Mostly. Almost always. The great majority of the time.
How about the potential customer? Is the potential customer always right?
Only about 80 percent of the time.
What brought this idea into our heads was a stray thought or two about the 20 percent of LinksManager registrations for new service that we are forced to reject. While LinksManager is a very reasonably priced service, business is business and if you’re a businessperson, on or offline, you know how hard it is to turn paying customers away.
Yet we reject – we have to reject – an average of two applicants out of every ten signups.
And no, it has nothing to do with money. As far as we know, their credit cards are not maxed out. The reasons for our “denials of service” decisions have nothing to do with personalities and everything to do with preserving the integrity of LinksManager in particular and the Web itself.
In its soul, LinksManager is a tool to promote positive, ethical linking and inhibit negative, unethical linking. If you’re already a registered LinksManager user, you know that the service cannot be used to send unsolicited e-mail or harvest e-mail addresses from Websites. You also know that every link request you receive through LinksManager must be individually accepted before it is added to your links page and that the program does not support doorway pages, cloaking or invisible text.
We built these safeguards into LinksManager for three reasons. 1.) To help prevent our end users from inadvertently engaging in a practice that might raise red flags in search-engine ranking programs. 2.) To protect our customers from any chance of “guilt by association” with unscrupulous Web promoters trying to use LinksManager in violation of our ethical standards and terms of usage. 3.) To insure – as much as we are able – that the Web remains a free and reliable means of human interaction.
So the LinksManager program itself is a significant barrier to link-scam abuse. But that’s technology; a form of automation, and since we preach about editor – i.e. human – driven solutions, we also try to practice them.
Which means that every site that registers for the LinksManager service is examined by one of our senior editors (a real person) charged with determining whether the site is, as we state in our Terms and Conditions, “designed to be used with unique websites that offer a unique service or product.”
If the site in question does not meet that test, if it is intended solely to herd traffic to redirects or affiliate sites, we reject the registration.
We also turn down business from people promoting hate crimes, racism, illegal activities, libel, sites that produce or promote spam, sites that hype free-for-all linking schemes, mirror-image multi-level-marketing turnkey sites, sites that feature deceptive popups and Java traps … in other words, we’re pretty darn selective.
And the money enforcing these standards costs us?
It’s always seemed like a small amount to pay for helping provide a cleaner, more credible business environment for the people whose sites we do accept and a more honorable, at least slightly less shark-infested cyber-ocean for everyone who uses the Web.