I always knew there was a link between good blogging and good kissing

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Give Mama A KissMy buddy Andy Wibbels just distracted me from a post I have been trying to write all morning by his “Asking for Link Exchanges is Tacky.”  In his no b.s. way, he says:
“I hate hate hate when I get emailed out of the blue by somebody I’ve never met and they want me to add their link to my site OH GOODY they are going to add mine to theirs.

Link farms are so 1997. Jesus, people.

Only thing worse is: HEY ANDY I FOUND THIS GREAT NEW SERVICE  and then they link to it and it is a frigging affiliate link.”

I got a little riled up when I thought about it, because I too get  bewildered by  “link  exchange requests” that come with no warning, out of the blue, from people I have never met.

Some of Andy’s commenters were a bit frustrated by the post, saying (me paraphrasing) “OK, so we know what NOT to do, but what SHOULD we do to get more incoming links and increase our Technorati ranking?”

Where I think we get tripped up is in separating typical “online” networking protocol from “offline” protocol.

What I said in a comment to Andy is: “Would you really walk up to someone that you had never met at a networking function, stick out your hand, introduce yourself and say “Hi Andy — I’m Pam, and I was wondering if you could include information about MY business in your next newsletter?  Better yet, could you put my picture on a big slide in your next presentation?”

Of course you would not do that.  Just as you would not go up to someone you had never met and plant a big, wet kiss square on his (or her) lips.

A kiss is intimate and personal, for heaven’s sake.  And built on getting to know each other.  And like and trust each other.  All this takes time and conversation.  And as any pained teenager can tell you (having been one myself), the best kind of kiss to get is when the kisser does it spontaneously because they WANT to kiss you, not because you ask for it.

Blogs are personal.  You can get to know a lot about people by what they write, the look and feel of their site, their picture (or lack thereof), who they link to and what kind of things they promote.  You should be thoughtful and, yes, picky about what you put on your site, not to be arrogant or shut anyone out, but because a big part of what people will find valuable about your blog is thoughtfully screened content and resources.

If you set a table up in a mall and offer a kiss to anyone willing to pay a dollar for it, it loses its precious value and appeal.

So maintain your honor and don’t fling yourself at unknown suitors until you are sure you know they have your best interests in mind.  Take the time to gently introduce yourself, get to know people who interest you, and if you have a real, mutual “attraction”  that stands the test of time, links and pings and bookmarks will happen naturally.

Finally, a last bit of advice that you can take with a grain of salt, since I realize it is my own pet peeve:  Never ask for a link.  Seduce it.

For a bit more information, I hammered on this topic last Halloween with some more networking tips on How to Avoid Fright-Inducing Link Sharing Techniques.

7 Responses to “I always knew there was a link between good blogging and good kissing”

  1. Yes! That’s what marketing is all about. Making them feel so comfortable with the service or product that they want to pay for it and tell all their friends about it. It’s why I wanted an iPod. Everyone told me how cool they are.

    Seducing the link is the only way to guarantee that both parties are happy.

  2. John says:

    Interesting sidenote. My wife and I were walking down the street here in Tempe the other evening, when we passed a woman wearing a nicely filled out T-shirt that said “KISS ME” across the front.

    Didn’t know if she were desperate, flirty or just looking for a reaction.

  3. Wired Gecko says:

    If you link to me Ill link to you

    How many times have you received an email from someone you dont know asking if youll link to his or her blog and in return youll get a link back? It happens quite often to me and I am growing increasingly less receptive to these r…

  4. Tina says:

    I think it depends on your type of business as well, in the ‘tangible products’ business link exchanges are still quite common and can be effective as an SEO strategy.

    We recently started a baby gift site and my hubby is in charge of traffic, part of which is exchanging links. First of all he looks for relevant sites (ala the flirting + business example above, say what?)… as you say, we want to like the site before we’ll link to it.

    He then puts a link to their site from our resources/partners page and emails them to say ‘We like your site and have added a link on our page… would you like to do the same?’ kinda thing… im sure he says it better than that, im just paraphrasing.

    We give them the URL to their link so they can see we are legit, and in about half the cases they will post our link on their page.

    I think the key is:
    a) making sure the sites are relevant to each other
    b) posting their link first vs. waiting for them to post yours first just cause you asked… i think people appreciate getting a link without asking and are more willing to do the exchange in that case.

    Good point Tina — so much depends on the nuance of the request … and perhaps blogrolls are a bit different than websites since they tend to connotate personal connections, rather than complimentary businesses.

    There ain’t no hard and fast rules when it comes to human connection, that’s for sure!

    -Pam

  5. Dead on, Pam.

    Here’s another related situation: “Review my book.”

    We all get requests from authors for a review and the attendant buzz that can be created. I don’t have a problem with that when the book is related to my blog content, and most are. What does bug me is when I get an email asking “Where’s my review?”

    The issue: If I say I’ll do one (no promises as to the outcome), I will. But my schedule doesn’t mean I’m going to spend all of my time immediately reading the book and turning out a review in a few days.

  6. Colin says:

    Pam,

    I was really confused when the owner of a blog called “feeling flirty” wanted to exchange links with me. My little blog is about starting a business, not flirting! It didn’t fit at all with my content and I couldn’t understand how the owner of this blog thought it made sense for us to get into bed together, so to speak.

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