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A PR8 site selling pagerank?
$500 - $5,000 from a PR8

 7:39 am on Mar 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Looking at the FoxNews website, I noticed peculiar looking links on the front page under the "advertising links."

Many of these are direct links to business sites.

One can look at them two ways. Fox is selling Page Rank or they are, in fact, just selling small text link ads.

My gut tells me more is going on here than just selling text ads. For one thing, there's one link there that says - "Buy This Link"

The wording on that raises eyebrows.

Also notice that the second link in the left column has a PR7 thanks to Fox's PR8. However, only 14 backlinks show up for that site. There are more examples of this among those links.

According to the company that is selling these links, and it is listed among them as 2 different but similar urls, links are being sold for $500 to $5,000. However, that company has a Gray Bar on both of its sites.

Maybe Fox is not intentionally selling PageRank, but this company which is contracting the sales of these links know what they are doing when they are selling these links.



 4:30 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

US$2000/month is more than my salary. But I've pretty much decided that I'll only accept sponsorship/advertising that's targetted (e.g. a bookshop) - not because of concern about Google but because it just wouldn't feel right otherwise. (And maybe Google shares my aesthetics, who knows.)


 5:31 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Eh, you can have all the free links you want on my PR3 pages ;^p

I feel that if you take care of the visitors to your site by giving them what they want, in a format they appreciate, they will come back, and they will eventually purchase. Much like a lot of us will eventually subscribe to WebmasterWorld!

If I ever get to where I have massive traffic that will feed my family and friends families for the next 500 years, I MIGHT sell advertising on my site, but I doubt it. If I did, I'd be selling it to other sites for what would be a fee based on how well qualified the traffic is perceived to be by the site buying the link.

I would presume that if my site ever grows to that point it would have astounding PR because of it's relevence and popularity, and that sites purchasing an ad from me would be doing so because they saw the possibility of a real dollar return on their investment because of my site's relevence and popularity, not because of the PageRank.

If you will recall, it has pretty much been proven that chasing the intangibles of the net as an asset or investing in such is a false economy. Businesses, unless they haven't a clue, are not going to pour money into the vapor of a promise of PageRank, they will put their money into what appears to show a reasonable, potential, immediate as possible, return on their investment in real dollars and sales. They won't put it into buying a ill-qualified link for the potential inflation of a marginal PageRank to possibly climb the rankings of the #3 (or 2 or whatever) search engine, to potentially bring in semi-targeted lookers who might buy something, if they remember where the site is a week after they looked at it, or two.

That isn't to say that you shouldn't do everything ethical that is available to you to raise your PR and or rankings, afterall, that is what this site is all about. I am just trying to say that some of us are a little more infatuated with the nuances of how the search engines index info, and that because Google does such a good job of determining what people might be interested in in a good number of instances, it just might mean that it simply worth buying a link to tap into that traffic. Of course, if they bought a link, improved sales, are targeted where they should be, and improved their traffic through spending money, it could be reasonably argued they deserve an increase in PageRank anyway.

Of course if anyone is passing out free links on their PR9 site, I wouldn't turn it down... ;^p


Robert Charlton

 6:47 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

As I look at those FoxNews links, most of them don't seem to be well designed to transfer PageRank. Many seem to be affiliate links with either affiliate tracking codes, or else they go to redirect pages. Which isn't to say that someone who knew what they were doing couldn't use such links for PR or relevance boost.

>>There is no way that you would convince me that FoxNews would know what PR is, let alone know enough to be selling it.<<

I agree... I've looked at sites of large companies actually in the web business, who should know a lot better than FoxNews, and they clearly don't have a clue. Occasionally, I'll talk to someone in the trenches at one of these sites about SEO, and they don't even know that on-page content and web-context and linking have anything to do with rankings. They're still back in the "doing keywords and submitting" mentality, whatever that means.

What they may be selling simply is influence, the power of size and position, in the economy and the world and on the web... and PageRank usually accompanies that on a site, unless they blow it.

The marketing company may be a whole other story... They were one of the few linkees that had target terms in their "TEXT LINK" anchor with nothing to mess it up. It will be interesting to see how far they rise for "internet marketing" after the next update. Wonder if they're going to tune their title tag to take advantage of it.


 6:57 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

If they do, you'll know they just discovered WebmasterWorld, otherwise, it would have been tweeked before spending the bucks on it the first shot. ;^p


 7:18 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think that the issue of selling PageRank hand being unethical is completely out of hand. I work for mutiple companies accross mutiple markets some with models that insist on paid advertising and profit sharing with other sites.

Here is a awesome example, MapQuest...what a great site huh, everyone knows that! (PR9) Several companies pay for ads with them looking at them, all relevent! One that comes to my mind is REI what another great site! Problem is REI's link isnt accounted for i mean come on thats not right all because of a wimpy little tracking URL. Man, have you ever been inside an REI, if you have I don't have to say anything! Now if I was working for REI knowing what I know about content delevery on the internet and looking at their site, knowing since I am a previous cutomer that believes in their product I would go get some text links and have some of the adds changed to direct text links. They deserve to be in the results! Even if the adds are on rotation I believe that one day they should and have to be accounted for on the more regular updates that are strived for.

If I have the best content in an industry that better be accounted for! I am advertised everywhere on the internet with relevent content sites why shouldn't that be accounted for. If your not providing quality then there would be no backing$ from a non-commercial or a commercial stand point now would there, unless you talking about the crappy affiliate stuffed markets with overpriced products and no customer service what so ever typa stuff.

I work very hard at what I do to DELIEVER THE BEST CONTENT and consult with site owners who are all my friends about keeping that the main focus, especially with my non-commercial projects. I deliver content, high quality content, that people need to see and judging by dealing directly with customers and the amounts of time spent on the sites they definetly find value.

I know that links are mean something, some sites bring unbelievable amounts of traffic that I track striat off of the adds I purachse. Some are images some are links. It is called advertising and you know what NEWS FLASH Google aint the only fish in the pond. Buying PageRabnk ha What a joke. You see I work on quality websites and help people bring traffic to them for a living via the INTERNET not Google, Hows your Yahoo! oh I mean your Inktomi rankings. I would live without Google Would You? hmmmmmmm I wonder what the new yahoo algo will be like? You think high content plus quality relevent links is what will be looked for? Hmmm maybe I'll get links from high traffic sites so people will come to my site since I believe in the content that we worked on at thew same time build content. To argue about what is and what isnt selling page rank is sensless when you should be not working yourself in a frenzy and get to work on your site rework your model so you can pay to advertise on the big boys or find another market taht works for you....cause hey, We are headed in a more relevent world so this will not last too mouch longer. I have faith, we human's only get smarter!

The internet is so young and I am excited to be here to watch and help it grow at the stage it is in right now. Buying GooglePR? No, But I dont link to crap and I don't link from crap, I can't underestimate some of these guys intellegince by thinking that certain practices days are numbered! I can spot crap and know they can to, who do you think your dealing with, now its all about automating it. Artifical intelligence, it can be automated, soon that will happen and there will be a big drop. Content in any form of any business prevails, it makes money or strikes the interest of those who have money to donate for non commercial content delivery, when that happens the information has value that people should see, from there you expand exposure by this time if it isnt coming up in the SERP's because someone didnt get enough text links or there are tarcking URL's on some of the best links they have then that is depriving the SERP's of quality content.

My To Cents


 7:56 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I havn't read through all the post so I don't know if this has been discussed at all but the company involved is also selling links on Yahoo profile pages for $4000 to $6000 per month!


 8:50 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

he he. nice post DynamicStat, if a little bit long and ranty.. :) Then again who am i to criticise ;)

Of course its nothing to do with ethics. Its either will google penalise ME because of it, or are other people gaining by doing something that i dont have the guts to do! ;)


 10:02 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm astonished that GG has not added his two cents to this thread. Has the flu imported from China now hit the pigeon farm and GG had to step in, pecking away to calculate PR? I think I'll remove the hidden pictures of breadcrumbs and raunchy parrots and replace with pictures of nescafe and Pamela... .Might increase GG's pecking ratio ;-)

But serious guys, all the PR hype is getting out of hand. As most of the pros know already, it ain't such a big thing really and if a website owner is paying up to 6000 per month just to receive PR, then by george, let him. Because he could be spending a fraction of that on a decent SEO who would make sure his traffic and PR would increase at less an expense.
I just sit back and grin while my PR4 site with 50 backlinks beats most PR7 sites on my target keyword phrases in Google simply due to the work I spent optimising the pages instead of chasing up people for links.


 10:19 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Kind of compare it to the real world:-
People vote for other people (politicians)
Pages vote for other Web Pages
The Politicians get elected
Some Pages get higher PR
Politicians use their influence to make money
The high PR page use their influence & make money (by ads)

OK Now Back to Work. I don't think GG will reply to this post!


 10:19 am on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google fires the Pagerank mania itself..

Important pages receive a higher PageRank and appear at the top of the search results..

from: [google.com...]

Important, high-quality sites receive a higher PageRank, which Google remembers each time it conducts a search. Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don't match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search..

from: [google.com...]

Horizontal bars, which are displayed next to each web page, indicate the importance of the page, as determined by PageRank. This distinctive approach to ranking web sites enables the highest quality pages to appear first as top results for any Google directory category.

from: [google.com...]

(the bold-face is mine)

Never mind that if you read further and carefully, you understand - as many do here - that there is more to ranking well, other than Pagerank and a good text-link alone.

Everyone wants to feel important.


 4:16 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

If websites can afford to pay thousands of dollars a month for text links, then chances are the quality of the content is very good. That's what google wants, right? Quality content?


 4:43 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yankee... I've also seen many, many companies out there in 'shady' businesses that are making great money, and would be willing to 'skew' keywords to increase their ranking for completely unrelated offerings.


 5:19 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

selling pagerank illustrates a weak spot in google's algorithm - all links are not a true vote for a site. Does anyone think for a moment that foxnews is linking to these sites because they believe these are quality sites? This is another example of PR shaping the web.


 5:30 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree somewhat, but so what? What's the alternative - nobody's allowed to sell advertising on their website?


 6:03 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

well since GG aint gonna answer, I thought I would at least try and say what he must be thinking :)

"If it looks dodgy, and you have a feeling it could get you punished, then DONT do it"



 6:13 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I find it interesting that GG has not responed. Also how Google has not banned Fox like it did another company for do something similar to this. I would be willing to bet peso` to dollars that Google and Fox are partners. Well thats my thinking.


 6:22 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> I agree somewhat, but so what? What's the alternative ..

I don't know if there is an alternative. I do think, however, that this issue will create problems for Google in the long term. Imagine the day when all the top SERPs are filled by sites that have bought their PR. It doesn't appear that the current algorithm has a mechanism to prevent this.


 7:41 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

The only solution is to remove that green bar from the tool bar.


 8:14 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

miles .. that sounds like conspiracy theories.

The fact of the matter, to me, is SIMPLE.

Most PR8 and PR9 sites have such high PR because they have worked hard on their websites. If they want to sell text links, let them do so! If the sites buying advertising get PR with it, consider it a BONUS.

People are obsessed too much with PR - sheesh!


 8:21 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is absolutely what is happening. High PR sites are selling ads based on the PR they will extend the the site that is doing the advertising. It's all about backward links and webmasters are buying the links to move PR and to stay competitive. For example, when doing checks on our competitors to see who they are linking to, to see if there is a match for us, we found travel sites doing anchor link ads on wunderground.com. We felt we had to do that as well to remain competitive. Now, if you'll look there you will find over 50 travel links. We think Google has taken action on this. We were PR 8 before the refresh and now only a 6. We noticed that the other travel sites that are advertising here are also now 6's when the PR of the site is 8-9. The real winner here is wunderground.com. They started out charging only $500/link/month and now you have to take three links for $5,000 a month. Pretty good money if you ask me. If Google values backwards links, then this will continue to happen.


 8:24 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Someone mentioned MapQuest (PR9) as selling text links. Does anyone know of other PR8, PR9 sites doing the same? I think Brett previously said there were many others. I for one would buy a PR8/PR9 link.


 8:27 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Plenty of high PR sites have text ad's. The main thing I notice is how subtle Google's penalties can be. There's no reason why a site can't continue to pass PageRank to some links (eg. internal) but not others (eg. paid).

A lot of people don't realise that the links they're paying for are ignored.


 8:36 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Someone mentioned MapQuest (PR9) as selling text links. Does anyone know of other PR8, PR9 sites doing the same? I think Brett previously said there were many others. I for one would buy a PR8/PR9 link.


A lot of people don't realise that the links they're paying for are ignored.

gives you the answer, I would NOT be advising you to buy a link.



 9:00 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>I would be willing to bet peso` to dollars that Google and Fox are partners.

I do not think so. I think Fox, as a media outlet, is in a position to really hurt Google's image should Google irritate them enough. Google will not openly slap down FowNews's website because FoxNews can return the favor, but on the *mass media* of television.

Not something you want to happen, especially before an IPO.

They might try something as ciml suggests, but whatever they do will be on the sly.

On a far more general level, this shows just how firmly the cat is out of the bag. It has grown far beyond Google's ability to control. I suspect you will see more and more of this happening very openly amongst some big players.


 9:03 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I looked at the backlinks for the sites advertised all over foxnews and they ARE counted by Google. In addition, these sites now have a PR7. I contacted Webpros and they say that these links have been there a long time. I don't see why anyone in their right mind would think these links would not be counted by Google. Come on, Google penalizing Fox for selling text advertising links? - I don't think so.

Do you have a text link in the Yahoo Directory? Would you advise people not to pay $300 to be included in Yahoo? - Its the same thing as Foxnews.

By the way, I'd still appreciate it if someone would tell me which other PR8 & PR9 sites are selling text link advertising.

Also, I've search WW for "pradnetwork" and found nothing. Aren't these guys affiliated with Searchking? I thought they were out of business?


 9:42 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Pradnetwork seems to suggest that you won't be penalized if you buy a link through them because you will not be linking back to the other site. They also say that no one (Google) will know about your link purchase, as they will keep it confidential.

Any comments on that?


 10:13 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Plenty of high PR sites have text ad's. The main thing I notice is how subtle Google's penalties can be. There's no reason why a site can't continue to pass PageRank to some links (eg. internal) but not others (eg. paid).

Right. It wouldn't be appropriate to PR0 FoxNews. Stop and think: even if links from FoxNews didn't pass on PR, wouldn't you like a link on their home page for the click-through traffic? The real problem is that Google is letting these links pass on PR.


 10:14 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

A lot of people don't realise that the links they're paying for are ignored.

I do not think this is true. Just looked at one of the sites. It got PR7. Only external link to this site are from FoxNews (PR8 & 7) pages. In total 110 links including the internal ones.


 10:21 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sorry QNetwork, I should have been clear that the comment was about "Plenty of high PR sites" I've observed. I wasn't commenting on the PR flow from any particular domain right now.


 10:22 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

www.pradnetwork.com everyone knows where it is, so you should also.


 10:29 pm on Mar 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Most people is discussing here about the legality/ilegality of selling links in high PR Pages.

First of all, PR is only a factor among most others in optimization, as it's been discussed here (The Decreasing Value of PageRank as an Optimization Metric) [webmasterworld.com] a few days ago.

Second, most people is speaking about the second site in the links list (the page with only 5 incoming links and PR 7), but żdid anybody try to find it in Google?. I mean, I've searched for invest, stock market, and some others I think could be important keywords for that page, and I've found not a single entry among the first one hundred pages. PR is not all that matters.

Third, maybe all these pages don't need Google at all. I think a link in a PR 8 like Fox News could be worth it (speaking in incoming visitors term)

Finally, I think that if Google implemented something like subjets to see how relevant a link is /is not those people "selling" PR would find its bussines a lot more difficult.

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