This week, I got an email from the SEO coordinator at Alaska Airlines:
My name is Shawn with Alaska Airlines. I'm reaching out concerning a specific link on blog.braverman.org. As you may have heard, Alaska Airlines acquired Virgin America last year. We are in the process of updating all Virgin America links to go directly to our website, https://www.alaskaair.com.
We want to make sure your readers are being sent to the correct place!
We would really appreciate it if you could update the link and anchor text, Virgin America, on this page: http://blog.braverman.org/2009/09/default to:https://www.alaskaair.com and Alaska Airlines.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
If you're not the appropriate person to contact about this, can you put me in contact with the right person?
(The actual post he meant me to change is here.)
See, Alaska took over Virgin America, and now they want to scrub the Internet of all references to the old airline. I politely told Shawn that, no, I was not about to change a 9-year-old blog post to send Virgin down the memory hole.
He replied that he understood, but could I just change the URL to point to Alaska Air at least?
No, Shawn. I'm not editing the post, full stop. It reflects the state of the world in 2009, and to me, it's a document that needs to remain unaltered.
I'm sure the SEO coordinator of an airline believes that it's a doubleplusgood thing to help people who may inadvertently discover a blog post from 2009 not get misdirected. But the whole thing really creeped me out. Alaska or one of its vendors had to go through every one of the over 6,500 posts I've written looking for references to Virgin America, and then Shawn had to field my response to his (no doubt automated) email request. That's a lot of effort to pretend Virgin America never existed.
Did I mention Virgin America Airlines? Just making sure.