Another thing I’ve caught up with (haven’t done much reading lately), John Scott has launched a new service for bloggers to make money (see Contextual Links) and he has (once again) stirred up chatter.
One thing John Scott does very, very well is stir up & create chatter ;). Kudos to him!
Although it isn’t my cup of tea here on SuperAff or on any of the blogs I run, I don’t have a problem with paid links in blog posts–as long as they’re identified as paid. John’s new service forbids it with a non-disclosure agreement:
Contextual Links @ V7N are undetectable to search engines. Whether it be by human or algorithmic filtering, our links are impossible to detect. Additionally, an enforced non-disclosure agreement prevents both publishers and advertisers from revealing participating publishers and advertisers.
I know full well why John has that in place. It comes down to: our links are impossible to detect. I think he’s onto something. As both an advertiser and blogger, it’s an ideal situation. But for the blogger’s reputation with readers? Not so sure. Aside from that, here’s what I’m not liking:
Do you own a blog? Blog publishers in the Contextual Links @ V7N Network make cash and get paid by PayPal for simply adding text links to their blog posts. Currently publishers make $10 per link.
IMO John cheaped out. Ten dollars for a permanent link within content, without surrounding ‘paid link or sponsored by‘ text or search bot detectable embedded tracking code, is taking advantage of bloggers. I’m sure many will line up in droves to participate, but I think John could have taken this right to the moon with an elite core group of good quality blogs and advertisers by adding another 0 to the end of that measly $10.
Anyone who knows what a good link or two can do for a site won’t even blink at dropping $100 or $200 for a permanently placed, within content link on a super juiced–and quality–site.
That could have been a *very enviable* setup, but not as it is IMO. Basically I see a stampede of run o’ the mill, lower on the totem pole blogs happy to participate and nothing above average.
The other part I have a problem with:
The publisher is contractually obligated to make a good faith effort to keep the link active on the website for as long as the web site exists.
What happens with bait & switch domains? If a blogger accepts $10 for permanent placement and the site they link to flips to a porn, gambling, satanic, racist, mortgage, pimp site–and the blogger only ok’d placement for Barbie Doll Shopping Mall, what then? Or if the site stays the same content, but loads up the sidebar with casino and blackjack links–and that paid blogger’s beliefs are against gambling–what then? Domain backfills with hundreds of low quality, thin affiliate pages–now what?
For $10? Not-worth-it.
What I do like, there seems to be some quality control in place:
Only high quality web sites are accepted into the V7 Contextual Links program. Our staff review publisher web sites for number of outbound links, types of outbound links, PageRank and search engine saturation. If a site is selling links to bad neighborhoods, we do not accept that web site into the program.
The bar may be a little lower for advertiser acceptance though (bolding mine):
We accept most non-adult sites. We will not accept any adult content sites, nor any sites that would impugn the integrity of our publishers.
What I’m liking overall: Search engines *surely* have to be getting the message to throttle down the importance of an inbound.