Google Blogoscoped

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

DomainTools’ Paid Links

Google recently revived their domain information onebox. Enter e.g. whois to find a special link referring you to domain info from But, as found out, DomainTools is selling ads on their site which use a non-"nofollowed” anchor link wrapped around image ads, with the link pointing to e.g. a sub-page and the alt text reading e.g. “Cheap VPS Hosting”. And this may well be against Google’s own webmaster guidelines, which disallow such paid links unless they come with a “human readable disclosure” (like the “nofollow" value for links).

However, this may also just be a simple mishap and not necessarily bad intention on DomainTools’ side, or the advertiser’s side. For one thing, many text link ad schemes don’t use image content, and they also don’t often use target URLs like “”, as that may dillute the goal of gaining PageRank. Or reversely put, it looks like this kind of ad spot may be sold for a similar pricing – currently at $10,000/ month – even if DomainTools would add that nofollow value in their template. Especially now they’re in such close neighborhood to Google (though I might be wrong).

In any case, this still looks like something DomainTools may want to fix, and Google would have an interest too in them fixing it... as it would be quite weird if Google would need to ban a site in organic results and then pick it as preferred onebox target above the same organic results.

[Thanks Beussery!]

Update: DomainTools now fixed their collision with Google’s webmaster guidelines by adjusting the HTML; instead of direct links, ads are now channeled through a /go/ redirect on their server, and their robots.txt disallows Googlebot indexing that directory. [Thanks Matt Cutts!]


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!