Earlier this month, a number of influential travel bloggers received an email from an as-yet unnamed “SEO Manager” for Hotels.com’s Americas division. The poorly-written email was sent from a Hotels.com email address, and claimed that the SEO Manager had been reading the bloggers’ posts. The sender went on to ask if the recipients would be interested in some “brand promotion for our hotels.” So far, so good, right? Unfortunately (for Hotels.com), the phrasing of the email soon to a detour into black-hat territory. The sender, who until the end of the email had been asking for hotel reviews or “more neutral content, such as ‘Brought to you by Hotels.com,’” then gave the game away by explicitly asking how much the bloggers wanted to be paid for helping Hotels.com acquire backlinks: “If you agree with partnering with us on helping us acquire backlinks, I would like to discuss a package or how you wanted to compensated to perform this assignment.” Predictably, Hotels.com was quick to distance itself from the shady machinations of the SEO Manager calling it an “internal misunderstanding.” Get the full story at the WordStream blog