Here's an oddity that washed up in this morning's tide:
From: Montgomery, Luke <Luke.Montgomery@tektronix.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2011 16:18:47 -0700
Subject: Tektronix Site Resource
Dear Daniel Rutter,
I found your website, Dan's Data and wanted to thank you for providing such great information about PC Hardware and Gadgets. I was wondering if it would be possible to provide a link to our website (http://www.tek.com/products/digital-multimeter/) as a potential resource on Multimeters. We noticed you already reference the phrase on the following page: http://www.dansdata.com/io072.htm, so hopefully, it’d be an easy change on your end.
Link should look like this if possible:
I did some resistance measuring with my multimeter between the legs and got:
Once you've completed this task, if it's not too much trouble, would you mind just sending a quick confirmation email? That way, I can mark your website off my action and follow-up list.
Thank you in advance for your support. If you have any questions, please let me know.
SEO Specialist, Worldwide Marketing
On the face of it, this is a normal link-spam e-mail. Your standard form letter - "I found your site, $SITENAME and wanted to thank you for providing such great information about $SCRAPED_SUBJECT...", and then a request for a link from some random machine-detected page on the site - in this case, the question portion of this letter.
But this link-spam's an odd one, because tek.com really is the Web site for Tektronix, who really are a big name in test and measurement gear - they're possibly the biggest name in oscilloscopes, just as Fluke are the biggest name in multimeters.
(And now, thanks to Wikipedia, I know that Fluke and Tektronix are today both subsidiaries of the same corporation!)
If a human had bothered to look at the page they were asking me to link from, they probably would have noticed that such a link would only be appropriate if the multimeter being mentioned was a Tektronix product. Which, since the meter in question belongs to one of my readers, not me, I do not know. But I doubt it, because Tektronix multimeters are really nice and really expensive. The entry-level model on the page they want me to link to lists for $US750, and the top-of-the-line model is $US1350.
That's too rich for my blood, so I couldn't even validly link to the tek.com page from some use of the words "my multimeter" that was actually me talking about my multimeter. My good multimeter for formal dinners and meeting heads of state is...
...a Protek 506, here seen in the company of one of my random sub-$10 meters and my Micronta 22-195A, which was the very first multimeter I ever bought, when I was so young I still thought it was pretty cool to buy things at Tandy. (It still works. Might even still be accurate.)
So, to Luke Montgomery, SEO Specialist: Send me a Tektronix DMM4050 and I assure you that even though I'll never use at least half of its features, I will link to any page you like the next time I refer to using it, without the tiresome nofollows I've put on all the links to your site above.
If Tektronix made a general site about what multimeters are and what they do, then links of this sort, to that site, would be valid. Links to particular products from general terms are the opposite of informative, though. This one would be worthless to readers who already know about multimeters, and would either annoy or actively misinform readers who don't already know about multimeters. It's like asking someone to link some random mention of "my car" to BMW's page for the current 5 Series.
Search engine optimisation can be perfectly valid - when, for instance, it makes it easier for people who want to buy the sort of thing you sell to find you.
Tell someone you're in the "SEO" business, though, and they'll probably assume you spend your days pursuing a higher Google PageRank by polluting the Web with misleading and useless information. And they will probably be right.
In conclusion, as regular readers will by now be expecting: Take it awaaaaay, Bill!
Okay I admit the email did seem a bit spammy. I realize you must receive a lot of spam/email/link-requests all the time so I just wanted to apologize. I send out emails all the time requesting links and I guess after I while I just get in a rut and start to sound like a robot. I am sorry for the spam, my intention was never to bother you. Your post made me realize how I was sounding and I'm sorry.
There may be hope for the boy yet!