13 May 2023
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by Yuval Halevi
You Took My People’s Money, So I’ll Claim Your Company’s Backlinks: The Pursuit to Reclaim the Links FTX Left Behind
In November 2022, FTX, a leading crypto exchange, faced bankruptcy as a result of a liquidity crisis tied to its token, FTT. The crisis began when Binance, a rival exchange, sold all its FTT tokens following an article that exposed Alameda Research, an affiliate of FTX, as holding a significant amount of FTT. As FTX sought a bailout from venture capitalists and later Binance, the token’s value crashed, ultimately leading to FTX’s collapse. Binance initially agreed to buy FTX’s non-U.S. business but eventually walked away from the acquisition after conducting due diligence. In the aftermath, FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and its CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, stepped down.
Driven by curiosity, I created this article to gauge the reaction of the crypto community. GuerrillaBuzz, deeply involved in the crypto sphere, never worked with FTX or invested in its token. However, we know many who did, and their collapse felt personal.
As a crypto marketing and PR agency, we pondered what we could do. That’s when inspiration struck: FTX still possessed something valuable—backlinks.
Think of backlinks as symbols of trust. When other domains link to your content, it showcases their confidence in its value. The more reputable the domain linking to your content, the stronger the backlink. For example, a link from the New York Times has more worth than a link from a new website. FTX has numerous backlinks connected to its site. Most of them were created when other domains trusted FTX. What if I could reach out to those sites and convince them to link to a new article I wrote instead? It might be a small gesture, but it could bring a sense of satisfaction as a subtle act of retribution.
Reclaiming FTX’s Backlinks: A Creative Approach
Upon considering reclaiming FTX’s backlinks, I faced two main dilemmas:
- How can I get other sites to link to GuerrillaBuzz instead of FTX on a large scale?
- How can the links be in the right context to avoid Google penalties?
How can I get other sites to link to GuerrillaBuzz instead of FTX on a large scale?
Obtaining links from other sites is not an easy task. Webmasters are often preoccupied with numerous other responsibilities, and convincing them to change a link in their articles from FTX to GuerrillaBuzz could be a hassle, especially without offering an incentive. Relying on their goodwill might not be effective on a large scale.
To address this, I will craft (once reaching 10+ sites) a document featuring all the sites that backed this initiative, providing them with publicity. This incentive encouraged webmasters to collaborate, as the positive exposure could enhance their image and reputation. Furthermore, we will mention participating sites on Twitter and include our custom hashtag, #FTXLinkHeist, to amplify their recognition.
How can the links be in the right context to avoid Google penalties?
Replacing a link from FTX’s homepage to GuerrillaBuzz’s homepage is potentially a bad move. Search engines might view it as abuse and penalize my site for suddenly acquiring numerous backlinks that don’t make sense. When someone clicks on an anchor text that says “FTX,” they don’t expect to land on our homepage.
To solve it, we crafted an in-depth overview article about FTX.
By changing the anchor text from the FTX domain (which is now an inactive site) to my article, the context made sense, and the link felt natural.
The Link Update Process
The illustrations below show the strategy I took to ensure every site that has changed the link from FTX site to GuerrillaBuzz keeps linking to informative resources around the anchor text. At the same time, they get positive exposure on the way.
- Identify websites linking to FTX with relevant context:
2. Outreach to these sites, tell them about our project, and ask them to switch links:
First, I examined all the websites linking to the FTX homepage using anchor texts, such as “FTX” or similar phrases like “FTX Exchange.”
Next, I reached out to some of these websites, informing them about my project and inviting them to participate by linking to our FTX article on GuerrillaBuzz.
To make it even more simple, I created a form where companies can let us know when they changed their link from FTX to our article:
Growth Hacks for Quick and Effective Link Acquisition
- Connect with journalists: Over the years, GuerrillaBuzz has established strong relationships with numerous journalists. We can leverage these connections and reach out to those who are interested in community-driven initiatives.
- Network strategically on LinkedIn: By connecting with key individuals from the websites we wish to gain links from, we increase the likelihood that they will recognize our name when we launch the project. This familiarity can greatly enhance our outreach effectiveness.
- Engage with crypto communities: Communities are the lifeblood of the crypto ecosystem. By creating threads on various subreddits, Bitcointalk, and other platforms, we can generate the initial momentum needed to kickstart this challenge.
- Utilize Twitter for engagement: By tagging sites that link to us on Twitter and sending them direct messages, we can gauge their interest in tweeting our article to their followers. This not only increases our reach but also fosters stronger relationships with these sites.
Next Steps and Future Plans
In the near future, our focus will be on securing as many FTX-pointing links as possible. We will prioritize links from authoritative sites in the finance, crypto, and business niches due to their significant impact. Stay tuned for updates on our progress in this exciting endeavor.