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sponsored links
the new secret weapon

 10:41 am on Jan 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Theres a huge rise in the effectiveness of a sponsored link. What is not clear to me is whether this is just because reciprocal links have been watered and so leaving sponsored links higher in value simply by comparison or something else is at work. Could the amount of benefit from being linked from multiple pages of one site have been reworked?



 11:20 am on Jan 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

huh? Define "sponsored link"


 11:24 am on Jan 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

> huge rise in the effectiveness

And for many other people, their link from a high PR page doesn't send PR any more. It's an ongoing conflict between PR buyers/sellers and Google.


 12:50 pm on Jan 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't think this is all that new - sponsored links were hot before Update Florida too, if you could get a plain text link (without click tracking or redirects through ad-systems.)

As for "passing on PR" i'm a bit uncertain if this has any influence on ranking. It occurs to me that ranking is one thing and PR another - for sponsored links it's more about anchor text. Imho.


 12:50 pm on Jan 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

sponsored link as in finding well ranked but strictly/partially non-profit sites that will sell you a link from the index and sub pages for a fee which helps them run their site, obviuosly other forms as well including sites simply selling or appearing to sell pr. However the point here is that rankings are being bought and not by merit. This is not say its any better or worse than recip linking has been, it simply seems to be as affective as link pages swaps used to be except now it requires some financial clout to kick off. Given that the collateral damage has taken down many good sites i wonder if it was all worth it when the algo simply now means paid for links rather than free links.


 12:55 pm on Jan 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

If you want to pay for a link on another website then do so. After all this is how paid directories work.

However, if you do pay for PR and/or traffic, try to make sure that the site has a good reputation and is not doing anything that could get it banned.

Also, there are many, many ways of picking up links for free. See the link development forum for just a few ideas.


 1:28 pm on Jan 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

right, but it looks like front page links are king. Hard to get those without paying. It's another Google nail in the coffin on the little guy. This to me has always set Google apart, that anyone with content could get its pages listed unlike the ppc engines. The way it works now it will eventually amount to the same thing even though the paying is to third party sites and not Google.


 5:15 pm on Jan 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

The little guy still can get listed. If he wants to compete on highly competitive terms, he may need to spend money on advertising. Buying a link is one way of doing that.

There's nothing unfair about it.


 5:38 pm on Jan 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Of course it's unfair. But this is just business, and who said business was fair?

Google used to be more 'fair'; as soapystar notes there was a time when truly the little guy had more or less the same shot at getting listed as the big well funded guy. But Google has made so many changes recently that have been negative for the little guy that I can't even count them all.

The message that G was no longer a friend of the little guy was in the winds long before Florida (and relatively obvious ever since Dom/Es). After Flordia even the many loyalists who kept asserting that G was just looking for quality results have had to rethink.

This is just a business decision taken by big G, which for quite some time now has been far more concerned about big M and big Y than about little ol' ma or pa.

<'eh 'em, back on topic>

As far as we know, text link ads have been valuable for a very long time now. What still amuses me a bit is this crazy phenom that even for a single link, the "link-er" often seems to benefit as much or more than the "link-ee." Meaning that there's a double incentive for sellers recently... ;-)


 9:50 pm on Jan 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Selling Organic Link to related content site is more hot!


 10:19 pm on Jan 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

IMHO Google has taken steps to stop some of the paid links from influencing search results. I do not know if they have specifically identified some sites or just use some type of algorithm (e.g. ignore a PR8 link to a site with few other links).


 12:29 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Agreed, some sponsored text links do not pass any PR or ranking value. From my experience, this has more to do with the site that is selling (e.g. is it selling 50+ casino, mortgage and pharm sponsored links). Some of the prominent, high PR sponsored link sellers seem to have been manually flagged by Google.


 3:19 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

If you seek links for PR only then you will most likley be back here some time in the future asking how you can get back in Google. IMO it's not worth it.

It occurs to me that ranking is one thing and PR another

Clause, that has intrigued me, can you expand somewhat?


 6:49 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Purchased links has become a very dangerous business. I can't think of a faster way to drop completely out of the serps.


 7:41 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

But what about what hes talking about, nonprofit sites. Nonprofit organizations need corporate sponsors for money. How is it unethical or buying PR if the nonprofit site wants to recognize that contribution?


 7:55 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Nonprofit organizations need corporate sponsors for money

Then make a donation. Google does not like sites that buy or sell PR period.


 7:58 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Purchased links has become a very dangerous business. I can't think of a faster way to drop completely out of the serps.

Dangerous business for whom? The seller? So Google is going to decree that Web sites that sell text advertising or sponsorships are not worthy of appearing in the SERPS? Not likely.

The buyer? This would mean that you would lose control over your own destiny - any site could take out any other by linking to them.

I think "dangerous business" may be a little dramatic. As discussed elsewhere, what is more likely is for Google to look for ways to tone down the effectiveness of purchased links in influencing search engine placement.


 8:03 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think "dangerous business" may be a little dramatic

Far from dramatic if you are put out of business because Google drops you down to page x! Buying and selling PR is not worth the risk. Exchange links by all means if they will help your visitors, but don't buy or sell PR.

To advise otherwise it quite irresponsible IMO.


 8:33 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure anyone is advocating buying or selling PR.

I'm just trying to understand how blacklisting could possibly be a rational, sustainable response to the buying and selling of text links - a practice that has been around for years, and a method of advertising that is proven to be more effective than banners.


 9:00 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

being penalized because of an inbound link, paid for or not, is generally not accepted.(GG has stated as such). It can only be other factors such as reciprocation, same IP, amount of links on the page (farming) that MAY influence. If Google can detect paid-for links that really is impressive.


 9:15 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

buying and selling of text links

They is no problem with that. It's only buying/selling links for the sole purpose of PR that can get you into hot water. Fine line I know, but still not worth the risk.


 9:36 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree people shouldn't buy pr links, but the fact is I would have donated either way, and I cant help the sponsors page has pr7- so why would my serps be wiped over making a donation in my company's name? In a witch hunt for pr buyers? Is G really like that?


 10:05 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have a competitor who has for the last 12 months purchased links religiously. With update Florida they got kicked right out of the field, even with their PR 8/9 site.

By all accounts they should be generating huge amounts of traffic from their PR and on-site optimization. But because they just happen to make their stats public via domain.com/stats....lol.....I happen to know it ain't so.

It appears Google "somehow" knows that the allocated PR is not real.

I've studied the competitor's backlinks for hours, but I can't see how Google could possibly tell these are paid for links....but it seems to be able to do so.

My conclusion is that sponsored links are pointless for the purpose of ranking high in SERP's. Sure they give PR, but that doesn't seem to count in these instances.

Can anyone throw any light on how Google could possibly be detecting sponsored links other than manually?


 10:06 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Chances are Google will never know. The risk is probably very small and *may* even not exist.


 10:23 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Does anyone remember Search King?

24 August 2002

29 May 2003

It all ended up in a big mess with the Search King site being hand removed from Google.


 11:38 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

except this isnt what im seeing. Im not seeing sites benefit from buying pr from large succesful sites. I see success by getting a text link, normally by sponsoring, from say pr4-6 sites. A dozen or so ontopic but minor sites that dont have large link pages. You get a frontpage text link with something say "OUR SPONSORS - BLAH.COM". That does the trick. These are small sites that havent engaged in link campaingns because they are not profit driven. They can even be your own domains but carefully linked and disguised (i.e different whois and ip's). To google it appears to be an informational site/page, ontopic and linking to you from important pages that arent link to everyman and his dog. This is now what works. The main point here is that its another step away from content and the small site making it to the top. For a long time content has not been king. yes if your site is wel ranked then large content will find you for a large number of terms, but content alone will not find you, its still all about links.


 12:59 pm on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld, Vegas21. I agree completely, it's the seller that gets the 'penalty' (perhaps we could call it a "reverse" PR penalty?). As lorenzinho2 points out, it would be far too easy to get someone else penalised if you just had to link from a penalised site.

I also agree that it's almost certainly a manual flagging.


 2:58 pm on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Very interesting discussion. My 2pW –

For a SE, it’s far far far far better that anyone trying to artificially improve their rankings do so by buying links on existing content sites than creating useless directories, review sites, blogs, guestbooks, forums…..etc.

This is business for all concerned, and in the real world, guess what? The people with the money get greater advertising visibility. Nothing’s changed, other than Google coming into line with the accepted business model, which has managed to stand the test of time.

Still a real shame that people who’ve built useful content rich sites are getting pushed down by poor sites with rich link building budgets.



 2:59 pm on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Would be easy to shell out a bit of cash to undercut your competitor by posting a link to his site in the penalized one


 3:06 pm on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

percentages, that fact that a competitor got blown away dosn't not mean that the newly acquired links were the cause, i.e., perhaps OOP?

ciml, I'm a bit surprised you're agreeing with this, unless you refer only to very outrageous cases like SK. Hard to believe that sites selling ad links or sponsored links are all the sudden being penalized, generally speaking - there are thousands and thousands of them.

We know G doesn't like manual penalties either, but these would almost certainly have to be manual to be employed. Hard to see how G could distinguish these any other way.

Besides, anyone want to try and explain what constitutes buying a text ad versus buying a link?

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