Answers.com Answerlinks Plugin – How Much Are Those Links Worth?

WordPress.com owners Automattic, working in conjunction with Answers.com and former WordPress core developer Alex King have just released a new plugin which allows WordPress.com users, and WordPress.org users to easily link to topics and definitions on Answers.com.

There are literally hundreds of such plugins for linking to various Wikis and shopping sites, but for some strange reason those haven’t been included on WordPress.com

Users on WordPress.com aren’t really very SEO savvy and thus are most likely to be “link happy” and of course with the plugin being so convenient, they are more likely to link to Answers.com now than rival sites.

A deal such as this if you were a link broker would be a 7 or even 8 figure deal – especially if there was some level of exclusivity.

If Automattic are being paid for including the plugin, surely they should let their user base know that they are receiving compensation for the links.

Whilst such links are being provided editorially by bloggers, the plugin is like doing the decorating, and then giving a baby a box of crayons to play with.

I am sure they would like the option to nofollow the links, after all much of the material sourced from Wikipedia is user generated content.

If I was an investor in Automattic, and they didn’t receive significant financial compensation, I would be extremely upset. Not only for the lost income, but also the lost leverage and link equity.

If Answers.com were ever in the market to buy WordPress.com, the value to them is vastly reduced. They already have the link juice.

For a competitor to Answers looking for link juice, the value is also vastly reduced, because they will be sharing links, and it would be very hard to tell users…. “Sorry, you can’t link to Answers now, you have to link to XYZ instead”

At a guess, this might knock at least 50% off the value of WordPress.com – it is like damaged merchandise, deflowered.

Then of course Automattic are so against webspam, they wouldn’t dream of handing a stick of dynamite to a baby along with a box of matches and of course they would do it out of the goodness of their heart.

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Comments

  1. says

    @Chris
    Lol, I happen to know that “other famous Matt” (not the other way though) too – but I would doubt he would have a say here – nobody mentioned about Automattic actually getting paid – I wonder if they will at all disclose it, I’m sure they would have been compensated, they can’t be that much off of their rocker!

  2. says

    From a marketing point of view it is a stroke of pure genius on the part of answers.com. If worried about it the answer would be to get a high profile link happy plugin for say blogclue (that’d be me there), technorati, wikipedia, etc etc to rebalance the “market” before a monopoly is established.

    On that topic I think we could easily do the same to Google niche by niche and will be blogging about it soon.

  3. says

    I don’t think the motives behind this inclusion were entirely driven by monetary gains but I do agree that there should be some sort of disclosure if there was some $$ involved.

    It would be a much more effective plugin (I think) if it worked like Kontera ads and just used some javascript to show a pop-up with summary info and a link to read more.

    On top of that, what about rewarding blog owners for using the script? Seeems like Answers.com has everything to gain from this.

  4. says

    What a coup by Answers.com — this is going to result in big $$$ in ad impressions from the traffic alone driven by the legions of WordPress.com bloggers, let along the indirect value of the links themselves.

    There had to be cash on the table — I’d have to think that Wikipedia would have been a more natural and less controversial choice here.

  5. says

    Andy – Has Matt or Automattic commented on the financial aspect of the deal or provided on the exclusivity? If finances aren’t disclosed, it calls into question the ethics of a blogging giant — don’t you think?

  6. says

    Interesting, and if they got in there for free a major major coup!

    I recently ‘answer tip’ enabled my single blog pages

    http://www.answers.com/topic/answertips

    Purely to see what it did and how it worked.

    The idea is that a user double clicks a word and gets a definition . The problem with it of course is that most people dont know it’s there and without going mad and splattering the post with their answers brand or putting in big letters FIND THE MEANING OF A WORD DOUBLE CLICK TO SEE IT somewhere prominent the likelihood is that most won’t.

    It does make you wonder why in the context of the deal you mentioned, they just didn’t offer this option instead… um, let me see if I can figure out why not..;)

  7. Amish Furniture says

    Common sense tells me that there must have been some monetary consideration involved. It will come out eventually. In the meanwhile, I intend doing what I have always been doing, not being SEO savy.

  8. says

    First, an aside. The text link labeled “No nofollow, Dofollo” here in the comment area is broken. It contains a second ‘http://’ bit which beaks the link.

    If finances aren’t disclosed, it calls into question the ethics of a blogging giant — don’t you think?

    Automattic’s ethics have been called into question a number of times recently. They’ll just do what they have done in the past and ignore the issue and delete any reference to it on any of the sites that they control. Matt is known for deleting any comments from the wp.com blog, the wp.com support forums and his own blog that he doesn’t agree with.

  9. says

    Good spot and good post however I really doubt WordPress will loose anything near 50% of its value!

    Gosh. We can tell what you think of WordPress :) It’s a great big link landscape for you :)

  10. says

    Andy, I’m waiting for your hacked version of the plugin (it’s GPL) with nofollow added to the links. :) I’d do it, but I’m not high profile enough to make a splash…

  11. NY SEO says

    I second that, if no one comes up with a hacked version I might have to.

    I wish they thought of this sooner, because I used to buy text links from Answers.com, but it appears they might not be selling them like that anymore.

    what a shame, those text links would be really valuable right now

    Anyway, I always saw them as a site which was loosing ground and real estate, since they did not leverage their percentage of the search results in the past. It is nice to see them do something right, for a change.

    And they do not really provide that much added value either. Mostly just a few extra related links under & info, on top of content they aggregate from other sites.

    That pretty much fits the definition of scraping to me.

  12. says

    Interesting, especially when you consider Answer.com’s public announcement about how they got penalized in Google just 2 or 3 months ago. I think MC is going to be writing an extra plugin for the search engine to add negative weighting to all those links :) Now, will WordPress be penalized for selling links??!!

  13. Kissing Bandit says

    Over on WordPress Wank’s blog (which lead me here), I mentioned in the comments that WP.com and Answers.com probably signed a non-disclosure agreement. Sure enough, Wank updated the comments to reflect it.

    …here is a spokesman for Answers.com saying “I really can’t confirm or deny”.

    As for hacking the plugin to add rel=”nofollow” links, there’s just one problem — even if you’re a blogger big enough to make a splash — and it’s called user share.

    WP.com has a large share of users who will use the plugin and they will undoubtedly use their own version of the plugin which does not contain the rel=”nofollow” attribute.

    Also, it will be highly unlikely that Matt/Automattic will allow the plugin into the official WP.org repository.

    Frankly, instructions and an option for adding the rel=”nofollow” attribute should have been standard, but that wouldn’t have been smart marketing, now would it?

    Just something to think about.

    -KB

  14. Kissing Bandit says

    Hi Andy, just wanted to let you know that one of my comments may have been eaten by Akismet. It was rather long, but only contained one link back to WordPress Wank.

    Would appreciate it if you could fish it out for me. Or, if it’s gone forever, let me know and I’ll e-mail it to you.

    -KB

  15. says

    I personally find it annoying when there is one or two words linked in a paragraph if it not relevant to the author. It detracts from the relevance of the authors writings.

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