Google Blogoscoped

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Is Dell Buying Text Links?

Is computer seller Dell buying text links ads, those non-nofollowed paid links which also happen to go against the Google webmaster guidelines? For instance, the following bit can be seen on the PageRank 6

The respective HTML for this portion (I added a line break and omitted some lines):

<h5>Sponsorship Friends</h5>
<a href="">
        business servers</a>

Similar non-nofollowed links with the keyword "server" or related phrasings can be seen in the ad sections of other sites, including,, and (at least these always look like ad sections, though they're often undisclosed under headings like "Unrelated", "Featured" or "Recommended"). The Yahoo site explorer lists more, as Yv, who pointed this out in the forum, explains.

The other ad links surrounding the Dell link point to a variety of things, often unrelated to the site showing the ad, like "Alcohol Rehab Programs", "Web Hosting", "New Cars", "Flash Memory", "Free Games", "Online Sweepstakes", "Wholesale Cell Phones" and so on. Here's another example, this one from

However, by itself that's no proof yet that Dell is buying these links; anyone could point to in a paid links section of course, like someone who'd want to maliciously hurt Dell's image or ranking. Currently, Dell's PageRank 6 servers page ranks in near the top of result page #2 for the keyword "servers" in Google when I try it (but results may vary for others); there's also Dell AdWords showing for that search.

[Thanks Yv!]


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