7 Reasons Google’s Paid Link Snitch Plan Sucks

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Matt Cutts blogged that Google would like you, the average search engine user, to report on sites you feel are displaying links for cash. This created a firestorm of negative responses from the SEO, webmaster, and free speech crowd. Below, I put together what I feel are the top 7 reasons Google’s paid link snitch plan sucks. I linked to my inspirations (No payment requested!).

7 Reasons Google's Paid Link Snitch Plan Sucks
Worried About Google’s Link Snitch Program?

1. Links are valuable because of the Page Rank display in the Google Toolbar. Matt, if Google doesn’t like the way paid links influence search results, then eliminate the scoreboard. It’s hard to take your call-to-action seriously when you have the power to grind serious link buying to a halt all by yourself.

If people had to guess a page rank, most of their motivation for buying links would go away. Of course, Google won’t eliminate the green bar because that is the number one reason the Google search engine is at the top of most web browsers.

2. Most people that post on Digg, or add articles to Wikipedia, or work as editors at DMOZ also send paid link reports to Google to benefit themselves in some way. My point: Anyone taking the time to send complaints to Google about a paid link that hurts no one and may even be relevant, probably has unseen motivations.

One of the problems is that there is no other motivation I can see to report a paid link than to help Google out. It’s not like paid links irritate the end user like poor search results do. Therefore, the detection these reports offer will be of no value to Google.

3. It’s impossible to define a paid link exactly. Paying cash is obviously what you meant, but is that any different than a link to a client or to a buddy who helped you submit your site to 1,000 free web directories?

If I’m right with that assumption, then it’s really about determining motivation. Humans cannot determine motivations any better than the Google algorithm. It’s a virtual coin toss!

4. Payment can be proven only by following the money trail. Otherwise, it is simply a case of ‘he said, she said.’ This creates a heavy burden on Google to be correct in their assumptions.

5. Marketing Pilgrim’s Andy Beal asks: "What business does Google have in dictating the disclosure of any business relationships on others?"

Google, you are just a search engine. You should be reacting to the internet world, not trying to recreate it in your own image. Links are not evil and payment for links is not evil. The Web is based on links, link-trading and advertising, which of course is payment for links.

6. The hypocrisy of being in the business of selling links and then asking others not to sell them is a bit much for many webmasters.

7. Is this just a way to create more spending for Google AdWords? Stopping the selling of links will make AdWords one of the last ways to generate traffic from Google. If the link police can slow this to a crawl, then what will businesses do?

They’ll buy AdWords!

7 Reasons Google’s Paid Link Snitch Plan Sucks
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  • MJM

    Your article is right on the money. How many more clues are we waiting for to see what Google does for what it is. Google is building an internet world order with Google as the master, the judge, and the executioner. They need to know all, own all, control all while they don’t owe any information to anyone except perhaps the chinese government. live.com, yahoo.com, we need you.

    • Jack

      Google’s Adwords links are paid links.
      Who is Matt Cutt’s trying to fool.
      What a scam.

      • Roger

        Google have so outstayed their welcome. No one out of 6 billion people can make a better search engine? Come on.

    • http://www.wtf-is-this.com Ronnie

      Google is trying to kill a small business webmasters selling paid links.

      adwords = paid links

      so we should report Google first to Google itself ? hehe

      How Do Google face webmasters if all webmasters help their own fall down rules ?

      Google announce that all webmasters should put this little script to help them kill their very own business paid links model

      this is the script and all webmasters must follow Google ;

      User-agent: Googlebot
      Disallow: /

      User-agent: Googlebot-Mobile
      Disallow: /

      and Google will pay every single webmaster
      to change this back to ALLOW to help then keep us with paid links business

      this is the only reason Google exists and they finally convinced that they must kill themselves by killing the business model they have .

      Finally Google is the king of DO no EVIL cause they are trying to KILL the EVIL itself GOOGLE …

    • http://www.wtf-is-this.com Ronnie

      internet explorer 7 release default it to Google search box please – to kill Microsoft the owner of IE7

      default Google search box in firefox to kill microsoft on search market

      report all paid link except Google adwords and adsense – to kill webmasters small business

      Download the Google Gear API and ask developers to help Google kill Microsoft business

      Make the instant search of Microsoft disappear so that Google desktop search can take over it

      Please US Government help us insert Google search box please

      Always complain MONOPOLY or anti-trust to MICROSOFT please and dont look at us because we are a DO NO EVIL company

      Let our Google bot indexed your content for free but we will kill your paid link business cause we want to monopolize this business model with double click

      Please follow our new internet order or else we will ban your website and make you out of business in 2 days

      DO NO EVIL please except for GOOGLE

      wow , finally .. i thought i was the only one noticed how GOOD GOOGLE is in DOING Evil and crying like a baby when Microsoft moves.

      IS Google really a microsoft killer ? we now realized that BILL GATES down played Google as its main competitor and IBM really is.

      Go … ogle … Go away .. EGO LOG … EGGLO … GE … LOG

  • T Michael

    Does google management not realize that paying to snitch on pay per link (other than paying google, they are a pay per link) is equivalent to extortion. If google drops a site (and google will cover there tracks on dropped site) because it has paid for a link, google is no better than a mobster. I have found that over the years google has become non-business consumer friendly. Just like when they say that there are no fraud clicks with google. While I am not God, I truely believe Karma will catch up to them. Maybe only internet karma, but Karma all the same.

    • Anne Haynes

      “Acquiring DoubleClick expands Google

  • cimmeron

    How will this effectively help the SERPs be more relevant? If paid links are BAD, think about all the free directories that are loaded with spam. Any old hoohaw can add a link to their site. Those won’t be nofollow but the paid ones, the ones where people ACTUALLY want to advertise a real site will? This is absolutely crazy.

  • Cindy Dykstra

    Sounds kinda EVIL to me, but I guess evil is a relative term!

  • malcolm davis

    There have been many times I have searched for info on a product only to get paid links on the first couple of pages returned by Google. I don’t even get the product’s homepage.

    When this happens, I automatically say NO to the product. In reality, paid links hurts the product.

    Paid links should go away……

    • Jose Luis

      “Paid links should go away……”
      I agree. When i make a search i want to see relevant results and not “paid” results.

      • Drew

        I agree. Google was suppose to be about better search results not just who can afford to “buy” better results.

        Paying for links is buying something that a good site should get naturally.

      • http://sofaclassics.co.uk Balazs Balint

        You are very naiv if you think that anything else can rule the businesses (and SERP) then money. You will always see the companies on the  SERP, who has the most money to spend for SEO. And this is OK. If I’m running a business well, I’ll have a comperative advantage so I can spend on quality content, link building and so on.

        There is only one result of this- some years ago online business was considered to be cheap to start- in fact the entrance limits are went up qiute high, so it is not cheap- you have to pay for the good idea, good concept, good content, and LINKS- in some way.

    • http://sofaclassics.co.uk Balazs Balint

      Becuase what you write seems a little bit strange…

      On the other hand it is really problematic to define paid links- as many of the links is the mapping of a normal offline business relation- for exmaple if I’m a reseller then it is quite natural to get links from the suppliers. Is this a paid  link?

      On the other hand "organic" link popularity somehow can be a good measure of the quality of the content- but what about not-content orianted websites- for example webshops? In fact a webshop cannot get too much inbound links. Why would anybody link to a webshop- except unsatisfied custermers blogging about the shop? So the situation is exactly the opponent: content oriented sites will get inbound links if their content is interesting, so their stuff is doing well, e-commerce sites will get many inbound links if they are doing wrong.

      Otherwise Google seems to be absolutely aware of this problem- and hopefully Google Product search will solve this- as the link popularity for a product is not so (or not at all?) important.

      But of course I hate dictating monopolies:)

  • Martin


    Try that – and you’ll be surprised how nice some sites are – and also how many of them really just have 2 lines of information and then there was supposed to be googlicious ads around it.

    What’s my point? – Users already have an option to block out advertising – in the form of adblock plus and similar programs – which really, really make the internet a nice place again, now, if google should do something – they should advertise for this – eventhough it would completely ruin their revenue and income everywhere.

    And yes, I advertise for adblock on my website, since I want to ruin google and the usual boring advertising companies which has made the internet look like a spamsite and not information site

    It seems to me that as soon as business comes to something – it gets ruined. Like blogs, myspace and soon to come youtube ,wikipedia and stumbleupon.

    That were my comments on your article, good luck, have fun and enjoy advertising free internet!

  • Dave Dalton

    Couldn’t agree more with your article! I think it’s about time Google started worrying about all the blatant spam coming up in the first 3 pages of a search and stop worrying about some poor slob just trying to build a little traffic and PR!

    It’s bad enough that just about ANY search in Google these days gives you the old ‘buy this on eBay’ nonsense (I just love ‘buy dog poop on eBay’) along with 15 or 20 results that are so obviously spam but now they want to (again) hurt the little guy that’s buys a link or two in an effort to attempt to level the playing field.

    Come on Google … you want to do something to help make your searches more effective? How about you start with fixing the existing problems instead of trying to hire an army of snitches!

  • Diggernot

    This is just dumb. There are so many ways this won’t work and yet one more equilibrium that must be met. I can see it now – anyone that has a competitor that gets this will be out tattling on his neighbor again.

    Then there are of course those sites that are wrongfully judged vs. those that do it but are never caught. Google already has their hands full and problems with these so I seriously doubt they need yet one more way to screw with websites that are just out there selling what they can and where.

    Paid in cash? How about paid for in bartered advertising, link back, or just beer? How about those companies that sell web software and put a link back to their own site into the code? How about WMW where you have to pay to join, but then you can link to your site?

  • jamin

    as a noob, I’m sort of lost in this article –
    are paid links affiliate marketing links (the kind that spam webpages and blogs)? or are they links where a webmaster buys a link on someone elses site? If it’s relevent, and it’s a money-making model, than why is that bad?

    • Dan Hanosh

      There’s a farther reaching issue building . . . It has to do with a free market, if there is such a thing. Money has always bought power, position. What if the search engines allowed just paid links?

      Numbers would be non-existent for the small guy and would be the catapult for another way than the search engine . . . And maybe that has to happen anyway. One company can be bought by the highest bidder and so goes the market place . . . And I think you know where I’m going with this, an independent search engine, built free and untainted by $$$.

      Dan Hanosh
      Dreams Are Yours to Share

  • Ami_iss

    A listing in the Yahoo! directory costs $299. I believe there is a fair correlation between high rank in Google and Yahoo directory listings, but I do not know if there is a direct causal connections. There are other such paid directories, so banning paid links would not fix that problem. What is the difference between a Yahoo directory link and a paid link at another site? I might be wrong, but it seems to me that there is none.

    The other odious idea is that people are encouraged to inform on others.


    • Dwayne

      We should report every link on Yahoo for what they are, paid links. Next a lot of the Pac Bell phone books also have website links for their clients, which of cource are paid links.
      etc. etc. etc.

      Maybe after Google gets a few million ligitamate paid links reported they will see that this really isn’t such a great idea.

  • Greg

    How much more of this can we take. Google’s paid links are out of control. Now they are hiding even better paid results (ADS to the highest bidder) and organic results. Actions are much louder than words Matt Cutts. Sooner or later the other search engines will learn like Google to give us relevant results not who the heck can pay your corporate conglamorate the highest BRIBE.

    • Jim

      what exactly are google’s paid links? Adwords?

    • Craig

      “paid results . . . organic results”

      I think you might be thinking of Yahoo, no?

      If what you say is true than some of my competitors are getting screwed because they advertise using Adsense whereas I don’t yet I consistently show up higher in the SERPs than they do for just about every single keyword/phrase I’ve come across.

      Maybe they should ask for their money back?

  • John Colascione

    Here is a link:

    Now how sure are you that I did not pay for the link to be there?

    Somewhat Sure?
    Really Sure?
    Almost Positive?

    So what happens if I strategically place a sitewide footer link to one of my top competitors and report them for buying links. Can I effectively ZAP their link passing juice. Will it effect their “trust” passing influence?

    Hmm, a relatively simple, effective and clever tactic to negitivelly effect someone elses business…

    Now I wouldn’t do it, but many will if this is the recipe we are creating here.

    • Google=Monopoly

      I have a site where google sells links on my site:


      Google sells links on my site actually (brokers) links. If a guy wants traffic he buys links from Google.

      For Google to say that this SAME PRACTICE is not legitimate EXCEPT by Google is total hypocracy. They suck. They are taking over the internet and can take your site to no-mans land in a second, arbitrarily.

      In any other business venue this would not be legal for a business to arbitrarily influence another like Google does. There must be an anti-google that works with more fair and open dealing.

      Like googles ads, back to their selling links. How much profit do they get? They don’t disclose that. Oh, really. I wonder why the publishers share keeps shrinking but click costs are rising.. hmmm. Not only do they arbitrarily affect your ability to do business, but they give themselves an arbitrary raise, anytime. It’s time for disclosure for google, time for fairness, time to respond to webmasters questions and problems. Who the F#*k do they think they are. Like they have taken over the internet totally, screw matt and google too.

    • Craig

      A single link on a single site? Impossible to know and anyway, what effect is a single link going to have in the larger scheme of things?

      A dozen links on a dozen different sites? Still difficult to tell but again, still not that important either way from a PR point of view?

      A hundred links on a hundred different sites? Getting easier to tell.

      Thousand of links? Positive.

      The devil is in the details.

  • Chris

    you mention the “average” user . . are you sure?
    Matt has targeted this comment at people who are specifically interested in SEO/SEM – not exactly your average user?
    For example, how many people know that they can complain about MFA sites? by clicking on the ads by google link.

    Google is asking people “in the know” to make a positive contribution to ensuring that the “average user” does not get swamped by MFA sites and scraped directories when they search for home insurance, shopping, and holidays!
    Think about it folks . . how pleased are you when you search for something and just get the crap sites that can afford to pay for traffic from any means?

    • James burns


  • sandy

    “6. The hypocrisy of being in the business of selling links and then asking others not to sell them is a bit much..” Period.

    I am so glad bigger SEO players are waking up to google getting out of control.

    They use OUR web sites as the basis of their entire business model, and then tell us we can’t make money when they’ve made billions.

    Not to mention creating search algorithms, and then penalizing us for using them!

    They’ve destroyed me and I’m just one little ol’ grandma in the middle of nowhere. No idea what I did to make the google gods mad, but after ten years of a minimal income from a travel web site, I’m bankrupt.

    Wake up while you’ve got the chance!

  • James Burns

    You said, that no one likes this idea, were we reading the same blog?

    • Rich Ord

      James — Matt has 303 comments on his blog so far and by far most comments are not in favor of this snitch plan. Maybe you are not looking at the right post . Here is the link again.



      Rich Ord CEO, iEntry, Inc. Publisher of WebProNews

      • James Burns

        I looked at it again, and I didn’t take the time to tally, but it looks about neck in neck. Besides, something needs to be done, this may not be it, but there are a lot of sites out there, with little info of value, and very high page rank. A distinction of some sort, between advertising, which I see as being the nature of paid links, and links which serve as channels to and from real information. I am a novice, and just have a business site, that I never intended to use for advertisement purposes, only as a brochure of my services, which most people will get to by typing in the url from a biz card, and some info sites my customers kan find when they get there, so I don’t have an ax to grind. I just think the system needs some work, and this may be their way of doing that. Perhaps a two level system, might work.

  • girlfriday@www.research-resource.com

    Okay, so I guess I should report Google to Google, because they charge me to effectively place a link on their site that I pay them for each time someone clicks on it. But I guess they want to make sure they are the only ones who can do this? Uh, I guess that’s why we don’t like monopolies and we fear the power of a market dominator. Please ….

    • http://onlineincomeseeker.blogspot.com durgalakshmi

      My views also entirely

  • Craig

    Do Google Adsense links pass PR from the site hosting the links to the site paying for the links?

    No, of course they don’t so those claiming hypocrisy need to look for a different bone to pick.

    Does having Google Adsense on one’s site knock one out of the SERP’s?

    No, of course not so those thinking that selling links will no longer be allowed need to look for a different cause for the end of the world.

    Does using Google Adsense as an advertising tool knock one’s site out of the SERPs?

    No, of course not so those thinking that they could knock a competitor out of the ring simply by placing a link to their site on yours and then reporting it to Google need a different excuse to claim the Apocalypse is coming.

    Would any of you Doom-n-Gloomers NOT rip a blogger to pieces who it was found out reviewed Microsoft Vista and DIDN’T also happen to mention they had been given a fancy pants laptop free?

    Why is that? Maybe because you deserve to know that so as to be able to make an informed opinion about the credibility of the review?

    If the credibility of what a blogger happens to review is dependent on full disclosure, why shouldn’t links, which in effect are a positive endorsement for the linked to page?

    Has not Google, for some time now, made it possible for people to report Adsense being used improperly or being used to gain benefit from sites that scrape just about all of us and by so doing, reduce the quality of the ewb in general not to mention the SERPs themselves?

    Does one think that a simple report is going to get any given site wiped off the face of the earth simply due to the report itself?

    Did one see any mention at all that reports would even be used in a way that would negatively impact any site reported?

    Is one a “snitch” when reporting scrape sites effectively spamming the SERPs with their ad filled auto-generated shyte?

    Some valid questions have been mentioned by others, such as how can it be determined that a link is indeed paid for or what will be the effect or resulting value of a link determined to be paid but I for one do not believe Satan is soon to walk the earth torching and burning all the Netizens in his path and that some of you would seem better off just chilling out a bit and engaging mind before engaging the reply button.

    • Rich Ord


      Thanks for your comment, but I think there are legitimate concerns that matter because Google has tremendous market share. We don’t sell or buy links at WebProNews but I don’t like the idea of the Web’s most powerful internet traffic driver asking us to send in "crime watch" type reports on our internet neighbors.

      They probably have the best of intent, but it is simply wrong to ask web surfers to send in reports of paid links when obviously they have no way of knowing these links are truely paid for. Since these reports are not proof … why ask for them?

      Additionally, you stated that links are a positive endorsement of a page. Actually, that is not true. Sites simply link as a way of giving more information to their visitors. Links were never intended as a vote or recomendation.

      Lastly, if Google removed its scoreboard in the Google Toolbar the game would be difficult to play.


      Rich Ord CEO, iEntry, Inc. Publisher of WebProNews

      • Craig

        So you would also have a problem with the existing spam reports, right?

        If that is the case, we do not have a problem as each is free to their own opinion as long as they are consistent and I just happen to have a different one so, no problem.

        Why ask for them, to collect more data. With enough data, both good and bad, patterns begin to emerge.

        Links without the “nofollow” rel attribute value are, from a PageRank/SE point of view a positive endorsement. That is one of the basic facts upon which SEs operate. One can dress it up in whatever “clothes” one wants to but when all is stripped away, a given link, without the rel=nofollow, on a given page indicates a positive vote for the page it links to.

        Matt seems to have said that a paid link would cause no problems at all if it were nofollow’ed but were that done, do you think people would be buying the links they are buying?

        Even if the toolbar e-penis were to go away, which I would REALLY REALLY like for other reasons, it wouldn’t change very much.

        The value of a given link would simply switch from being determined by PageRank to a given site’s Alexa rating, much as it is for AdBrite.

        But, with AdBrite ads, one not only knows those are ads but more importantly, search engines do as well so those ads cause no flow of PageRank.

  • Nawaz Shahzad


    Hmmmm, i smell it is something cooking in Google’s Kitchen. Let’s watch, and wonder if their is anything to eat for us (SEO).


  • kay

    Rich, in the WP newsletter you stated that nobody likes this idea, that’s not true. If you read the comments there are a number of people optimistic about this potential development, others are not getting in a tiz and waiting for FACTS. There are however a large number of sheep that have been scared into thinking it’s bad by the talentless whingers who’s businesses SURVIVE on extracting large sums of money from businesses with big purses. A few links and enough

    • James Burns

      I agree! I am also not sure that everyone here has actually read what Matt said. He must have really hit a tender spot, touched off some guilty feelings or something! The bottom line is that a page should stand on its own merits,if you want to spend money, to get more people to click on your site, buy advertising, (that is what the paid links are)just don’t cloak it with fake popularity, to get it through page rank. The playing field has been unleveled by the paid links!

  • Londoner

    Since they asked for it, let’s give them a report of every bloody site on the Internet that has paid links on it…

    And that includes AdSense, Yahoo! Search Network, DoubleClick ads etc etc. Basically, i’d love to see Matt Cutts and Google flooded with emails showing ALL the sites in the world which actually use paid links!!

    That’ll teach ’em “Do No Evil unless it benefits Google” fellas!

  • Tom

    If google is using it’s market position to intimidate people from doing business with each other (i.e. buy/sell links), google should be INVESTIGATED FOR ANTITRUST practices and should be BROKEN UP into smaller competing companies.

    If they don’t want that to happen, they should stop being so GREEDY.

  • Matt Keegan

    I thought it was evil to fink on someone? Okay, we’re not talking about breaking the general law, but Google’s perception on how the web should be developed.

    I see a backlash brewing against Google. They are getting a little too big for many of us.


    • Mike Dammann

      I see a purpose behind it, but from my experience with any report option Google has given us in the past, the results have been more hurtful than helpful for them as well as the community of webmasters and web searchers.

      Mike Damman

  • PaulH

    Well someone agrees with you so much that they’ve reprinted your article verbatim without credit – as is the same for most of their site;

    http:// adsensere venuepro.com/forum/showthread.php?t=208

  • Braintrove.com


    If people live in fear of losing their Google rank just because they shared links, then what’s the point?

  • Chris

    This latest move on paid links has really pushed me over the edge. I will be dropping my Gmail accounts, Google Analytics accounts, Adsense account and generally not using the search engine (hello Yahoo, MSN and Ask). This is my little way of not buying into the Google monopoly. I hope that others will follow.

    It (Google) all started out so innocent, but so do so many dictators….:-(

  • Richard V. Burckhardt

    Hmmm…let’s all bombard Google with reports about ALL of the Adwords links we find.

    Might send them a message if they got a few million of those.


    • Denver web Design: HyperDogMedia

      My competitors’ paid links just gunk up the SERPS. I’m reporting ’em!

  • http://www.prnewsnow.com Donny Lairson

    I have to say that telling me not to sell MY ad space to others shows exactly why we don’t allow socialism and communism in America. Centralized power is ALWAYS Abused.

    What is up with MSN? I would gladly put their ad box on my 100,000 + pages if they would issue the program just to spite google at this point. I have tried to work with Yahoo but they have a staff who can’t tell the difference between quality perfomance and the garbage they have.

    One of the big things Google can do is STOP paying Foreign website owners for US traffic. If your sending 20 million a month to the CZech republic and China it might give you a clue to poor search results problem.

    If they use the list of WHO snitches as a way to find people trying to manipulate the listings it would be better than punishing those that got snitched on.

    Now as a website owner I have to have fears about selling advertising and buying it from anyone but google? Why does my search engine want me to fear them?

    • Guest

      I agree, I have thought many times about moving away from Google completely. People being punished for selling links, by a company that makes its money from selling links is just stupid!

  • http://izabael.com Izabael

    Google will just grow more Nazi-like as time passes anyway. There is no way any corporation can not do “evil” sooner or later. Behemoths will always end up stepping on random innocent people.

    Soon they will become the evil empire they used to stand against, and something small and unanticipated will become a new safe haven. At least I hope so because Google certainly gets more annoying every year.

  • Richard-san

    Yeah but its like there’s no other choice these days. Yahoo, Ask.com, MSN, and all the others all SUCK! I mean, there stuff is way behind Google…

  • http://www.10acne.com acne

    Paying to other webmaster is not allowed. Paying to AdWords is welcome. Google is KING!?

  • http://www.acneskinguide.com/ Acne

    Let’s face it, what is really going on has nothing to do with Google actually verifying or validating paid links reports. The move was likely done as a scare tactic so that people considering links in the SEO field as a tactic for clients would think twice. Ultimately this scares and prevents about 94% of the SEO’s out there.

    The other 6% are well ahead of the game and could care less because if they bought links, they did so in a manner that had no footprint, paper trail and only did it on authority reputable sites – the kind of website you have to pick up a phone and call.

  • http://www.seovisions.com/ SEO Company

    Google needs to establish rulesets like this so that it conveys an image of having control over its own ranking system.

    The fact is, it is unlikely paid link reports get very far.

  • http://www.wsop2008.org WSOP 2008

    You raise some good points Rich will be interesting to see how this develops relations between google and paid advertising

  • http://www.acne-support-group.com ACNE

    Excellent points you’ve mentioned. Google definitely loves money..

  • http://www.rankbetterseo.com/ seo web design

    interesting viewpoint on a very topical subject.

  • http://www.seowebdesignfirm.com/ seo company syracuse

    Great article. Look forward to reading more from you.

  • http://www.tickethelp.com Speeding Ticket

    I was originally going to comment on the post – but, as it stands, the comments compel me comment.

    I remember the first day someone told me to Google it.  It was a person I trusted, we had been through a lot together: Macintosh II, Duke Nukem over dial up, windows 95 boot disks, the works.  I was getting frustrated searching for a file for flashing my bios – i think I was using metacrawler way back in the day.  Anyways, I ‘Googled it."  I couldnt believe what I as seeing – the site in #1 had exactly what I needed – I was instantly converted!

    Fast forward.  Enter spam. Enter pop ups.  Enter SEO.

    Let’s face it, as much as Google screws things up (their intent notwithstanding), user content and manipulation has made the search engine what it is, and what is isn’t.  My point? 

    My point is that there are those who are of the opinion that Google is a SE and does not guarantee anything to anyone – and, some argue, the fact that Google has such a large market share due to their (initially) efficient engine and market savvy, then we really have no right to complain on any changes that they make, especially when we argue only because it is getting in the way of us, as SEO’s, making money.  Then there are those who argue that Google wouldn’t be what it is if it wasn’t for us, the surfer, the user, the content and spirit.

    Both opinions are correct – there is no right and wrong, the relationship is a perfect example of symbiosis.  One problem – one side seems to have all the control.  So, for the comments, while I do not particularly like the changes that Google makes (for examples, simply read through WPN archives), I still cannot cry oppression – Google is a tool, and I use that tool to make money!  Google never asked me to partner with them.  Google never guaranteed me anything.  At best, I have manipulated Google in order to make money.  If that weren’t true, I would simply type up a nice website, add lots of cool flash, upload and *hope* lots of people came.


    Now, I must submit – when Google starts asking people to fink out on paid linkage, this does really get my goat.  I’ll have to do more research to have a real opinion on this.  To me, paid linkage is another way of taking advantage of the Google algorithms, and in that sense, Google has a right to change their algorothms when they see fit – but crossing the line and looking for finkers is downright ‘nasty’ and reeks of underhandedness and sneak tactics.  If this is indeed true, I may stop posting fence sitting comments altogether and join the Force.

    Great post, great comments.

  • http://www.n2news.com FTA Keys

    I agree with the "SEE THROUGH THE SMOKESCREEN" comment.

    This could be just a scare tactic.  I would think the manpower needed to track and penalize even a small majority of paid link sites would be monumental.  Because Google cannot afford to abolish their link weight measurement completely, I think we’re all pretty safe as long as we do not ‘over utilize’ paid links. 

    ‘The best links are the ones you need to pick up the phone to get’ – ahh if only we were back to that.


  • http://www.fianceevisafacts.org Fiancee Visa Attorney

    Great article

    • http://www.kabar.ws/ http://www.kabar.ws/

      very good article, thanks

  • Guest

    Google is just protecting itself. Paid links could be a business model that would actually compete with Google in a big way. If they squash this possibility before a competent potential competitor is able to implement that business model successfully , they have effectively nipped the problem in the bud. This is Google squash in action.

  • http://www.paraibainternational.com Tanzanite

    I think the program is great actually. It forces owners to have to look at their own standards and write quality information that makes sense for their website as opposed to simply gobbling up links to get rankings and then providing crappy content. With this in place, owners know there is the chance that other webmasters could report them, so they consider more carefully what they do. It is not different than Counterattack or The Paid Snitch programs that the police use, which work.

  • http://www.guitarstatic.com Guitarstatic.com

    Thanks for the article. I hate the way one search engine controls everything.


    http://www.guitarstatic.com – Free guitar lessons and videos

  • http://www.paraibainternational.com tanzanite

    I think the program is lousy. It pretty much forces owners to snitch on other owners, when the real issue with the mechanics of the operating algorithm of Google.com itself.

  • http://www.mothersfamilyrings.com Mothers Pendants

    I think that as long as you are not selling the link based on Pagerank, but your selling the link/banner whatever because you are a content related site and need advertising money, I don’t any problem with that.

  • http://www.ftareceiverforum.com/ FTA Forums

    What is the relevance of this in regards to the old standbys: JoeAnt, BOTW etc.  In another article here on webpro, getting a good link foundation by using these moderately priced directories is mentioned as a key implementation process before getting large quanitites of lower quality links. 

  • http://www.articleblip.com/article/technology/geeky-stuff tech news

    Thats is a pretty crazy idea.  Asking the same people that buy and sell links to report people buying and selling links?

  • http://www.azproxies.com/ Proxy

    The whole buying and selling of links is done to manipulate the search results. AdWords is powered by Javascript and has no effect on search engine results.

  • http://earth4energymanual.net earth4energy

    If google wants to discard paid links, that’s fine. But to eliminate and demote the website is a bit extreme

  • http://www.commissionblueprintreviews.net John

    What can I say? Google’s been letting it get to their heads in this monopoly. Stay true to our right to freedom of speech is what I say. Good post, sir. Good post.

  • http://www.pennington-high-school.com Pennington Gap Virginia

    The algos can take care of most of this.

    Do a search for any city or town in the USA, and the results are pure garbage – nothing but 5,000 page sites with virtually no information once you get there.


    …..but, they have plenty of Adsense ads.

    The negative part of the Adwords/Adsense ads is that it bloated the creation of garbage websites exponentially.





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