Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Wednesday 21 February 2024

More emails trying to get a link on your site - this time it's attempted emotional blackmail

 "...Then the Sun shined out warmly, and immediately the traveler took off his cloak." - Aesop's fable The North Wind and the Sun

There are many ways to ask someone to add a link back to your blog or website. People ask because if you link to their site because, when Google indexes the pages and links on your website, Google 'reads' the fact that you've linked to a site as a recommendation, helping it to get higher in search results for particular keywords.

One of my pages receives a disproportionate number of requests (it's a popular page, though not my most popular) from people requesting that I add some link or other, much like a cuckoo leaves its eggs in other bird's nests. 

Of course I'm not having any of it but I am interested in the methods used. 

Recently I wrote about false copyright infringement requests (basically implying a DMCA take-down if you don't add a link) and today, after a BlueSky 'skeet'* from Jenny Shipway about the 'emotional blackmail' variant, decided to blog some examples. 

They're... rather similar (and some of them (one of the examples shown but a common feature in others I've had and since deleted) have an unsubscribe link at the end - why would they have that?!).

Screenshot of email spam, details in the post's text


*skeet is what BlueSky people call their Tweet equivalent. 

Example One

From: [Name and email address redacted]
Date: Mon, 2 Oct 2023 at 17:03
Subject: A note from Ms. [Name redacted]'s class.
To: <Jo>


I'm Ms. [Name redacted], a homeschooling teacher, and we wanted to express our gratitude for your helpful webpage: It has been an invaluable resource for our class.  (Edit - this is the page on my site that gets a lot of this!)

During extra credit research, one of our students, [girl's name redacted], came across this informative site: [irrelevant link redacted][girl's name redacted] believed it would be a great addition to your page and asked me to reach out to gauge your interest. Your consideration would mean a lot to [girl's name redacted] and our entire class.

We kindly request your thoughts on including this resource. Please let us know your decision, and we'll be eager to share this exciting news with [girl's name redacted] and her peers.

Thank you for your support!

Best regards,
Ms. [Name redacted]
Teacher & School Counselor


Example Two

From: [Name and email address redacted]
Date: Fri, Oct 20, 2023 at 12:40 PM
Subject: AstroBoost, Activity ideas and resources
To: <Jenny>


My name is [redacted] and I instruct an Astronomy Club for K12 students and just wanted to send a quick email and thanks. I was able to take advantage of some of your activity resources for my lessons ( Thank you!

While exploring your page, one of my students, [girls name redacted], noticed you don't have an astronomy page we found together as a class. She thought it'd be a wonderful reference for students or other aspiring astronomers! :) I'll include it in my email below.

Anyways, I hope it's not too much trouble to ask to include it to your page? [Redacted link about space elevators]

[Girl's name redacted] is very shy and doesn't speak up much. I'm so proud of her for stepping out of her comfort zone and recommending a resource!

We meet as a class again tomorrow afternoon and I'd love to show how our recommendation is up for others to explore and learn from! I'm hoping it'll break her out of her shell and volunteer more wonderful ideas in the future. :)

Thanks again!


Example Three

From: [Name and email address redacted]
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2024, 18:03
Subject: Can You Help (Your Resource Page)?
To: <Jenny>

I am [redacted], an educator currently guiding a group of science students on their educational journey. As we explore the world of astronomy, we came across your resource page, and I wanted to express our sincere appreciation for the invaluable information on your website that has greatly benefited our studies.
One of our diligent students, [Girl's name redacted], who has a keen interest in data science, discovered an excellent resource on the role of data science in astronomy and interstellar exploration at [Data science in space link redacted]
She suggested sharing it with you, believing it could enhance your webpage. We kindly request your consideration even if it's for a short while as it will also inspire our students.
Please let me know if you're able to add it to your page so that I can show it to my students. Thank you for your time and potential collaboration.
[Name redacted]
Teacher and advisor at [link redacted]

If you don't want to receive emails like this from me, please let me know here [link redacted].

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Comment policy: I enthusiastically welcome corrections and I entertain polite disagreement ;) Because of the nature of this blog it attracts a LOT - 5 a day at the moment - of spam comments (I write about spam practices,misleading marketing and unevidenced quackery) and so I'm more likely to post a pasted version of your comment, removing any hyperlinks.

Comments written in ALL CAPS LOCK will be deleted and I won't publish any pro-homeopathy comments, that ship has sailed I'm afraid (it's nonsense).