Cutts, Sullivan Weigh In On Paid Links

    December 11, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

The wild debate about Google’s increasingly hardline stance against paid links looks like Wimbledon, with Matt Cutts taking on Rich Skrenta, while Danny Sullivan volleys against Michael Gray.

Cutts, Sullivan Weigh In On Paid Links
Cutts, Sullivan Weigh In On Paid Links

Internet Drama, in the form of the ongoing paid links debate, received a couple of new entries to fan the flames. Webmasters see paid links as a way to boost their search engine presence against the competition. Google perceives paid links as a mechanism that devalues their core organic search results.

Rich Skrenta posted his stream-of-consciousness thoughts about the paid link debate. He said “PageRank wrecked the web,” a reference to part of Google’s model of weighting search results based on inbound links.

“Links used to be for human navigation,” said Skrenta. “Google made them count for money and they’re ruined now. Nofollow isn’t going to put it back the way it was.”

Cutts answered from the comments, defending Google’s position:

I truly believe any successful system (be it eBay, Amazon, Usenet, Wikipedia, DMOZ, or government spending) will attract people who try to optimize for that system or even game it. When Google came onto the scene with its new way of ranking search results in 1999/2000, it was inevitable that people would try to optimize for Google and link-based reputation.

Tools like rel=nofollow give site owners a method to decide whether to flow PageRank at a link-level of granularity.

Over on Graywolf’s blog, Gray called Google crybabies over the paid links issue.

“The problem is you figured a way to make money off of a link based analysis, and now you