The New Face of Reciprocal Links: Widgetbait

Author: Gab Goldenberg

I recently got this email:

Dear SEO ROI Services author,

Our editors recently reviewed your blog and have given it an 8.2 score out of (10) in the Technology category of

This is quite an achievement! [If you say so, then it must be!]

We evaluated your blog based on the following criteria: Frequency of Updates, Relevance of Content, Site Design, and Writing Style. [So quality wasn’t a criteria? I guess I’m finally getting through to people how little quality content matters!]

After carefully reviewing each of these criteria, your site was given its 8.2 score.

We’ve also created score badges with your score prominently displayed. Simply visit your website’s summary page on

[Badge picture was here.]

Click on the “Show this rating on your blog!” link underneath the score and follow the instructions provided.

Please accept my congratulations on a blog well-done!!


Amy Liu


Matt Inman’s widgetbait for his new dating site got pre-emptively wrecked recently, in what most SEOs (see the comments on that post) thought was unfair punishment for someone starting out fresh in a legitimate, whitehat way. If we’re going to talk about widgetbait as spam [because it’s unsolicited and obviously worthless here], this here is the prototype example, not Matt’s fun quizzes and such.
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  1. I tried validating myself as a site owner... they require adding a backlink to your site to validate. I said no thanks.

    Comment by Willy - May 1, 2008 @ 8:57pm
  2. Very interesting, Gab - thanks for sharing this. Looks like 0atmeal's public success has echoed through the halls. I'd expect this tactic will be far more successful than a standard reciprocal linking campaign (asking pretty please with sugar on top), but it's spam nonetheless. I'm still taken aback by the fact that 0atmeal is essentially black-listed by the G at this point. I guess it wasn't enough to dump what had to be countless hours of his hard work down the drain...

    Comment by MikeTek - May 2, 2008 @ 9:26am

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