Last week I got this via email

How would you like getting a logo’s (or) icon’s (or) seo report (or)template (or) Banner (or) Article (or) Header designed free of cost for your website. We are giving away these services as a promotional measure for free of cost. In return we need a link at your site for each services at home or internal page(Except link,resources,directory pages).

So to get a new services all you got to do is mail us back with the confirmation of link and the page where the link added for our site. If not interested in any of these offer,and interested to do three-way link exchange,please feel free to mail me back.

Awaiting for your reply,

Notice they were willing to trade just about any web based service imaginable for a link. A shotgun approach, but good for a few links I suppose. 😉

And today I got this, which is a bit of a higher touch and more focused approach.

I recently started writing work for ______ as a content writer. I would like to write a guest post related to education/college/online education etc. on your site if you’re interested in accepting such a post. If you are interested, please let me know and I can send you an article for you to look over.

The Deal:
I will write a good, useful posts/articles on education/college/online education etc. specifically for your website/blog, free of cost. But I will need a by-line to build up my writing career. In addition, there will be a link to the ______ site in the by-line. So, it will help all parties concerned.

Sample posts written by me:

  • linkbait A
  • linkbait B

Both articles were widely read and received numerous links from other bloggers. Thanks for your time and I am looking forward to your reply.
Susan Jacobs

The nice thing about receiving such emails is that if they reference their site and you compete with them you can simply set up a couple link searches from blogs to track down everyone that accepted their offer and then get links from the same sources, replicating their strategies while hoarding your own unique link sources. As a Technorati top 100 blogger or an SEO service provider you also get requests like these from people who do not know you own competing sites. This is yet another advantage of being well embedded into the web: you see new marketing strategies within days or weeks of them emerging.

This is also scary for businesses succeeding based on a low price-point strategy. Eventually a similar product or service will be available free (or with a hidden cost that only reveals itself down the road). You are better off charging twice as much and having half as many customers, as mentioned here:

On the drive to lunch I’d ask Ralph why he wouldn’t fill the order when we were making 20 or 30 percent margins on that ton of glass.. “Because they can easily afford to pay more” he’d say.. “and once I sell that crate it’s gone, it will take 3 months before I get another crate.. somebody else will buy it because it’s a specialty size with low cut-loss”, and if I sell it at that price, next time he’ll ask for another nickel discount.. “

The fact that people are trying so many different strategies to get free links show how powerful Google’s fearmongering campaign against paid links is, and just how detached from reality the idea of link = vote is in a marketplace where everyone either knows that link = vote OR is gamed by someone who knows that link = vote.

More: continued here