Forbes has been caught and penalized by Google for selling links. And it didn't take the New York Times to uncover this violation of Google's quality guidelines. This past weekend Google was tipped off that JCPenny was buying links after a New York Times investigation.
According to Techcrunch there are several other prominent sites that may also be selling links. Techcrunch listed as examples eWeek and CIO Magazine.
Barry Schwartz of the Search Engine Rountable blog noticed a Google Webmaster Help posting by Denis Pinsky who is the Digital Marketing Manager at Forbes.com containing this notification warning by Google:
Dear site owner or webmaster of http://www.forbes.com/,
We’ve detected that some or all of your pages are using techniques that are outside our quality guidelines, which are available here: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769&hl=en.
Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links on your site pointing to other sites that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. For more information about our linking guidelines, visit
We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please visit https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/reconsideration?hl=en to submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.
If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters?hl=en.
Google Search Quality Team
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043
As indicated in the notification Google has removed at least some pages of Forbes.com from its index which for a site as SEO'd as Forbes is devastating to their pageviews. The links are on interior pages of Forbes.com and are grouped together which makes them pretty obvious.