Consumer Reports Conducting Link Exchange Requests?

May 6, 2009 • 8:45 am | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO

consumer reports logoThere are rumors that the incredibly popular magazine and website, Consumer Reports is sending out link exchange requests to webmasters and SEOs.

A WebmasterWorld thread has a Senior Member, MichaelBluejay, saying that he has received, what he considers, deceptive emails from Consumer Reports asking for a link exchange. Let me quote you what he said:

Consumer Reports wrote to me, saying they're "constantly seeking sites that complement our own," how their ultimate goal is to help consumers get expert information, and how my site is an excellent resource for various specific reasons (which was on the mark, they did actually visit it). They then requested a link from a specific page of mine to a specific page of theirs, ending with "Hopefully together we can help users find reliable information on [widgets]."

But a careful reading of their message shows that they didn't actually link to my site, or even say they'd do so if I linked to them -- even though they're supposedly so incredibly impressed by my site and its usefulness to consumers.

So I wrote back and asked, "I'm sorry, where exactly is your link to my site?" They never replied.

The obvious question is why would a large publication like Consumer Reports need to conduct link exchanges? Are they just automatically sending out emails to publishers asking them to link to their site? Why make it sound like they want to give a link back to the publisher, when it doesn't seem like they will end up doing so?

There are a few possibilities that come to mind:

(1) Consumer Reports hired a SEO company and maybe the SEO company feels these emails are important to their SEO campaign? (2) Another site had a typo in their link exchange email requests and put down Consumer Reports? (3) This was a joke or made up?

I am not sure but this is indeed interesting. I guess, it can't hurt to remind people that Consumer Reports does have solid information. It is just weird to see link exchange emails from large publications and companies.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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05/06/2009 02:01 pm

"Why make it sound like they want to give a link back to the publisher, when it doesn't seem like they will end up doing so?" I didn't see any language in the snippet supplied that indicated they wanted to link to this individual's site.


05/06/2009 02:47 pm

If this really is from Consumer Reports it just goes to show how clueless these big brand publishers are when it comes to SEO/SEM. After 10-15 years of ignoring the internet only now are they starting to realize the error of their ways nad that SEs like Google are not going to give them preferential treatment in the SERPs. So in the end they're resorting to using every SEO/SEM trick they can think of regardless of how useless or archaic it maybe be.

Han Ko

05/07/2009 05:39 pm

My name is Han Ko and I'm the Director of Web Marketing at Consumer Reports. I’ve seen the discussion regarding the email that was sent to Mr. Bluejay and I would like to address those comments. We did send an email to him requesting a link but we had no intention of implying that we were offering reciprocal links. It is against our non-commercialization policy to offer any reciprocal links. This email is part of our marketing outreach program to generate traffic, awareness and links to our web site. We are a non-profit organization and our mission is to protect and inform the consumer. One of our most important policies is to not endorse any other companies since it may be perceived as not being unbiased and neutral. This policy prohibits taking advertisements in our publications as well as linking to other web sites unless it is in the content from our editorial department which is in support of our mission to inform the consumer. Since there may have been some confusion regarding the email, we will review this aspect of our outreach program and to see if we can eliminate any future misunderstandings. I have also posted the entire email below for reference. Thanks and please contact me with any questions. Kohan1 (at) consumer (dot) org =================================== <i>To Whom It May Concern:</i> <i>At Consumer Reports, we are constantly seeking sites that complement our own. Our ultimate goal is to help consumers by providing unbiased, expert product reviews and information.</i> <i>While browsing the web, we came across the Michael Blue Jay site, an excellent resource for users looking for information on saving energy and the efficiency of appliances. The practical information on the site including calculations for energy consumption of specific appliances, and the carbon footprint calculator make the site a valuable consumer resource. Specifically, the dryers section provides comparison calculations of gas versus electric dryers and recommendations on how to save energy and money when drying clothes. These resources help consumers make smarter choices.</i> <i>Consumer Reports also has information on clothes dryers: ( This section of our site includes a buying guide, information on types of dryers, features and brands, videos, access to forums, user reviews and blogs, and provides the opportunity to access unbiased ratings.</i> <i>If you think your visitors would find our clothes dryer information useful, please consider including a link to it from your site. Hopefully together we can help users find reliable information on dryers.</i> <i>Warmest regards, </i>


05/07/2009 08:12 pm

Personally, I wasn't confused - there is no offer of reciprocation here. I find it completely acceptable for any organization, no matter how large or by how much they are the leader in their market, to ask a for a link when appropriate. In fact, wouldn't most of the folks that read WMW and this site suggest that they should do so? and even blame them for failing if they didn't. One-way link building is perfectly fine and natural. Webmasters shouldn't expect some type of payback from every link request they get.

Jaan Kanellis

05/08/2009 08:17 pm

Han Ko makes sense to be. Why not ask people who like the site to link to it? With everyone and the brother having their own personal blog out there this type of move can only benefit your back link profile without pissing off Google. This is kinda of like asking for comps in a casino. Kinda of embarrassing to do so, but really feels good when it works.

cloth diapers

05/24/2011 05:17 am

Hi there. cant it that link exchange is a mutual benefit of the parties or the other gets abused?

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