As you may have heard, last week, many SEOs, including Dan Petrovic, Steve Webb and George Zlatin received extortion emails from an alleged SEO claiming they will perform negative SEO on their site if they do not pay up $1,500.
The email starts off reading, "This is an extortion email." Then it goes on to explain they will perform tactics called negative SEO to negatively impact the site's performance in Google, possibly leading to the site being deindexed by Google.
Here is a copy of the email, if you have not seen it yet:
Read this email very carefully.
This is an extortion email.
We will do NEGATIVE SEO to your website by giving it 20,000 XRumer forum profile backlinks (permanent & mostly dofollow) pointing directly to your website and hence your website will get penalised & knocked off the Google’s Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) forever, if you do not pay us $1,500.00 (payable by Western Union).
This is no false claim or a hoax, download the following Notepad file containing 20,000 XRumer forum profile backlinks pointing to http://www.negativeseo.cn.pn/ (this is our website and go and see on this website, you will find our email address email@example.com from which this email right now is being sent to you) :
Just reply to this email to let us know if you will pay just $1,500.00 or not for us to refrain or not from ruining your precious website & business permanently. Also if you ignore this email and do not reply to this email within the next 24-48 hours, then we will go ahead and build 20,000 XRumer forum profile backlinks pointing directly to your website.
We are awaiting your wise decision.
I sent these notices to Google last week and they responded saying:
(1) They have investigated the claims
(2) They are "unclear how credible this threat really is"
(3) That "you can also choose to use the disavow tool" - so make sure to keep an eye on your new links report.
(4) That you should "report extortion to law enforcement" - although I am not sure how much that would do.
(5) Also report it if it is via Gmail to https://support.google.com/mail/contact/abuse
That being said, I wonder how many are worried about these random negative SEO extortion threats? We've seen them before, we reported them back in January. Many feel negative SEO works and that it is way easier now.
Forum discussion at Twitter.