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Paid Reviews Penalized by Google?  (View post)

stefan2904 [PersonRank 10]

Saturday, November 17, 2007
13 years ago5,558 views


Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

PageRank 0. I've heard about this before:

That means, paid links==spam for Google?

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

A search for [PageRank 0] shows this ad:

Page Rank Checker
Buying Reviews for links
is the newest way to build links!

landing page:

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

> A search for [PageRank 0] shows this ad:

So on the one hand Google is asking for people to report on paid links sellers, and on the other hand they accept the money from these paid links sellers and advertise them to their users via AdWords? I'm not sure if we should be happy about how Google seems to strictly separate the web spam and AdWords departments, or disappointed by hypocrisy of Google at large for both punishing and making money from the same industry (and I don't mean this rhetorical – I'm really not sure!).

Brett Bumeter [PersonRank 0]

13 years ago #

Google has penalized a number of primary source news sites as well.

It boils down to censorship, when an entire site is dropped by Google because of one article. If for example, a Forbes article is good enough to find and read in a search engine listing on a Monday, but not good enough to read on a Tuesday, because Google doesn't like the fact that Forbes receives some of their ad money from paid link ads, then in essence Google is censoring all Forbes articles(real example) or a number of bloggers sites and articles and hundreds of local news websites all around the country.

I do not trust Google to censor any of the information I read. Let the information come up as it will, and I will apply my own best judgement to the motivation of the authors, the publishers, the site owners and anyone else.

When I buy the Wall Street Journal from a news stand, I do not have to dig the newspaper out from below a pile of non-profit publications that do not have ads in order to find it. I know the WSJ takes ads, and I know that they have some bias in their reporting, writing and editorials.

If Google wants to censor what a person in China reads because the government tells them to censor a site, and if they want to censor what I read in the US because they do not want a website making money from sources other than Google, then its probably time for me to find a better search alternative.

I think Ask is probably going to be the next one for me.

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

These posts about PageRank drops are strange. Read the TechCrunch post from last month and check the PR for Engadget, Download Squad and other blogs mentioned there. ...

Mary Hellen [PersonRank 0]

13 years ago #

why not just use a site like to get traffic? quicker and you won't get screwed by page rank penalties.

A Different Anonymous Googler [PersonRank 0]

13 years ago #

Why do people think that AdSense has anything to do with this? There are zillions of advertising methods that don't affect PageRank (like Yahoo! Publisher Network and, yes, AdSense). Those ad systems have been around much longer than the ones that try to affect PageRank. No one has been penalized for using ad systems that don't affect PageRank.

You want to buy a link for purposes of getting actual clicks by actual users? Go ahead. You want to run Pay-Per-Post for purposes of affecting actual user opinion? Go ahead (though good luck with that if you actually disclose to readers that you were paid for your post).

But if that were really all you wanted, you wouldn't be bitching and moaning so loudly – so loudly! – about adding nofollow or otherwise making those links invisible to search engines. No, you also want to fool Google. You want to be able to pay to influence search engine organic rankings.

Until Google becomes AI-complete, it will be possible to fool it. But when we discover we've been fooled, don't expect us to smile sweetly and wait for you to fool us again.

John Honeck [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

This isn't new behavior at all by Google, their morality has been for sale for a while. Text-link-ads is so evil they cannot rank for their own domain name, yet adwords is happy to accept payment to put them a the top of the paid results spot. If Google was a least bit concerned over how they look (which they used to be, pre IPO) a penalized site would not be able to buy their way to the top of the page, but then again the shareholders don't care.

So if a quarter is running a bit behind in profits, slapping a penalty on a few thousand well financed sites should bring in some nice adwords spends. Do they do this? We'll never know, but it is possible because as it stands now a site can be banned from the search index, but is fine to show in paid results.

It's sad how money has corrupted a once honest system.

Anonymous Scardy Cat Googler ~ thanks but no thanks, if you don't have the sack to stand behind your name, I'm not even going to bother reading what you had to say.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #


Google AdWords guidelines: "Don't promote unacceptable webmaster techniques. ... Advertising is not permitted for the promotion of cloaking, keyword stuffing, search engine spamming, and doorway pages"*

According to Google, paid links are an unacceptable webmaster technique: "Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google's webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site's ranking in search results."**

But they are still advertising paid link sellers in their AdWords: ...

* ...

** ...

see ...

Andy Beard [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

Hi guys

I have been involved in this battle for almost a year.

All the reviews I have written I have had full editorial control of whether I link, and how I link

I have had full disclosure in the post and in the sidebar. My disclosure policy plugin is temporarily disabled, but that was there for additional in feed disclosure, and no posts have been appearing in a feed without it.

I have had paid reviews syndicated on SearchNewz and other places, linked to editorially, and on the front page of Sphinn, so it is not the quality of the content.

I have extended the olive branch months ago to Google. When Google requested people report paid links, I reported myself, with links to the paid reviews I had written, explaining my editorial policy and for Google to give me feedback as to whether I was doing anything wrong – they didn't take the opportunity to contact me back.

I use paid reviews as a form of open consultation – I can provide great content for my readers, good feedback to whatever I am reviewing often in reviews over 3000 words, yet I now have a -1 or -2 penalty

This isn't just text links and paid reviews, SEJ was hit, SERoundTable too, and one SEO I know was hit just for writing a review of Bidvertizer where he used nofollow.

One of Ted's programmers had his blog hit with a zero, yet he has never written a paid review on that blog. His only sin was mentioning the employer he works for.

Matt Cutts and other Googlers frequently link to Google without in post disclosure of their relationship when reviewing Google services, without nofollow on the links, and I am sure they are paid nicely and have stock options.

Microsoft bloggers even have an internal mailing list to coordinate blogging activities. It has been lauded by Scoble in the past.

Whilst you have covered this story much better than many of the technology outlets, there is a lot more depth your haven't really explored.

Veky [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Now, and again, and always: don't _ever_ code your web pages exclusively for search engines. The only way to stay happy.

Once you start using nofollow, you're just beginning a neverending journey of compromise. As Phillip said, it's expanding. In a few years, "paid links" will become "externally motivated links" (links motivated by anything Google can't control), and next step after that is obvious. :-P

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

I think this Google page counts as a Paid Review, and Google has AdSense on it, and there's not a nofollow on the link in the review: ...

There are many other similar pages.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Heh. Good catch Roger.

Stephan Locher [PersonRank 9]

13 years ago #

Now we have one possible reason why google stopped google answers instead of expanding it to europe...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Small update on the paid links front, I can now see, a PageRank 9 just some months ago (and then briefly at PR8, I think), at PR5. Aaron is selling non-nofollowed links on that page, so a paid links penalty is possible (though we can't be sure I guess, I mean he's probably also linking into some "bad neighborhoods" with those links).

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

On a side-note, is it a paid link when you acquire a website and then you get a link posted on it to your other site? E.g. links to these days, who acquired them...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago # points to the desperation that broke out in the Pay Per Post comments forum:

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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