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Link Removal Request

Discussion in 'Directories' started by arrisweb, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. #1
    Hi,

    I have received a link removal request:

    "Hello, We found that these links of your website [url here]

    I request you to remove the link immediately, as we never asked for a link from your site.
    We don't authorize you to show our website link on your website, hence request you to remove all occurrence of the [url here] from your site within 7 days of receiving this mail.

    Failing to do, so will result in a legal action against you / your company. "

    Email sent from India, website is UK.
    I have still 3 days to remove. I have replied to link owner and website owner, but no reply.

    It is the first time in link removal history when "Failing to do, so will result in a legal action against you / your company."
    arrisweb, Sep 4, 2013 IP
  2. Alex jones

    Alex jones Member

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    #2
    There are so many requests I receive weekly and i do respond to them. The important thing is to check if they are real or spam. As far as legal action is concerned they can very much do that unless you have some proof. The better way is to remove them.
    Alex jones, Sep 4, 2013 IP
  3. khemraj

    khemraj Well-Known Member

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    #3
    They can very well take legal action against you, if they're right with have they've mentioned in email. and I guess there is no harm in removing the link. instead of wasting time on sending emails back and forth, you should just remove the links and invest that time in more productive things
    khemraj, Sep 4, 2013 IP
  4. Arick unirow

    Arick unirow Notable Member

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    #4
    I was thinking this thread is quite interesting. While waiting some experts to share their ideas, I would try to share my opinion with you..
    While it is easy to just remove the link, it is wise to not remove it because of that email.
    Here are some options for you:
    1. Do not just focus on the bold parts of your first post above. I was talking about "Failing to do, so will result in a legal action against you / your company". It just simple words for me. Think about 'the Pride' of your directory.
      Everyone could send the same email but if they really want to remove the link, just send the the procedure to do that.
      You should show them if such email will not going to make link removal goes faster. Ask them nicely to follow the procedure.
      It is best to consult with lawyer and professional whom often dealing with internet regulation.
    2. Give the sender advice on how to remove the link in an easy and legal way. Told them if the link would not going to be removed if they didn't follow the normal procedure. If they insist to bring it to the court, Tell them if you already have policy which allow anyone to remove the link just by sending request from the email registered with the domain.
      Told them you didn't remove it because there is no response to the email being sent to the owner of the domain/site. Any request to remove the site which come from 'non authority' will be 'ignored'. Only email registered with the domain/sites are eligible to remove links.
      If they said "I didn't send the link", just told them if you believe it and willing to help them to remove the link immediately. However, in order to do so, they just need to prove if they own the domain/sites by responding to the email already sent to the admin/owner of the domain.
      Explain to them carefully if all link removal must follow appropriate procedure. This is to protect domain/site owner. Carefully told them if another people could send the url to any directory. However, to be listed in your directory, they have to verify the email created for the domain. By doing this, only domain/site owner could list their own property in your site.
    3. If you really concern with the email, just remove the link but told them "Thanks for the request. We think high of any link inclusion and removal in our directory, therefore the link was removed because we are doing investigation with our legal department to determine whether it is necessary to keep the link or remove it permanently. To fully remove the link, we suggest you to send the request using the email registered with the domain or site".
    From the three options above, I prefer number three. It would make the sender understand if your directory have pride while fulfilling their task. You could remove the link forever and completely forget the case or doing the real investigation. The choice is yours. Please understand I'm not professional on the topic. What I wrote above is just my plain opinion about link removal.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
    Arick unirow, Sep 4, 2013 IP
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  5. YMC

    YMC Well-Known Member

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    #5
    Let's take this one point at a time...

    The Legality
    (I am not a lawyer, nor am I in the UK or India but I have studied copyright extensively)

    If they truly didn't submit to your site, the issue isn't linking but copyright. If you used text from their site as the description, they may have a case. While it seems legal opinion varies, most experts I've talked to believe screen shots can be copyrighted. So, if you are using text you did not write that appears on their website and/or a screenshot, they may have grounds to fight you based on copyright.

    That said, fair use (at least in the US, not sure how it works in UK or India) could come into play as you have "reviewed" their site which should allow you to use a screen shot. However, if the site description is simply text copied from their site, you probably wouldn't be covered under fair use as you didn't actually "review" them.

    If, on the other hand, they submitted their site to yours, it would seem they have no claim as by the act of submitting, they gave you permission to use their materials.

    Linking to another site, as long as you don't use protected materials to do so, is perfectly legal.

    It is your site and your content!
    Just because someone went overboard trying to get backlinks using the same text, doesn't mean you should have to remove content from your site. If the linked text/title uses keywords rather than the site name, you (for the good of your own site), may want to consider changing it to the site name.

    Competitor Sabotage
    If the email address of the take down request is not the same as the one used during submission, I would first verify they are authorized to represent the site before taking any action.



    BTW, the threat of legal action is not new. It's been going on since about a month or two after the Google update that started this madness. Everything I've seen would indicate the threat of legal action is generally not supportable.
    YMC, Sep 5, 2013 IP
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  6. sunilmamo

    sunilmamo Active Member

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    #6
    LOL I don't think any legal action against a webmaster whose only crime was to "link" to another site will actually stand in any court of law in the world. There isn't any legislation preventing someone to "link" to another site. This is simply fireworks with a lot of noise. Just move on.
    sunilmamo, Sep 5, 2013 IP
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  7. Mia

    Mia R.I.P. STEVE JOBS

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    #7
    Lot of ignorant people out there...
    Mia, Sep 5, 2013 IP
  8. swedal

    swedal Notable Member

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    #8
    That is for sure....
    swedal, Sep 5, 2013 IP
  9. snowbird

    snowbird Notable Member

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    #9
    How each directory owner handles link removal requests does appear to vary greatly. For those who do want to comply with the requests, and have a lot of free time, don't miss the opportunity to help educate those that are asking for their links to be removed.

    Here's part of a canned response:

    "If you were a search engine, how could you make users more dependent on your product? Greatly reduce the links that send so many legitimate businesses and organizations traffic. View the Internet Association website to learn more about the the companies who are working closely together to further monetize the one trillion dollar a year eCommerce industry. Please be sure to view their members section to get a better idea who is behind the organization that claims to be the "unified voice of the internet economy" and who is allegedly representing our interests.

    At least 80% of the link removal requests I've seen are fraudulent. It appears some competitors are trying to hurt others and in the end who really loses? The losers are those who do respond to these inquiries.

    What is going on with the link removal requests only benefits Google. First, as webmasters remove links on their sites and directories, fewer opportunities exist for websites to get referral traffic from a linked document. As more links get dropped from websites, this makes ordinary users even more dependent on a search product or social network to find what they are looking for. And in the case of small businesses getting pushed out of Google's search results, these small businesses are increasingly finding that they must pay to play (Adwords) to be listed anywhere near the major brands. But for publishers, which includes directory owners, Google's linking policy threatens the very core of competition by making their product and service offerings less desirable than maintaining a good appearance in Google's eyes. As additional punishment for being a publisher, they must respond to link removal requests at a cost of their time and expense.

    Going back to what I originally noted as part of a canned response to those asking for link removals, the major brands that are appearing in Google's search results are largely members of the Internet Association. Have you searched for a product and seen 1 or 2 Amazon listings at the top of Google's search results? Or maybe you have seen 8 as some others are reporting elsewhere. Who comes in after Amazon in these queries? eBay? Facebook? What about a search for something information related. Have you seen About.com lately? All of these companies are members of the Internet Association. Is it a coincidence that members of this group dominate Google's search results or is it by design? Most importantly, will any webmaster removing links pointing to their website be able to outrank members of the Internet Association?

    The web was built on individual computers linking to one another. Now we are in the middle of a campaign by Google to eradicate these links. What does this do for consumer choice, what does this do for our freedoms as webmasters to link to other websites and what will the trillion dollar a year eCommerce industry look like in five years if this continues?

    There are important legal concerns with Google requesting that webmasters remove links that point to their websites to regain their trust. By utilizing their market dominance, which spans just about every industry, they are reshaping the internet and costing those websites that thrive on referral visits to lose this vital source of traffic from referral links. These legal concerns are not so much who you link to and what legal actions they can take against you, but rather how a dominant company can demand that webmasters remove a competing source of traffic to their websites.

    It is important to distinguish real directories from auto-approve link farms. There are many, including myself, who have encountered businesses in our professional and personal lives that offer great products and services. When we as editors see this value, it is not uncommon for us to list them in our directories so that others can find "good businesses." If this is to be punished, the personal freedoms to write and be heard that was once enjoyed online will be forever extinguished by ones greed to monetize as much internet traffic as they can.
    snowbird, Sep 5, 2013 IP
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  10. gkd_uk

    gkd_uk Well-Known Member

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    #10
    You will receive all types of emails such as:

    "If you don't remove our link we will have no choice but to use the google disavow tool"
    or
    "We give you 5 days to remove the link and get back to us"

    Lots of SEO companies are going crazy and just removing all links they can find. Sometimes it takes a quick generic reply to educate the company or individual.

    If their nice, you could remove the link. If they threaten you, ignore them.

    It's your directory and as long as you have done nothing wrong and know your directory is of high quality and not been penalised by Search Engines, you decide what you wish to do.

    If your directory has been penalised, its fair that you remove the link.
    gkd_uk, Sep 6, 2013 IP
  11. Mia

    Mia R.I.P. STEVE JOBS

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    #11
    Sound advice. IMO, the SEO's that are running around frantically threatening directory owners should find another line of work.

    I do not feel the least bit bad about asking the SEO's to pay me or my staff for our time to undo what they think they might have done. You're paying for time, not a link or lack there of.

    We do offer a NOFOLLOW option as well, though I completely discourage that type of behavior since most SEO's use that method more effectively to pagesculpt than with the actually link.

    An actual owner of a sight that asks nicely, sure we accommodate them, but its on a case by case basis.

    What bothers me the most are the SEO's who become quite belligerent from the start and threaten everything from the disavow tool as you said, or "I will tell Google and you will be in big trouble". Those out there claiming that Google specifically described one particular link and or web site / directory as the sole culprit to their link strategy gone awry are dishonest and the real source of your web sites fall from grace.

    My guess is google is intentionally being very vague in their explanation of "bad links" so that the hack SEO's who tried for years to cheat the system will do more damage rather than seek to simply correct the most obvious of issues. Google has these guys chasing their tails right now, and its pathetic to watch. There's a lot of damage being done with all the misinformation and other garbage floating around.

    In the end, this may just weed out the hacks. Again, I think that's what Google intended in the first place.
    Mia, Sep 6, 2013 IP
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  12. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #12
    I love the threat of legal action. In order to have any teeth that legal action has to be started in the UK, surely, as the Indian legal system has no jurisdiction over your British site. Regardless of the cost, anything involving lawyers in two different countries is going to be a headache.

    As a directory owner (not so much currently, but in the past) I've reserved the right to list any website I see fit, to amend the listings, recategorise etc - it's my site after all! If anyone wants a site unlisted they need to give evidence of why the listing is no longer applicable to the site (changed use, dropped domain, changed ownership) but I'm more likely to update the listing than remove outright.
    sarahk, Sep 8, 2013 IP
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  13. stoner3221

    stoner3221 Notable Member

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    #13
    The battle of websites hosting links to other sites has already been in court several times and the persons hosting the links always won the cases. Case law is on the side of the links host. I'm up to 50+ requests a day and have stopped even spending the time to send replies. Some fool even tried a DMCA complaint but I am standing my ground and not dismantling my directories and 10 years work because Google screwed up and is now correcting it's errors.
    stoner3221, Sep 10, 2013 IP
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  14. gkd_uk

    gkd_uk Well-Known Member

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    #14
    With the number of such requests being received by SEO companies, should we be charging for removing submissions?
    gkd_uk, Sep 10, 2013 IP
  15. tornado!

    tornado! Member

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    #15
    You should work for free so that the site owners having links removed have more money to spend on Adwords.
    tornado!, Sep 10, 2013 IP
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  16. Mia

    Mia R.I.P. STEVE JOBS

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    #16
    I am. I charge to remove and a reduced rate to change the submission to NOFOLLOW. Better than 70% pay the fee.
    Mia, Sep 10, 2013 IP
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  17. stoner3221

    stoner3221 Notable Member

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    #17
    Matt Cutts specifically said he wants to know of anybody charging to remove links.
    stoner3221, Sep 14, 2013 IP
  18. swiftsaves

    swiftsaves Active Member

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    #18
    Best way is just ignore them why at the first place they have spamed your website and now crying .Its nothing they can do instead you can nail them in their )0( . Well panda and penguin works = if your website is flagged within panda and penguin`s index and their website is getting a link from your website . they will be flagged aswell . This is the reason that is burning their back side and they want to remove the links from your website .
    swiftsaves, Sep 15, 2013 IP
  19. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #19
    Ofcourse he does, any kind of paying for links to be added/removed is artificially manipulating your site's footprint.
    sarahk, Sep 15, 2013 IP
  20. Agent000

    Agent000 Notable Member

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    #20
    No they can't. What law are they breaking by linking to a site? Any website can link to any other website they like. There is no law against that!
    Agent000, Sep 15, 2013 IP
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