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.