The Real Reason Google Doesn't Like Paid Links

19 comments

Being a (Near) Monopoly is Expensive

The more I think about it the more I realize why Google doesn't like the various flavors of paid links. It has nothing to do with organic search relevancy. The problem is that Google wants to broker all ad deals, and many forms of paid links are more efficient than AdWords is. If that news gets out, AdWords and Google crumble.

DoubleClick was the wrong model until Google bought them. But smart marketers are not trying to waste millions of dollars on overpriced brand ads.

Google Doesn't Sell Social Ads

If you are buying ads on Google you are trying to reach everyone searching for a keyword. If you buy contextual ads you are trusting relevancy matching algorithms. Those used to be the standard, but now there are far more efficient ways to reach early adopters. Social influence is far more important than most people give it credit for.

Content as Ads & Cheap Social Ads

People game Digg, draft stories for specific trusted editors, suggest stories to popular blogs, buy reviews on blogs, create products or ideas with marketing baked in, link nepotistically, etc. There are a lot of cheap and affordable ways to reach early adopters.

Editorial and social relationships have far more value than Google realize, and Matt Cutts's recent outbursts are just a hint at how Google is losing their dominant control over the web. And they deserve to, because...

The Web Doesn't Want to be Controlled

Sure Google likes link baiting today, but that is the next paid link. Google is backing themselves into a corner, destroying each signal of quality they once trusted, until one day the web is a piece of junk or Google is no longer relevant.

Comments

Well DUH!

I sell sponsored links for a flat fee per month and the CPC sometimes is less than $0.01 based on all the click traffic but none exceed $0.15 per click when you average it out.

how awesome

is this quote

Quote:
"It didn't generate much money," Brin recalls, referring to the program as a "hand-patched life preserver." DoubleClick, he adds, was the ocean liner Google would swim to should the life preserver fail.

paid link boost

The problem is that Google wants to broker all ad deals, and many forms of paid links are more efficient than AdWords is.

Paid links give you something contextual PPC ads can't: a boost in your inbound link popularity.

It would be funny for Google to run a clandestine link brokering business to find out who all the paid ads REALLY belong to.

Interesting Stuff

One of the largest adsense forums around is over at Warriors. I will post this topic there and it will be hopefully very interesting to see the response of individuals who rely upon adwords for their entire incomes. Thanks David

Testing purposes

Matt said they wanted reports of paid links for "testing purposes" - manual policing is not practical and not what they are good at, so will likely build an algo that scales based on test results.

I suspect paid links to/on relevant sites/content will be unnaffected, paid links to/on non-relevant sites/content will likely just be ignored for PR and anchor text value and not penalised.

Quote: Google is backing

Quote:
Google is backing themselves into a corner, destroying each signal of quality they once trusted

Google is destroying the signal quality? Er.... ok....

Sorry, but this kind of thing makes me chuckle, like some big conspiracy rumour mill. Next we'll hear that Google shot JFK...
A lot of people buy links with the express intention of improving their rank in Google, so why is Google going to like the practice?

You all bitch and moan about irrelevant SERPs that you say Google chucks out, yet seeingly defend one of the practices that obviously cause it.

Quote:
a hint at how Google is losing their dominant control over the web.

Heh, could've fooled me. I was under the impression that some recent stats showed their market share for search has increased. They've not long ago picked up the biggest video community on the web, which is still pretty strong despite the sudden lurch of law suits.

They don't look like a company in trouble yet.

Adsense sites!

I also think Google have really messed up web search results by creating Adsense, and the flood of crappy websites by middlemen using it to make a buck!

Throw baby out...

>>A lot of people buy links with the express intention of improving their rank in Google

And a lot of people buy links with no such intention. That's the bit that Google doesn't give a shit about. AFA Google is concerned all paid linking in bad and they want you to be the chief snitcher to report on people who have the audacity to pay for links.

>> their market share for search has increased

Just when people are increasingly using non-search methods to get to destinations.

"Google Has an Agenda"

It's like a "catch 22" and 'Google' has an "agenda". It would seem to me that "Google" wants to have more control over who's able to sell paid links.

Quote:
Well we live in a "Capitalist Society" an economic system in which the means of production are mostly privately owned and operated for profit, and in which distribution, production and pricing of goods and services are determined in a largely free market.

Google themselves are the architect of the paid links, but it doesn't give them exclusive rights to it and voiding us "The Webmasters" from being able to "Monetize" our website by means of selling links also.

Although, IMHO I believe "Google" are ready to launch their algorithmic attempt at filtering out certain types of paid links, whether we like it or not.

Google will justify this by saying it's to help improve the quality of SERPs, when we all know what it's really about and that's "Google" wants to capture a bigger share of this market!

How is Google going to do this?

The question i have is how the hell is google going to determine whether a link is a paid one or not using a math algorithm? There are link brokerages out there that do not provide list of websites that sell links, and some of the those websites are very trusted sources for google.
So how is google going to go about it?

Network analysis. We saw a

Network analysis. We saw a potential taster with this in back in October 2005 (cf, link exchanges).

On the one hand, Google could more aggressively push on looking for easy indicators - "Sponsored by" lists and similar.

On the other, simply identifying certain network structures, and devaluing one or more elements regarding link values.

Quote: Network analysis. We

Quote:
Network analysis. We saw a potential taster with this in back in October 2005 (cf, link exchanges).

What worries me is the lop-sided nature of this. Google has no interest in minimizing collateral damage. On the contrary, Google profits via AdSense.

Network analysis properly done puts the influence into the hands of the linkers. Every paid link network owns an arsenal for sabotage... just include a few extra competitor sites as if they were paying customers, and get them onto the "link buyers" list to neutralize the effects. If Google stays one-sided by only devalueing paid links, they risk chasing their own tail as link exchanges simply add more layers of abstraction. It's a losing game, unless collateral damage doesn't matter.

Of course Google will do what helps Google, every time. What a mess.

Get rid of Page Rank

All Google needs to do is to stop showing page rank. The is no reason to show page rank that is remotely useful to Google's users that I can see. The only use it has is for SEO's.

They don't need to bother with trying to figure out which link is paid for or not. Just stop disclosing rank and no one will be able to sell something based on a value they can't prove. Then all that will be left is for link sellers to sell based on the traffic they get, just like Google does.

Google is going to get to the point of being governmentally regulated as they move more and more towards positioning themselves as the arbiter of information. Because they know full well the power of the top positions as relates to commerce.

So by becoming essentially a utility they will be truly on thin ice when it comes to proving what are "paid" links and what aren't. I can see the kinds of lawsuits happening that have a good shot at putting a huge dent in Goliath's armor.

So the easiest answer for Google is to just stop showing the very thing that fuels the whole link-selling industry. Because not even human reviewers can prove anything based on the appearance of a link somewhere. Unless they have incontrovertible proof of a transaction they are going to be pretty hard up to "punish" someone's website for "paid" links.

Not to mention that this brings up again the issue of GoogleBowling a competitor. What will Google do if I purchase a bunch of links on known link-selling networks? Most likely they won't count for anything but who knows?

Anyway, that's my take on the whole thing.

I think so many people are

I think so many people are buying links that there would still be a huge market even if Google pulls away pagerank display

Buy Buy Buy

It would be funny for Google to run a clandestine link brokering business to find out who all the paid ads REALLY belong to.

They dont actually need to do that.
They could just clandestinely buy one.
They probably already have.

For many

link buyers, page rank is not a metric that factors into the purchase.

>>Get rid of Page Rank

Don't think that will help much. You can still easily tell which sites have the trust by a few queries using on page factors.

Google cannot hide it's algorithm. It's in the SERPs after all...

Google Does Not Support Paid Links?

This is really a joke. Google actually encourages you to buy paid links in order to boost your site ranking, and they also ask you to submit to the ODP, which is a worse joke.

Quote from the Google site:
Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!, as well as to other industry-specific expert sites.

First off, Yahoo and most top directories do not accept free listings for most sites, so isn't Google asking us to buy links? I think the answer is clear, and the intent.

As far as the ODP is concerned, it is virtually impossible to get into most categories because the editor is your competitor. The only way to get in is to bribe one of the other editors.

I have submitted several of my sites to categories that are so specific it is impossible to not include them for any other reason. The sites are useful, user friendly and content rich, yet after two years not one has been included.

..

The ODP is irrelevant since google stopped promoting their copy of it, the "google directory".

The google directory still exists, but you wouldn't know it from google.

It took me three years to get my first listing in the ODP. I didn't care much, cuz the ODP is JUST one directory and there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds out there just waiting for my URL.

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