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Help needed: A company is threatening us to 'rank us down' on Google: what do to?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Grover, Aug 4, 2014.

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  1. Grover

    Grover Well-Known Member

    Hello fellow webmasters,

    Although I am in the webmaster position on my forum platform, I am basically not a very technical person :).

    So, I come here for help on the following situation:

    On our health support forum there are many discussions about certain health-companies and so several links to their websites are posted by our members in many discussions.

    Now, one of these companies is demanding from us that we 'add a no-follow' to all the links that our members have made to their company website.

    Not only do I have no clue how to put a no-follow instruction inside the forum code to these specific links (and I am not wanting/willing to monitor this every-time a member posts a link to this company on our site!), but why should I grant such a request in the first place?

    Well... one reason would be, because this company is now threatening us to contact Google if we do not follow their request. They will request Google for a 'disallow' concerning our forum. I have no idea what that means.

    They are claiming that 'Google after the Pinguin update, takes these disallow request very serious and that multiple disallow requests can result in negative ranking for your forum'.

    Can somebody please advise me what to do in this situation? Thanks a lot, much appreciated.
  2. RoldanLT

    RoldanLT Well-Known Member

    All external links are default no-follow on XenForo.
    Alfa1 likes this.
  3. Arty

    Arty Well-Known Member

    Their threats are empty and all their claims are total nonsense. Probably their webmaster knows about tech stuff even less than you do.

    You can ignore it.
    BassMan, D.O.A. and Alfa1 like this.
  4. Falken

    Falken Member

    :) You can safely ignore it. The chances are they paid a black hat SEO company to post links on your site, Google probably picked up on it and they're worried about being de-listed. Although it is fairly underhand to try and scare you into doing it. In order to disavow the links they need to display that they've made an effort to have them removed hence the email.
  5. Ridemonkey

    Ridemonkey Well-Known Member

    I get threats about the "disavow" function all the time - one of Google's employees, in a public Hangout, said:

    They are not using the disavow function against the site who owns the link. It can ONLY be used to affect the ranking of the site being linked to.

    Unless they're actual spam, I have a "canned" response for take down requests stating that it is legitimate user-generated content and we don't moderate on behalf of third parties.
    karll and FredC like this.
  6. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Well-Known Member

    They have probably been hit by the penguin update badly and are trying to fix it without having a clue.
    They mean disavow, not disallow.
    As said, you already have no-follow on all external links. They do not know what they are talking about.
    They can disavow all they want. This does not affect you.
  7. Grover

    Grover Well-Known Member

    I am using vBulletin 3.8.x. at the moment. Does anybody know if these external links on vB are also 'no-follow'? Apparently not, because otherwise this company I am now confronted with would not complain?

    And thanks a lot for all your feedback, it is really helping me to feel at ease with all this. Much appreciated!
  8. Lisa

    Lisa Well-Known Member

    Wouldn't it make more sense to ask that over on vB?
  9. Grover

    Grover Well-Known Member

    Yes, it would. I already did that ofcourse, but the answer of their support representative was not clear on this. Hence why I refer to it here, since I did not make it clear I was not running Xenforo on the particular board this concerns.
  10. ibnesayeed

    ibnesayeed Well-Known Member

    First of all, XenForo has no-follow attribute set for all the links posted non-staff members in all messages. But I am unable to understand the situation, isn't it good for those companies that they are getting a share of PageRank from your site. Why would they lose anything if an outside site is giving some PageRank to their site by pointing to their site?
  11. Grover

    Grover Well-Known Member

    As explained above I am running vBulletin 3.8.8 (beta4) on this specific board. I will contact vB support again to find out if the external links are no-follow on vB 3.8.8. Apart from that, the discussion above is still helpful in any case.
  12. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Well-Known Member

    vb3 does not have no-follow for external links and there is no way to do so. It would need an addon created.
    So you can not meet this demand even if you wanted to.
    You can always tell them that your software does not support no-follow and that migration to new software requires funds. If they are really serious about it then they will consider to sponsor your migration to XF.
    ForestForTrees and Kintaro like this.
  13. wedgar

    wedgar Well-Known Member

    Not familiar with the above term? Would you explain it please?

    Thank you!
  14. ENF

    ENF Well-Known Member

    Lazy Reply: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nofollow

    This function is already built-in to XenForo for external links going off-site.
    wedgar likes this.
  15. wedgar

    wedgar Well-Known Member

  16. Fufu

    Fufu Well-Known Member

    All this time @Grover, you have not converted your boards?

    I am surprised!
  17. z3r010

    z3r010 Member

    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
  18. Grover

    Grover Well-Known Member

    I am not, because unfortunately for a lot of vB 3.8 owners, Xenforo still does not offer User Albums and User Blogs. These are 2 essential functions on our vB 3.8 board and since XF does not offer them at all, we simply can not switch to Xenforo. Xenforo offers so much else for us wanting to switch as soon as possible, but we are stuck. Wouldn't it generate considerably more switchers friom vB to XF if Xenforo would offer these 2 functions? One of the keys of XF's success is it's emphasizes on the social aspect. User Albums play a big role in this area, you just have to look at Facebook. It's quite surprising that XF still does not offer this out of the box, like all the other major competitors in the forum world do.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
  19. thumped

    thumped Well-Known Member

    sounds familiar

    here is my story

  20. Ridemonkey

    Ridemonkey Well-Known Member

    Xen Media Gallery offers user albums and a direct importer from vBulletin.
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