Wrong Reaction From Techcrunch On Paid Links?

I think this is one possibly for the water cooler on Sphinn, because I find it comical in a sad kind of way.

Ted Murphy rightly questions Google quite openly to explain why PPP bloggers are being punished for not using nofollow on links, yet many prominent bloggers post quite blatant pagerank passing links to their advertisers every chance they get.

Not only do they mention their advertisers in “Thanks To Our Advertisers” posts, but they also name drop them every chance they get as a form of disclosure.

As an example, almost every time PayPerPost was discussed on Techcrunch , either Text Link Ads or their ReviewMe service was also mentioned but rarely other services such as Sponsored Reviews who haven’t got the same advertising budget.

Buying advertising seems to generate a lot of goodwill.

If Techcrunch regard them as advertising, what reason would they have to not include a nofollow on the links? Advertising has very little if no editorial value.

I get a penalty because I sometimes spend 10 HOURS writing a review of a company for a measly $130, but then I also get other revenue, it is more additional compensation and a discount on what I could charge for consulting for having it public, much like you can get building work cheaper if it can be a show home.

All these advertisers have done is paid Techcrunch money.

The juice Techcrunch passes might be worth 100+ paid posts.

Why Such A Strong Reaction?

So today Duncan trys to defend Techcrunch stating that the links are disclosed and they are not distorting the trust with advertorial content.

That means Techcrunch are selling pagerank

It doesn’t take any time to post a list of 8 links to advertisers. Google’s issue is with PageRank passing links. It is nothing to do with disclosure.

Wouldn’t they like to see Google make a statement of exactly why “thanking your sponsors” kind of advertising links are OK, and PPP links are not?

No, because if Google closely examined Techcrunch in the same light as paid reviews, they would probably find that these “thanking the advertisers” links are distorting their rankings more than paid reviews from D list bloggers.

Techmeme – It Seems Techcrunch Have To Link To You To Be News

The news is actually 2 days old already, and Techmeme have only picked it up because Techcrunch linked to them.

This story was news 2 days ago. My post which included a link to PayPerPost has already been linked to by both Search Engine Land and Search Engine Round Table, two of the highest authorities on these kinds of issues, but it seems Techcrunch determines whether a story is newsworthy if it is related to search engine marketing.

There seems to be a core group of “news breakers” and if they don’t link to a story, it isn’t relevant to Techmeme.

The problem is that anything related to Google is technology news, and their primary focus is their search engine and things that have an effect on it.

It seems Techmeme place a very small weighting on search marketing blogs, despite them having more historical knowledge of Google than many of the tech bloggers, and thus can provide more detail and historical context.

I suppose I should be grateful to Techmeme for linking through to a syndicated copy of my original article on WebProNews, posted a day later than the original.

(note I don’t link through to legitimately syndicated copies of my articles because of duplicate content but I am grateful for all the articles they pick up)

This Isn’t A Pop At Techcrunch

This is really Google’s fault for their unclear guidelines that even has experts scratching their heads. I have had many renowned watchers of the search marketing space state that they don’t regard the few paid reviews I write as any kind of search engine spam, and that they have value. I have had them syndicated, linked to and achieve some success on social media sites such as Sphinn.

Want an example of a paid review? How about my WordPress SEO Masterclass

That is about as close to the line of search engine spam as I have gone, and that gets me a -1 or -2 penalty on my PageRank.

Duncan, seriously Techcrunch should be in the PPP camp on this one, as Techcrunch have been a supporter of Text Link Ads (or supported by) for some time.

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Comments

  1. says

    Cmon Andy, I’ve got more respect for you that to take this as your typical post, and I know you can do better.

    As I noted in the post I’ve had no major axe to grind previously with PPP, indeed although I don’t like the idea I fully understand why people sign up..heck, most bloggers who want to make an income are looking at their options and PPP would have been an attractive offer; if I hadn’t been quite as successful I would have used it myself, and I don’t resile from that fact.

    I can’t talk for the behind the scenes machinations of the TC advertiser shout outs…I simply write for the site and that has nothing to do with me, but really its disingenuous to point the finger at TechCrunch over what is a fairly common industry practice. Certainly in my past involvement in blog networks we did similar posts: it had nothing to do with gaming page rank but everything to do with thanking our sponsors: in trying to make out that it’s something that it isn’t makes you drop to the same level as the CEO of PPP, which I know you’re not at.

    As for the content being “old” I received a tip in my email pointing me to the post today (sat my time, Fri your time). I did notice that it was maybe a day old (by the post date) but I made the call that it was worth a post. If you had already posted on it, good for you, and my apologies that I didn’t see you post, you’re in my feed read but I was at a concert 24 hours ago. You know we do try to be first or close there abouts with most things, but you cant win them all. If my only crime is to be late to a story so be it, but it’s not quite as serious as you make out. Just a note I also read the other blogs you mention as well…again, I was offline for a block of time and when I came back it was catchup time and I flicked through a lot of stuff.

    Should TC be in PPP court? why? Are you suggesting that PPP is the same as TLA? sure, Google doesn’t like either but it’s made a call and PPP is the worse of the two. For the record though (and again, I don’t speak for TC, only myself) I’ve been in favor of TLA’s for a long time, and I’m still a TLA customer. I got punished along with everyone else in the last month. The bigger story should be why those 125×125 boxes that soooooo many sites (including TC) run are any different to Text Links. Both give page rank, the only difference is one is graphical. I think the crack down on Text Links is haphazard and unfair. If Google is so concerned about leaching PR it should be all or nothing…which I think you and I would agree on.

    • says

      Google are hitting all the paid links, this is not just PPP, but it is also manual.

      It is all PageRank Passing Links

      I certainly wasn’t having a dig at Techcrunch for missing the story, more that Techmeme seems to think that Google stories seem to have to be linked to by tech specific blogs rather than Google and search specific blogs to be worthwhile.

      I would look on a link from Search Engine Land to a story linking to PayPerPost as something their algorithms should be picking up.
      It shouldn’t require Techcrunch to link to PayPerPost for it to be news, because as you urge Michael, it gets a bit boring bashing them all the time.

      The thing is weeks ago sites were picked up for 125 x 125 that pass pagerank, or haven’t you looked at SEJ and SERoundTable both were PR7

      I kindly pointed out in a post a week or so back when Marshall was bashing PPP again that Read Write Web was also guilty of pagerank passing links in the side bar, and Richard popped by, thanked me politely in the comments, and immediately fixed the problem.

      Techcrunch when they first started thanking advertisiers, and they were among the first blogs to do so, at least wrote something describing each company to introduce them to their readers a little.

      The last list on Techcrunch was just a list of links – it was blatant.

      All bloggers are looking for is really clear guidelines.

      I insist on full editorial control on all links in my reviews, or even whether I link, but I gained a penalty for the javascript badge for PPP direct, which is just an enquiry form and payment processor.

      Ask yourself whether the Techcrunch links affect search results, and whether money changed hands for those links to be there.

      I am not a “Techcrunch basher” as such, I also link through to Techcrunch at other times when they have written about something I am writing about. We just cross swords a little over PPP plus the incident last week which maybe tainting this dialogue, but even that was PPP related because the discussion I wanted to read was between Mike and Dan, which I think would have been a cracker.

      You really got sidetracked this time on the disclosure and advertorial stuff, and missed the real problem, the links, but maybe on this Techcrunch should be siding with PPP, to defend their right to link to advertisers, just like Matt Cutts links to Google who pay his wages.

    • says

      Another point Duncan – you correctly noted that Google does seem to be grinding the axe harder against PPP than TLA.

      If we can stipulate that:

      1) The reason for both sets of penalties has been to thwart paid links.

      2) All paid links without nofollow are basically equal as far as their ability to manipulate Google’s search results

      …then what basis does Google really have to draw that distinction?

    • says

      I’ve been a customer of TLA as well as PPP. I guess that is why Google dropped my main site from a PR6 to a PR4. But so what? I think it’s funny that the only real ads on my main site are Google Adwords. Yet site was still dropped. Luckily pagerank means nothing for me and I’m finding that social media traffic far outweighs that from all of the search engines combined.
      I have a question for all of the SEO guys reading this.
      Why are you even using pagerank to make rates and sell rates in advertising? I’ve been diving into the topic big time for I admit a short time period compared to the rest of you. As a business owner I only advertised offline for a long time. But now I see it is ridiculous to advertise on a high pagerank site. All I care about is qualified traffic and people that are interested in my services. I won’t even mention my sites that I do business with here. It is not the one in the no-follow link in this post. That one is just for fun. I make nothing from it – even from the adwords. Everything is put back into the site.
      How about we all cut it already and just turn away? I understand what you said Andy about there not being another alternative to judge the quality of a blog or site as Google’s pagerank. I think they need to change the way they market pagerank to be a little more accurate, in light of their dropping sites for the hell of it or for daring to sell links as they do. As if how dare any company make money from links. I find that hilarious as do many of you.
      I though look at it as they do – they own pagerank and their search engine. If you don’t like it, leave. Check out ask.com, I do now almost daily and found it to be superior ( Oh my God, I said it!) to Google’s search engine.
      Let me ask you guys something.
      If an alternative existed but it was a bog company like Microsoft that had it, would you embrace it? Or is this all simply a gang up on Google exercise?
      How about if Wikipedia comes out with a better community driven search engine. Would you guys embrace it if you can’t profit off of manipulating the search engine rankings?
      I buy links now for traffic that can convert to sales. I’m finding people like Andy, whom I intend on hiring shortly with quite a few other social media people, do far better for sites than search engines.
      Just keep making friends, expanding your networks. Before you know it there will be another dominant system to attack and complain about. As long as you don’t rely on any one site, you will all be fine. If you do rely on only one site, then that site is your online God. Play by their rules and stop whining about it.
      One last thing, most people outside of SEO don’t even know about pagerank. I know that is hard to believe for so many of you. Businesses only learn about it from you guys. What if you guys stopped already with pagerank talk? Imagine focusing instead on what advertisers really want – ROI! That’s it. If i can get 20% more profit from a PR1 than a PR 8, what good is pagerank?
      How about this oath, stupid I know, but I’m one of those stupid business people who couldn’t care any less about PR.
      “I Swear that from this day on that i will not ever mention pagerank to a client or customer unless they bring it up first.” I’m willing to bet that with the rush of new advertisers such as myself and my companies, in no time flat pagerank will be a thing of the past or dropped by Google as no one would even know about it as most people that I know that do advertise on the net. They don’t know about it. It is as important to business as the Alexa rank is, no one (except you guys) have that toolbar so no one cares except you guys. My own web designer put that Alexa rank tool on my earthfrisk site. I keep forgetting to tell her to take it down. I’ll make a point to tell her tomorrow.
      Duncan – and mblair – let’s be real shall we. I have a PPP account and bloggers write what you ask them to write, in their words of course. So they are advertorials. No matter what anyone says. I’m not attacking that – I think it’s fine! I will continue to hire PPP and Smorty people and others. Just call a spade a spade and don’t be afraid. There is nothing wrong with buying and selling links. Your sites are your sites, stop kissing the rear-ends of anyone company.

      • says

        @Michael – Just wanted to clarify and say that PPP does have an option for a “neutral” review that can be positive or negative. I don’t know what percentages choose that of course. Plus, some handle it more like Andy does and only take reviews that are on their terms. I didn’t mean to imply I think advertorials are something Google should punish. Google shouldn’t even be in this business of making lists of who’s naughty and nice. Just stick to giving us relevant results when we search. In fact, if they could just classify the information and let the searchers decide what filters to use even better.

        What I think is funny about the whole thing is that they make PageRank and then they give themselves a 10. The epitome of quality. Is this a joke?

        One thing I want to bring up though in response to what you said — all of these attacks against visible PageRank may be only the first shot across the bow. Actual rankings may be next, a la John Chow. But unlike John Chow’s site, many sites are unfortunately dead in the water without qualified leads coming in from their Google traffic.

        I know you suggest that those sites quit whining and play by Google’s rules if they can’t take the heat, but I still think it is worth whining about.

    • says

      Duncan, I don’t think it is fair to construe all PPP/ReviewMe contracts as “advertorial”. According to American Heritage dictionary an advertorial is “an advertisement promoting the interests or opinions of a corporate sponsor, often presented in such a way as to resemble an editorial.”

      Many of these paid reviews are structured so they do not necessarily “promote the interests or opinions” of a sponsor but are structured in a manner similar to the way Andy has handled his — being paid for a real, editorial review. So, if you are sitting in Andy’s shoes, a PPP review can even be more trusted than a regular sponsor link in nature as a full review is going to likely be a more stringent review than an ordinary site sponsor would have.

  2. says

    Duncan,

    Surely you can’t be serious? Your sponsors pay you. You link to them. Those links pass on page rank. That is a paid link! They paid, you linked! Do you not get that? Do you think your sponsors sponsor in a vacuum, you’re the only site they’re paying? Of course you’re not the only site they are paying.

    Your sponsors are gaming Google just as much as any company who ever used a pay per post campaign. It is absolutely no different to what happens with pay per post, only you get paid a lot more than a Postie would.

    Either it is all gaming, or none of it is. You can’t have your cake and eat it too on this one.

    The bigger problem here is – Google are trying to drive competitors out of business. I don’t know what messed up laws they have in the US, but in Australia where I live, that kind of behaviour is against the trade practices act. Google is *already* being taken to court by the ACCC regarding sponsored links.

    Who knows who or what is next? The only thing any of us can do is stop using google, and try to convince others to do the same. We have NO power. They have ALL the power.

    Explain the difference between paid links and paid advertorials. If one advertiser paid for both, the links link to the same place, right? It is just that an advertorial (or review) contains actual CONTENT. Content is what we bloggers are supposed to create. Not just linking to people.

    How would you feel if a company you created was being treated the way Ted’s company is being treated? Honestly? Wouldn’t it suck? Don’t you see that ALL companies on the web could find themselves in this boat, if Google keep changing the rules and never tell anyone what those rules are? You know why they won’t come out and say what is going on? Because it is ILLEGAL in some places in the world – my country, possibly the EU. What they are doing is illegal, so they can’t admit to it.

    Snoskred

  3. says

    As I use subscribe to comments unless someone is a fairly frequent commenter the comments go through moderation, it is just the way Spam Karma is set up.
    I have to be careful if viagra spam gets through, I don’t want to sent it out to 100 email accounts on a popular post.

    If someone like Meg who comments frequently dropped by, the comment appears immediately.

    I don’t censor anything, hell Shoemoney a long time ago called me a f–king idiot and that still remains, and he has linked to me since.

  4. says

    Duncan, You came across to me as a snobbish prick with these words :

    I don’t like the idea I fully understand why people sign up..heck, most bloggers who want to make an income are looking at their options and PPP would have been an attractive offer; if I hadn’t been quite as successful I would have used it myself, and I don’t resile from that fact.

    But then, I am not surprise. Oh btw, Andy, I hope you don’t mind me butting in with an axe to grind. ‘Cos Duncan very skewed post about my country’s ads company still pissed me off, making my fellow countrymen looking damn cheap over a USD 33 cents fees.

    • says

      Lilian

      As you are officially the 2nd most obnoxious blogger in the world you are allowed to say what you like here.

      I know how much people are generally paid for many of the top flight blogs, and if there wasn’t such a stigma attached to paid posts of whatever quality, I know that it would take off and bloggers could charge much more, because their time is limited, especially if they write quality content.

    • says

      Cmon Andy, I’ve got more respect for you that to take this as your typical post, and I know you can do better.

      ^^^^^ I think that also sounds like a snobbish erm, whatever you want to call it. Andy can do better? How up yourself are you, Duncan?

      The issue here is simple. Either Google is doing something wrong – regardless of WHO they are doing it to whether it be posties or people who used text link ads or whatever, or Google is right and we should all stop advertising on our sites right now today.

    • says

      That was my thought exactly, a pompous snob. I write for PPP also, and I resent it when anyone tries to label me as one of the “the little people” in so many words. Oh well, as usual, it is all about GREED and POWER. Ugh!

      You know, it seems to me that the whole hoopla about the PayPerPost/Google PR Slapdown is that what PPP does works, and maybe Google is feeling the heat of competition just a bit. If we could just get that PPP RealRank going, I would be a happy camper.

    • Michael Lodispoto says

      So why point them out? Maybe they want to worship at the alter of Google as many here and elsewhere do. Why bring notice to them. Are they a competitor of your’s? Lets stop cutting each others throats and opt out of the throat slicing of fellow sites. Google just hasn’t had that Dept. get to them yet.

  5. says

    For the record I have a blog that has never had any kind of advertising on it, the first post of which is dated January 4, 2005, that got smacked down to zero. I don’t think it’s all to do with PPP.

    I’d also like to say that I agree with Lilian. Duncan says this in one of his posts (wherein he is decrying Blog World Expo for a negative post done about him):

    some in the blogging community become very self obsessed and self important when at the end of the day there is much more in the world

    But never fails to remind the little guy, like myself, how successful he is. He was quoted extensively in the MSM, for pete’s sake! Why do we, the ones that sell ourselves (morality and opinions) for a mere pittance, not give the man his due respect? /sarcasm

    I have no use for TC or Duncan after reading their opinions of people like me. I don’t care one little bit how successful or well linked they are. When it comes down to it, they too are subject to the whims of Google and advertisers. So they can just stuff it.

    I apologize, Andy, for my harsh tone. I’m just taken aback by the attitudes of some (who sell their PR) toward the lesser of us simply because of the difference of several of dollar amounts. My very morality is questioned by Duncan and his benefactor just for getting paid for my opinion? Gah! There’s something really dirty about that.

  6. says

    Not to completely change the subject, but it seems it’s bloggers affiliated with PPP and other competitors that are being targeted. Yet from the wording on Izea’s site and elsewhere, bloggers that deal with their advertisers directly when providing sponsored posts/reviews (without a middleman) don’t seem to be in any immediate danger. It’s only when you disclose any affiliation with PPP that you’re at risk. Strange.

    Personally, I think when things like this happens, the market simply adapts and life goes on, which is why I think SocialSpark will succeed in the long run. The problem is for advertisers and publishers who want to maintain the status quo, their marketplace will be driven underground, which is the worst thing Google could have ever caused to happen.

    Rather than creating so much bitter feelings and ill-will with all this cloak and dagger silliness, Google could have chosen to contact PPP and say, “Look, how about we work together to establish some guidelines that we can all be happy with?” It could have led to an industry standard that could easily have been understood and observed by all.

    So can’t we all just get along???!?! :-)

  7. says

    Lincoln,

    Google already know all the publishers, and advertisers that PPP have on board. Because as you would have guessed, Google Analytics is all over the PPP site.

    The more you think about it, it is kind of silly to use an analytics package from a company who is penalizing all the publishers and advertisers within your network.

  8. says

    The real problem here is that Google has decided that they are the ones who should have editorial control of blogs.
    In reality, the reader really has no idea if a link is nofollow or not. The editorial choice should be left up to the blogger if they feel the link is good for their reputation.
    Just like Andy here decides whether to link or not in a review. Just like Techcrunch should feel safe linking to anyone that they feel comfortable linking their reputation to.
    The search engines decided when they introduced nofollow that they had the right to tell us what to link to. Perhaps the rest of us did not really understand what they were doing then? Or, maybe they did not want us to know what they were planning?
    It seems Google that Google is saying any commercial site should only get it’s traffic by paid advertising (Adwords and all the other forms of advertising Google has been buying up everywhere).
    Yes, Techcrunch should be on the same side as PPP. You are both wanting the same thing. The right to decide yourself if you should link or not.

  9. says

    We saw page rank drops on several sites we run – not just blogs. These sites weren’t selling anything (advertising, page rank, links) nothing… I think it was more just a general drop across the board – than it was to some specific sites – then again I could be wrong…

  10. says

    “There seems to be a core group of “news breakers” and if they don’t link to a story, it isn’t relevant to Techmeme.”

    Techmeme’s creator is up-front that that’s how it works. I call it “serving the A-list”.

  11. says

    I read another point of view on the issue of the PR drop and the causes (unfortunately I can’t remember the link to it), but it went something like this:

    Google need to drop pagerank values across the board. They need to do this because every site passes pagerank. Although google may factor this in to their algo, sites have been popping up at a very quick rate, which inevitably leads to a scaling downwards of PR vales, to account for the “extra” PR that is passed by all those new sites.

    Larger, more prominent sites were hit first. The repercussions are now being felt by the smaller guys, because of the way PR works (people try to get links on higher PR sites to increase their own ranking). And finally, it was suggested that the TLA incident is a good excuse for making this adjustment.

    Now I don’t necesarily subscribe to this view, I just enjoyed the fact that someone took a different approach to analysing it. All anyone is doing here is speculating after all.

    I do agree with James on the point of editorial control though – trying to induce such control, whether it can be justified or not, can only harm the web in the long run. Such forms of control go against what users of the web want. The right to choose.

    Edit: also wanted to point out that the blogging community itself needs to shoulder some of the blame for buying so much into the PageRank concept (literally). It’s why I’m also skeptical about RealRank, as it could just end up with similar results, if we all keep concentrating on a single value that sums up a blog’s worth.

    • says

      Simon I am a prime example of how any such theories as to be honest complete and utter bovine manure. At least you didn’t agree with it.

      I wouldn’t class this blog as exponential growth, but I have been growing enough steady backlinks in an increasing matter to at least of retained a PR5 compared to the rest of the internet.

      Obviously it is easiest just to publish a couple of popular WordPress themes to give yourself a massive pagerank boost, but people using that tactic frequently get kicked out of Technorati which is a shame.

  12. says

    I didn’t comment on its worthiness as a theory on purpose. But for all the different theories out there, they all assume one thing, that PageRank should still be important to bloggers.

    In the age of ever growing social media, could we not start to make the case that PR is in fact only important to bloggers because bloggers choose to make it so? (as opposed to PR being necessary for success were it not seen as the be-all and end-all)

    For years now, much of the value and worth of blogs has been based on that ranking system, but the blogosphere has grown dramatically, and is now part of a huge social media network. There is no need to base everything on PageRank anymore, I believe. And once enough people reach that conclusion, a change in PR will no longer be seen as carnage.

  13. says

    Used to be a TC regular but no longer visit them after their regular attacks on PPP (and thus indirectly on us). I have no time for all these guys who claim the high moral ground because they are not posties because of blah blah blah.

    It actually gives me some satisfaction seeing them on the defensive now.

  14. says

    initially, when google whipped out the chainsaw, i was scared.

    but looking at the bigger picture here lads, i think google are actually chainsawing themselves along with us..

    if pagerank is now heavily modified and ‘paid link’/ad free, then there ain’t gonna be many sites who can rank highly in it and any sites that do rank highly, won’t be able to sell links – rendering PR useless only to SERPS perhaps.

    if SERPS rely on PR, then many sites/blogs will not be listed and google as search engine will become useless to us and it’s not returning what we want.

    so google may have snookered themselves with this move and that’s why i’m secretly happy :-)

  15. says

    very confusing,
    so whenever you do paid post your rank goes down?
    I thought it was the advertisers rank that was affected
    hopefully my blog Lame News will go un-noticed by the PR-Nazis (i’ve only done 2 paid posts so far, anyway)

  16. says

    I’d like to say to Snoskred that saying someone is “Gaming Google” like it is a bad thing is sort of missing the point.

    Google is acting like the recording industry association right now. There is something wrong with their model, not with what bloggers are doing. If I learn that I can get more business by getting more hits from Google if bloggers link to me, then why not pay bloggers to link to me? I’m not doing anything wrong, unethical, or immoral.

    If google decides they don’t like those results, they should change their algorithm. Lowering peoples page rank is punishing customers for googles mistakes.

  17. says

    Advice – not sure quite what to call you. ;) But this is in response to what you said.

    Guess whose fault it is that anyone can “game” google at all? Hmm.. let me think for a minute. Google?

    I completely agree with what you are saying about how they are acting. There is something wrong with their model. They have forgotten that they are a search engine – they have become the Link Police!

    Any good search engine should reflect the actual state of the internet. If you search for something, you should be able to find what is out there. It may not be what you are looking for, but it is what exists.

    Google should be fighting the content stealers and the scrapers, not bloggers and webmasters who are creating real content. Those are the people they should be targeting to remove from their directory. Is the reason they do not do that because the majority of those scraper type blogs are using Adsense? Well right there they have a conflict of interest, don’t they!

    If Google doesn’t want people to be able to earn money via page rank, they could simply hide the page ranks OF EVERYONE. They could come out and say Ok, we’ve had enough of people using Page Rank for earning money, and we’re removing it from all sites effective immediately.

    That’s not what they’ve done. Instead they have embarked on a campaign of insanity!

    Check my blog later today because I have written something on this topic that I’m quite excited about posting. ;)

  18. Donkey Odie says

    Snoskre wrote:

    “If Google doesn’t want people to be able to earn money via page rank, they could simply hide the page ranks OF EVERYONE. They could come out and say Ok, we’ve had enough of people using Page Rank for earning money, and we’re removing it from all sites effective immediately.”

    This thing has monopoly and anti-trust written all over it. Of course they’d prefer not to remove PR altogether, cause they want people having any tools possible to sell more google ads, and they are trying to eliminate competition through their monopoly position as the rater, stat collector, ad market, etc.

    I’m actually surprised that when I search on Yahoo for “anti-trust practices”, that despite there being 5 million search returns, there isn’t a sponsored link pointing to Google, Yahoo-bombing them with the most appropriate terms.

    I’ve heard stories like Lizzie’s above, and others who had sites that had never used paid ads or paid links, but still got PR whacked just for talking about an advertising competitor to Google. That’s creepy stuff.

    The other thing that bugs the hell out of me, is that some bloggers worked hard to build up a good blog, and received a good PR rank, THEN they attracted sponsors, then they got whacked. So, the earned the PR ‘legitimately’ under google’s rules, but then they are penalized for what they had already earned. The paid links didn’t give them more PR, they already had that. It makes no sense, other than Google wanting to chase other advertisers from our blogs.

    Any word if this has gotten to the feds investigating the DoubleClick purchase?

    The phrase “Google does Evil” resonates more every day.

  19. says

    Think there maybe 2 sets rules on paid links depending upon who the website is … many large press outfits sell links and seem to have little effect on PR whereas Mr average with blog trying to earn a $ is punished. Maybe just me but I think the double standard relates to fact that certain media maybe able to be more damaging to Googles Reputation … the monopoly power of google is becoming scary in my eyes. Just my thoughts

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  1. [...] My One-Woman, Ban Google Crusade – Beth was ahead of her time on this one, she posted it on October the 24th. It’s not just one woman anymore Beth, because I’m right there with you. Google Boycott – This from the PayPerPost forums where a Google Boycott is being planned. Is Google Treating All Bloggers Equally… Oh, really? Forget PageRank, show off your Link Wealth Wrong Reaction From Techcrunch On Paid Links? [...]

  2. [...] Andy Beard seems to have taken exception to that post. His central idea is that Google doesn’t give a squat about confusing readers, Google’s only care is (and should be) about confusing spiders and it’s pagerank algorithm by passing link juice for money. That is, since so much web importance is given to the presence of links, paying for links distorts the accuracy of the algorithm – the links aren’t there because they are important, they’re there because of money. Spiders no likey. [...]