Is YouTube Selling Text Links to Politicians


Recently it was pointed out to me that YouTube has a section for high profile US politicians. Looking at the individual profile pages you can see inconsistent implementation, where some politicians are given straight links and others aren't.

here's a list of who's getting a direct link on the masthead banner without a rel=nofollow tag

Dennis Kucinich
Rudy Giuliani
John Edwards
Mitt Romney
Duncan Hunter
Chris Dodd
Joe Biden
Ron Paul
Mike Huckabee
Barack Obama

Here's a list of politicians who have banners that aren't linked at all

Hillary Clinton
John McCain
Tom Tancredo
Bill Richardson

So here's the question is YouTube taking cash and providing straight text links, probably not. What we probably have is a "programming oversight". However since we were recently encouraged to report people we thought were selling links I thought it was only fair to shine a spotlight back in Google's direction. The core of the issue is without looking at YouTube's books I have absolutely no idea if those links were paid for or not, the best I can do is take an educated guess. If best I can do is guess how is google's text link selling detection algo going to be any more accurate. This isn't the first time we've seen one part of Google doing something the other part thinks is wrong in fact once you reach a certain size it becomes almost inevitable. So I expect we'll see this fixed within the next 24 hours and it will all be swept under the carpet. But just imagine if it wasn't YouTube that was being narced on, what if it was you, would you get the same treatment, or would the punishment be a little more harsh, and how would you even know you had been accused of a "google crime".

Editors note: Umm Hey Google what's with the title tags on all those youtube pages being exactly the same?

Editors note II: Let's keep the merits or lack of merits of any of the political candidates out of this discussion. Lets keep the focus on Google and how they expect to police the web when they can't even keep their own house in order.


They're crazy if they're

They're crazy if they're not.

banner's div name

the name of the div the banner is in is "advertiserBanner". Certainly seems sold.

Follow the $$$$

A button for a link

Spend some $$$$ and help spread the toolbar far and wide, watch google use the data they collect from the toolbar to make some of their own $$$$ and then reward you with a nice link from Google to help you reap more $$$$

Paid, maybe not, but it sure causes money to change hands.

those buttons are a scam

I made a bunch of them
and they didn't even have the decency to accept any of my submissions

I'm trying to make sure I

I'm trying to make sure I understand this article. Tell me where I go off-track:
- YouTube has a video channel for the 2008 elections
- On some channels, the masthead banner is a link and for some it's not
- graywolf asks if YT is selling links

Is there some page on the web or something else that leads to that speculation, graywolf? It looked like each candidate's campaign did the HTML layout for their own page, including the masthead banner.

Lots of issues

#1 looking at the CSS the div you can see it's named advertising banner, how big of a leap is required to assume that's a paid advertisement

#2 The link on the sidebar is made with a nofollow. Some of the candidates are have a banner linked other don't. Why is the implementation inconsistent from profile to profile and with and without No Follow? Combined with the "advertising banner" div name how big of a leap do you have to make to assume some people paid other didn't to have a link?

#3 Isn't YouTube (a child company of Google) ultimately responsible for the content on it's pages if the candiates campaigns did it or not? Why isn't YouTube setting a good example and following Google Guidelines to the letter? if YouTube can chose which guidelines to follow and which to disregard without fear of punishment, can we all expect that level of treatment?

#4 If these aren't paid advertisements what other conclusions can I draw maybe Google/YouTube like Rudy Guliani and Barack Obama but not Hillary Clinton and John McCain?

Ok I'm really just giving you a hard time, but none of the assumptions above required a tremendous leap of faith or believing in some half baked conspiracy theory. The simple point is unless I can see invoices I can't prove with any degree of certainty they were paid advertisements. So how is your "paid advertising detecting algo" going to do any better? How many innocent webmasters are going to be tarred and feathered as selling links and suffer whatever penalty your algo decides to sentence them too? What's even worse is they won't know they've been accused, tried and sentenced.

"Ok I'm really just giving

"Ok I'm really just giving you a hard time" I know. I'm just getting you an answer to your immediate question. :)

While you're at it ...

Seems youtube is using direct links as currency to buy content... granted, a bio line at the end of the article is customary (but the big ole banner at the top to with the direct link certainly looks like an ad)... but, in Google's new view... does this mean you can use direct links as currency, just not accept actual money for them? Would seem to me youtube could afford content writers...

Meanwhile, this content SHOULD have links. As a user, I don't want to be forced to look up every single program they mentioned... link to the damn site. But, I guess I could click on the only outbound link on that page, to videomaker and wander around their site until I find an adsense ad actually taking me to a vendor. ;-)

Matt, the point here:

is that it's impossible to figure out intent--or transaction--just from appearances. (ahem, *cough* 'report paid links')

is that it's impossible to

is that it's impossible to figure out intent--or transaction

In other words, it is absolutely, totally, and in all other ways INCONCEIVABLE to work out what is paid and unpaid here Matt.

Sorry couldn't help it, just watched the movie again :)

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.