Earlier today we received a warning from Amazon that our site would be taken down in the next 24 hours if we didn’t respond to a copyright infringement accusation within 24 hours.
The claim was made by the site AFRICAGEMS.COM, and they claimed that this forum post infringed on their DMCA rights. In this post, the words “looks cute” link to their site.
Below is the response I wrote to Amazon. We sincerely need help trying to understand how we can deal with these constant threats. I’m going to be trying to find someone at Google to speak with, but if anyone out there has any ideas, I would greatly appreciate it.
To give you background on this, during Google’s recent change in terms of service, they began penalizing companies who had too many links to their site from sources such as forums and blogs. Those links were typically created by spammers leaving comments and posts specifically to increase that site’s number of incoming links, and thus it’s Google ranking. Google realized the system was getting gamed and began penalizing companies. As a result of this change, our site, which has a forum that was initially setup over a decade ago under a different URL, has been getting a rash of emails asking us to find and remove links that these companies paid someone to create in the past.
Put simply, we are being threatened because these sites paid someone to place links all across the internet, and our staff of moderators – who are all volunteers – missed some of these spammers posts.
As a small non-profit dedicated to science and education, we simply don’t have time to find and remove every random link unless we are sent a URL to a specific page that has the spam, and in cases like this, where the link appears to be part of a legitimate conversation, we simply don’t remove the links.
Is there anything you can do to help us deal with these attacks? Can you please put a note in our account that we run forums and do not have DMCA issues, but rather our dealing with a rash of companies who hired spammers now attacking us because some of those spammers links didn’t get caught by our moderators?
Your help is sincerely appreciated!
Dr. Pamela L. Gay
Assistant Research Professor
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville