I’m always getting calls from people. Some call to ask how they place an ad or how they get a story on one of our websites. Others call asking what exactly we do or if we are hiring. I always love talking to people. I like getting a feel for what is going on in the world. Almost all of the calls I get are good. A couple calls I received one day recently weren’t so great. First I had a missed call from a number in Alaska. I saw it ringing but since I was busy and I don’t really know anyone in Alaska I didn’t answer. A few seconds later I got a notice that I had a voice mail. I called in to my voice mail and heard a message from a reporter up in Alaska. He said he had found one of his stories had just been published on our website. (About 50 percent of stories we post we pick up off RSS feeds from other websites) He said he had not given permission for us to republish his story and he wanted it taken down immediately. I logged into our backend and found his story. Something about a gold mine reopening in Alaska. To be honest I didn’t read it-frankly if they aren’t finding gold in my back yard I really don’t care. I also found two other stories of his that we had republished over the last 4 years. (Not exactly the most prolific writer in Alaska I guess) What he didn’t realize about the internet is that those three articles being republished on our website are what search engines call backlinks. The more backlinks you have the higher you show up in search engines. The more backlinks you have the search engines figure you are more useful for people. As a writer you want to be all over the internet because you get more exposure and more job opportunities. I didn’t bother calling him back and out of good will I deleted his three stories on our website. I felt like the Soup Nazi as I hit delete I said to myself “No Backlinks For You!” About an hour later I got a call from the station manager of the public station this writer works for up in Alaska. He said they had not given permission for us to use any of their stories and wanted them all taken down. I tried to explain to him that we had gotten those stories from their freely given RSS feed and the Supreme Court had ruled several times that a freely given RSS feed is considered a free use license. He of course disagreed. I also tried to explain to him the value of backlinks for his station. He was having done of it. I of course said I would gladly delete them. He thanked me and we hung up. I would have liked to talk to this person more. Ask him questions about his station. About Alaska. Ask him how the economy is up there. What do the people up there think about President Trump. What does he think about the show Alaskan Bush People…ya know important things like that. But I figured it was just best to end the conversation. I logged into our backend and found 854 stories we had republished from their station’s website over the past 4 years. There are actually companies that offer backlink building services. That amount of quality backlinks would probable cost between $1,000-$2,000 and maybe more. I clicked on the delete button and said “No Backlinks For You!” I would love to be a fly on the wall at their next sales meeting and hear them talk about why their traffic dropped so drastically and why they had to drop ad rates due to the lower number of visitors to their website. Now let me be clear-these two people were not rude or mean. They were just hard working people that thought someone was taking advantage of them and their hard work. They had no clue how the internet works or the value of what we were giving them. They also didn’t realize the reason they found that article in search engines so quickly is since we have such high traffic the search engines index our website and articles almost immediately. We were giving their stories exposure they would never normally get. I mean lets be honest-is anyone really going to go to some Alaskan public station’s website to read an article about a gold mine if they didn’t see it on our site first? I don’t think so. You would think these people being in the media would understand the internet but they just don’t. A lot of people in the media are left over from the dying print media and have never tried or wanted to learn the internet. But I just shake my head and keep pressing the delete button for these people and say “No Backlinks For You!”
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