before others hold an intervention. those night terrors? gone. promise.

glad we had this conversation.

Sarah Rolph wrote:

I'm rather shocked that anyone would find fault with this post. If Mr. Simberg had wanted to be unkind, he would have disclosed the dumb blogger's identity. Instead, he wrote something useful. A very nice way of handling the situation.

Charlie wrote:

Oh my gawd, I got the EXACT same email in the spamcatcher of my blog's comments section a while back! Word for word, except the gateway to my blog in his case was Malkin instead of PJM.

I had already decided not to blogroll him by the time I finished reading (and deleting) the link-beg, but purely out of morbid curiosity I clicked through to see what his blog was like and oh dear lord, what a gobsmackingly awful blog. First thing to hit me was a deafening auto-loaded MP3 clip of the closing measures of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger," which I couldn't pause or stop. That was all I needed.

Christopher S wrote:

The only thing more grating than blog triumphalism is the whining from lesser-known bloggers about the "arrogance" and insularity of the blogosphere's A-list.

Look: Big Media has a big audience because, when it comes down to it, it provides content that a lot of people want. Big bloggers have big audiences because, when it comes down to it, they provide content that a lot of people want.

The market sorts out winners and losers. Nobody is owed a readership. Bloggers who attack other bloggers (and/or mainstream media) for their meritocratic successes are like leftists who clamor for a "level playing field," convinced that something nefarious must lie behind the fact that certain people and institutions get ahead while others don't.

Thom wrote:

RE: Warren Bonesteel's 'Half a dozen terms that I've already used have given full and complete context to the rest.'

Huh?? I must admit that sentence reminded me of an English professor I once had. He said if you wanted to get your idea across make your writing as simple as possible. If you wanted to impress yourself, twist it around a bit and add large words.
Thanks for the laugh today.

AllenA wrote:

Link to my blog or the terrorists/MSM have already won!


Alan Kellogg wrote:

If you like this post, fine. If you don't, that's cool. I'm just doing this to make fun of the spammer you wrote about in the original post.

BTW, I also got the same message in a spamment. Gleeful deletion committed.

Tombo wrote:

I have the same feelings as Warren. It does sounds a bit snobbish. I mean hell, just say no or ignore him. No need to humiliate the guy, even if it is anonymously. The guy knows he's being made fun of.

I have run technically oriented websites since 1996. Hell, I even ran a BBS back in 1986. We would always swap links (or data numbers) with each other. I honestly can't remember any time someone was lambasted like this, though I'm sure it happened back in the BBS days. A lot of kids ran those things, myself included.

I mean it's kinda funny, in a "wedgie humor" sorta way. Funny for the guy giving the wedgie, funny for the sadists watching the guy getting the wedgie, but not funny for the recipient. I dunno, if my name were attached to it, I'd be a little more gracious; but it's not, so to each his own.

If it makes you feel more humble, I've never heard of you, I just followed an Instapundit link. Good think he was kind enough to link your site, eh?

incongruities wrote:

If your blog is part of the long tail and you don't get linked from the bigger sites, all you are doing is writing memoirs for your children. That's good enough for me.

What I love are the many blogs that have a blogroll with a thousand entries half of which are dead sites. I used to say that fresh, original content is king on the web, but since I have been cranking out fresh, original content (some more fresh and original than others) for over four years at my current site and almost nobody links me, I don't believe that anymore. I believe there is a clique you need to join and that right there pretty much rules me out. I don't do cliques; I don't grovel. I can play nice, but I don't fit in with cliques.

Bonesteel says: "The blogosphere will go the way of the dinosaur media."

Sour grapes I think. I can feel his link-deprived frustration but, nah, the blogosphere isn't going away, ever. Not in this lifetime; not as long as there are guys like me who write for the joy of writing and who can operate the technology from their garage if needed and who don't need to be linked for ego affirmation. (I already know I'm superior to most everyone else. I mean, how else could I continue on?)

I get a paltry amount of traffic at my blog (99% from search engines) but compared to the number of people who heard my voice before the Blogosphere it's a huge improvement of several orders of magnitude.

One can be a productive and entertaining blogger without an Instalanche or the bump in PageRank from being included on high-traffic blogrolls. Yes, more readership would be nice... I'm just saying. Besides, think of all the stuff your kids and grandkids will be able to sift through after you are long gone.

One final comment... If you don't link to my site you are a racist!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on October 11, 2008 10:15 AM.

The Coming Thugocracy was the previous entry in this blog.

A Hundred And Ten is the next entry in this blog.

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