Paid Links, Discussion Links & Google Law

There’s something that’s been bugging me lately. So much of the net community seems to embrace without question Google Law and allow Google to decide who, what, where and how we link to other websites.

So much of Google’s algo depends on links. Who is linking to a website, what the anchor text of those links say, where the link is positioned on the page and what page the link is pointing to.

Google depends on links to help it figure out what’s relevant, what’s valuable, and what isn’t. Google has chosen to wrap itself around the power of the link. Good luck with that.

But what happens when you get a bunch of people online who have full control of their own conversations, where they link to, what they say in those links, how they’re linking and why they link?

It can skew Goog’s algo. Skew and screw.

I was a bit miffed recently at a post over at Threadwatch:

How Fucking Dumb Can an A List Blogger Be?

…It targets bloggers, who are apparently so stupid that they need someone to look out for them. And those people looking out for them are so stupid that they are directly linking at the scammy unethical site.


It seems to me that one could just about launch a network and virtually guarantee its success banking on link popularity from stupid evangelical white hat bloggers linking at it. All you have to do is piss one of them off. The ditto heads will follow along.

Is this where we’re heading now? Publicly calling out ‘stupid‘ and naming and shaming ‘ditto heads‘ all because of who, what, how and where they’re linking to?

I have a problem with that.

For one thing I do feel that the net and a big part of why we’re all here is communication, conversation and sharing.

I have all kinds of discussions in the offline world. I talk about stuff I like. Stuff that bugs me. Stuff that impresses me. Stuff that mortifies me. When I have conversations, I don’t find myself censoring the source of the topic if it’s something I don’t agree with.

The ‘he who shall not be named’ game is not part of my reality.

I’m curious as to why it’s so accepted and even expected online? Because withholding links does hold back or censor the conversation. Where did this ‘censor thy links you ditto head’ mindset come from and why are so many happy and willing to do it?

Today I was reading a post over at Revenews that had a quote from Matt Cutts’s blog:

Selling Links & Google

Q: “If one were to offer to sell space on their site (or consider purchasing it on another), would it be a good idea to offer to add a NOFOLLOW tag so to generate the traffic from the advertisement, but not have the appearance of artificial PR manipulation through purchasing of links?”
A: Yes, if you sell links, you should mark them with the nofollow tag. Not doing so can affect your reputation in Google.

This isn’t news to me, Google’s been pointedly making this clear for some time now. But I got irritated again.

Why does Google get to step in and say: “This is how you’re going to link. This is how you’re going to work with your advertisers. Or else.”

I have an affiliate site that I’ve been thinking about adding paid links to. It’s starting to take off nicely in Yahoo! and MSN (remember I can’t manipulate Google very well in the SERPs) as well as other traffic sources. I think it’s a fairly decent resource for the eyeballs stopping by.

Currently I only link to sites that have affiliate programs that I can earn commissions from. I’d like to make the site a bigger resource for my visitors by adding more online merchants to the pages.

If I do that though, I’ll lose money from linking to those sites because they’d be competing with the ones that I earn commissions from. And is it fair for those merchants that are willing to partner with me and compensate me through their affiliate program to compete against those who don’t pay a penny?

Perfect solution: Offer paid links.

The paid advertisers would get a spot on my pages. They’d get highly targeted and motivated shoppers. Instead of earning commissions, I’d earn ad dollars.

Win Win for both of us and it’s a Win for my visitors too since they’ll have more selection.

But here’s the thing. If I did that, I’d have to snap tight a ‘nofollow’ tag on those paid advertiser links to make the self-appointed Google god a happy camper.


  • The links would be legitimate resources for my visitors.
  • Very targeted to the content.

So the Google Law dictates that if I accept advertising dollars, I have to tag a ‘do not trust’ link warning sign on my paid advertisers links. I don’t know about you, but that just reaks wrong on so many levels to me.

Another solution would be to add Google Adsense. Let Google have a hand in the published ad content on my websites. Let Google decide what advertisers are displayed. And for how much. And Google will decide with its magical math how much I’ll earn per click.

That would please the Google god.

But here’s an earth shattering revelation:

I don’t want to work with Google.

I want to be in full control of what’s displayed on my pages, who I’m sending traffic to, keep my stats private, and set my own prices.

What a conundrum aint it. If I accept paid links and provide a wealthier resource for my visitors, but refuse to slap a ‘do not trust’ on my advertisers–I’ll suffer the wrath of the Goog.

To me it’s a no brainer. Screw That Jack. I don’t depend on Google for money, they don’t determine my success or non-success online, and they have zero say in what I’m doing online.

I’m going to move ahead, take control of my own ad space, provide my own advertising opportunities, and link freely and well to those who advertise with me.

What surprises me is that there are so many smart smart people on the web who are more inclined to happily and vocally toe the google line as if Google is the Holy Answer for ever and ever to earning money and success online so they don’t want to mess with it.

Good Luck With That.


I've been trying to find my way online for more years than I care to admit.

2 thoughts to “Paid Links, Discussion Links & Google Law”

  1. Good on ya, Terry! Go get ’em! 🙂

    I agree that the whole “link control” thing is going too far. On my websites I decide what links I use, and if somebody else (including Google) doesn’t like it, that’s just too damned bad.

  2. lol Wil!

    Well it’s pretty easy for me to say ‘screw that’ when it comes to Google–especially since there’s really nothing in it for me to ‘follow their rules’.

    I’m not risking a bunch of Google traffic since I’m not getting much to begin with ;). There’s just no incentive for me to follow the Google Way and allow them to be the ‘boss’ of my sites lol.

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