So I'll make a final pass through some reactions I've seen since last night and then go back to my regularly scheduled random blogging until this trial runs its course (roughly two weeks from now) and the Lemur Auction begins...
Philipp Lenssen of Google Blogscoped weighs in on Paid Links Evil?
Over on SEO Scoop, Matt is being pressed for details:
If Matt or Google would simply be slightly less Googlish (vague) and more clear in what they mean, they could probably stop all the arguments immediately. So what is it Matt? Does Zawodny's site deserve to be penalized for selling links? Will you do so?
Of course, it's the wrong forum for getting a policy answer like that. (Hint: my blog is an equally wrong forum for that.)
Over on SiteReference, there's a Purchasing Links for Pagerank post that goes into many of the issues brought up here. Of particular note is this:
Of course, you might want to make sure that you don't get in trouble for buying links, even if your intention is completely innocent. Although Google has gotten better at determining what links are purchased and what links are natural, they still can not determine a person's intent. To keep yourself safe, always request that the person you are buying the link from adds the “nofollow” attribute. This will protect both you and them from getting penalized.
That leads to a question. Do any of the popular link brokers recommend this to their publishers? I haven't done an exhaustive survey of their sites, but I've yet to see one that includes a nofollow recommendation in their publisher documentation. Might one expect them to at least drop in a footnote?
Finally, I received a private email which said the following:
As a personal user, I want to thank you for being bold enough to make the moves you've made with sponsored links. Experimenting is important.
I was thinking just the other day---mainly thinking about the Protestant Reformation; it's what I get as a Methodist for being friends with lots of Presbyterians who idolize Calvin and Luther---that those who are often the biggest defenders of orthodoxy must live in the conundrum of loving and praising those who were, in and of themselves, unorthodox. After all, you don't build a new orthodoxy or restore and old one without being outside the bounds of the present orthodoxy!
It's refreshing to see that there are folks out there who actually get what I'm doing. I thought it was pretty clear when I wrote this:
It's one thing to hear about this stuff second hand (or from the folks on either end with a vested interest in "selling" their idea to publishers), but it's quite different to become a participant in the system. I've experimented with AdSense an YPN in various forms. I've tried paid job listings (never worked out, which is a story for another day). I've used Amazon.com's affiliate program. I've even tried AdWords. And each time along the way it's been a useful exercise. Sometimes it works well, other times not. My success rate has been rather mixed so far.
But people have a way of reading only what they want to read. And my success continues to be mixed, but that doesn't mean I should just walk away, does it?
Let me close with a final question. How do you know none of my other links were paid? Is Amazon.com paying me via their affiliate program for linking to one of their product pages when I say something nice about a product I like? Does that help their rank, their brand, and their sales? They are text links without nofollow.
Posted by jzawodn at December 14, 2005 10:20 AM