There are a number of reports within the SE industry of negative SEO extortion emails that are being sent to site owners, webmasters, SEOs, among others. In these emails, it’s claimed that there is an evil SEO that is threatening to ruin a person’s website ranking in Google and other search engines if they don’t pay this SEO $1,500.
It almost sounds like a chain letter or SEO urban legend to me, accept this “legend” is real. There have been several people who have posted this email, including Dan Petrovic, Steve Webb and George Zlatin. Below is a copy of the email.
The email reads:
Subject: I Want To Buy. Please Guide Me.
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) :
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.
These sound like such nice people, don’t they?
According to Google and their stance on negative SEO, “Google works hard to prevent other webmasters from being able to harm your ranking or have our site removed from our index.” Before, the made the statement that there is “almost nothing a competitor can do to harm you ranking or have your site removed from our index.”
It sounds like they’re going back on their previous stance, doesn’t it? Maybe your site isn’t as immune as Google thought it would be, right Google?
After having the emails forwarded to Google, it was stated by the company that they aren’t really sure how credible this threat really is. Google has stated that the algorithms that they are using are meant to prevent these sort of activities from causing problems of this type for webmasters.
If you’re concerned about specific links, just use the disavow tool. Anybody who is getting threatened like this, regardless of whether it’s towards a website, a piece of physical property or you personally, you need to report it to law enforcement. Of course, it can make it more difficult if threat is coming from outside the country and is outside their jurisdiction. You can report any threat like this to Google if you received it via Gmail by going to this link: https://support.google.com/mail/contact/abuse.
As you saw, the digital landscape can be quite a challenging place to compete with others, and only the strongest and most competitive contenders will appear at the top. Google is changing algorithms all the time in order to help out their users have a better search experience, and in this case, you have to do all you can to be on top yourself.
But the problem is, not everyone will fight fair. No matter how fair you fight, or how noble you are in your pursuit in good SEO, there are those who’ll try anything they can to bring you down, even if it means drawing upon negative SEO. There’s an article you may want to check out on Siteoscope.com, and it explains further what negative SEO is, and how you can defend against a negative SEO attack.