I received the following email a while back:
I am contacting you today to request that you remove our website url: [redacted] from your website:
The reason for this request is because Google recently penalized our website for unnatural links. As a precaution, we are asking certain webmasters to remove our link(s) from their website. If the above links are NOT removed we will add them to a Disavow list that suggests to Google that the offending website is an ‘untrusted’ one. So please do us both a big favor and promptly remove the links that I listed above.
I’d also appreciate you letting me know when they are removed. I will follow up with you in a few days.
Thank you for understand and your assistance in this matter.
I ignored it, and they never followed up, but I did take a quick look in my archives. I linked to them in 2001 – a completely legit and fair link (it was really absolutely nothing exciting). Honestly, what concerns me is that apparently, Google make available tools that websites can use to threaten one another with. “Do what we say, or we’ll damage your Google ranking”. Now me, I don’t care. This is my private blog, from which I derive no income. But if I were running a money making business and I started to get letters like this, I would be seriously concerned.
Does anyone know if there’s someone I can get in touch with at Google about this? (I’m not expecting to be able to, but it’s worth asking.) Because seriously, if I were making money on this site, is there anything about this that doesn’t smell like a classic shakedown?