• http://www.feedthebot.com feedthebot

    Matt only said basically this –

    Hey? do you wanna report paid links? Here is how.

    I do not think Matt has said anything new here and most of the fervor surrounding his latest post do not seem to recognize this. He said nothing new about paid links whatsoever, he simply provided a way to report them, he also said that it would help Google test some things.

    I bet everyone complaining about this are rapidly reporting their competitors as we speak.

    I love it, makes me giggle.

  • http://www.rentvine.com/blog/ Dave Dugdale

    I am the small guy in my industry surrounded by giants that can afford to pay $10k a month or much more on paid links.

    So when I hear Matt Cutts talk on this issue, I can’t help myself by using this issue to help level the playing field.

    I wrote about this issue on my blog and I am having a dog fight within the comments with a top competitor:

  • http://www.linux-girl.com Asia

    “Matt only said basically this –
    Hey? do you wanna report paid links? Here is how.”

    Matt also went into the FTC’s ruling on Paid Links, which might have been his next or preceding post to the paid links article.

    This whole debate on paid links, should not be a battle between Google and the SEO/SEM community. It is the FTC who decides the rules, and it is Google’s responsibility to follow those rules in this case, Google is also protecting you, the blogger. Payola a ruling by the FCC, and from what I’m gathering, the FTC’s ruling may have a similar affect on websites and bloggers.

    The best form of internet advertising, at least the form of advertising that has received my attention, is “paid to blog”, Danny has mentioned text link ads several times above, but it doesn’t entice me to use them. However, if Danny posted that he was asked to blog about this service and he puts his seal of approval on it, I would be on it like yesterday. Graywolf is the reason I use crazy egg, his blog was honest, “I was paid to review this product and I am happy with it…” whenever someone asks me why I use it, I say Graywolf said it was awesome and he was right. He didn’t mislead me, nor did he attempt to hide the fact that it was a paid review. The honesty was there and so I pay the money to utilize it, he was right and has earned my trust – although I no longer read him, cause his spam rules suck on comments.

    This form of blog advertorial will attract users, if the source is credible, and the source is honest about their experience. That is what Google is aiming for, a decision I will not battle. Because in my experience it works best this way, because there is accountability and credibility. I drink coke over pepsi, because my family earns money when I drink coke. No better advertising than credibility and trust.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    Danny, you should well recall that it wasn’t Google that introduced the link economy to the Web, but rather Inktomi. When we discovered that getting more links from sites in Inktomi’s main index helped new sites survive the monthly purge, links took on a whole new value.

    Where Google altered the scheme — and the primary reason for why they are struggling to catch up to the spammers — is that Google allows links to pass anchor text. It is the anchor text, NOT the PageRank, that is drastically improving people’s search results.

    Google may very well filter out most of the remaining paid links this year that haven’t yet been caught by their filters. But the incentive to monetize anchor text will remain just as strong and innovation will drive people toward newer, more efficient models.

    With each sweeping change, Google makes the situation even more difficult for itself.

  • http://searchengineland.com Danny Sullivan

    Inktomi did not introduce the link economy, sorry. I mean, if you want to argue that, then we’d better go back to Infoseek which made use of link analysis more — and before — Inktomi. And yeah, they used it to pass anchor text. That’s why Disney used to show up at Infoseek for porn terms (porn sites saying to visit Disney if you were underage).

    Google created it because Google came out, grabbed links, put them out front and center as core to its ranking strategy. Then it rolled out a toolbar that gave each page a PageRank score visible to the world. Sadly, people fixated on the PageRank scores rather than understanding the context — the anchor text — was much more important. But that PageRank meter especially fueled the buying and selling of links.

  • http://www.luckylester.com Lucky Lester

    Perhaps it is time to quit relying upon link popularity for rankings altogether as it is too easily manipulated regardless of whether the links are paid for or not.

    With that said, I should think that if someone was willing to spend large amounts of money buying text links for certain words, they had best be offering something related to those words if they hoped to convert those searches into sales.

    If a porn site bought links for the words “Hasbro Barbie”, they would receive a lot of traffic from people looking for children’s toys and not adult related content, a total waste of money in terms of signing people up for their wares. Further, it would be extremely easy for a search engine to investigate that site and quickly remove it from the index for a host of better reasons other than purchasing links.

    The bottom line here folks is this… this is a problem that Google created for themselves and has no easy way to remedy other than to foist it upon us and label it as our responsibility. The truth be told here is this – as long as we collectively keep Google on the marketing pedestal we all put it on, their problem will continue to be our responsibility.

  • http://www.seo4fun.com/blog/ Halfdeck

    “I’m pretty tired of the entire “let’s police paid links” thing”

    On the one hand, people complain about spam in search results, while on the other hand, spammers complain when Google tries to combat spam.

    You can’t have it both ways.

  • http://www.feedthebot.com feedthebot


  • http://andybeard.eu/2007/04/google-paidlinks.html AndyBeard

    I submitted my own paid reviews as webspam using Matts form, asking for specific reasons why those links should be labelled as nofollow.

    The biggest problems for me, and which I discussed?

    1. It is not a level playing field – Amazon can pay millions for IMDB, and have live links to products. That is a hell of a lot of cheap link equity, relatively speaking.

    2. All communication on this issue comes from Matt’s blog, or at conferences. Even at conferences Google tends to dance around the issues.
    On Matts blog he is hiding behind a disclaimer

    Matt shouldn’t even touch on the FTC issue regarding this. Most of the companies dealing with paid linking have much clearer disclosure than Google allow for their referral units, and better disclosure than 99% of bloggers practice themselves, including Matt.

    p.s. you are missing out on some great blogsearch ranking analysis

  • http://hauntingthunder.wordpress.com/ Neuro

    “FTC who decides the rules” in america that is :-) quite how it would play in the uk is interesting.

    maybe danny should ask the ASA for a comment

  • http://www.weboptimist.com WebOptimist

    I’m for Google ditching the little green Page Rank bar in their toolbar. Google gave it to us and, as is always the case when people are involved, it’s being used for reasons they don’t like – selling ads they’d rather see running in AdSense.


    Clients tend to be too fixated on the stupid thing anyway.