Hi webmasters. Just had a direct offer asking me to add a link to their site-service regarding X thing related to widgets. It is a well known european company. I was not aware they offered to buy links.
I just travelled a month ago to X big-country regarding historical widgets and it was kinda difficult to find "something" in such big city. I've been travelling around 5 countries including this one regarding those widgets because I have a website related to those widgets and their history but this last one is by far the more complicated.
I learned the good rules on this site and always played by those rules, that's why research personally and take the pictures myself to have pure original content. That's why I've been there and I'm aware of such related services. I was in fact, about to add a page or link regarding those tools because in this last case it was really difficult to solve this need for free of course. Surprisingly I get this offer a while later. There is something coming on as a special season so I get they are trying to expand before that special date.
There is no way on earth I could build up a guide regarding this difficult thing because I don't have the time or interest (I would like to but I can't right now)...
So the thing is: 1. ┐How much this paid link can hurt me? I was not aware of this company buying link. The email seems legit, it comes from their domain-email. 2. Surprisingly I was about to add links to such pages as recommendations to my readers because at the end they are very useful tools. I never included a paid link on my sites and I don't think within that context, I just offer useful stuff to my readers, but without thinking I was about to add a free link that could have become... into a penalty? (because I was not aware some of them buy links).
Would you add such link? I'm kinda confused because at the end this tool is very useful and it makes sense to me regarding the benefit of my readers. Would you add a link to a good useful tool-site if you suddenly discover they buy links?
Sorry for the long text, tried to fill in the blanks to explain the context.
Balance the risk with the reward. Is the reward worth the risk? Some may say it's a very small risk and I would agree. But it's still a risk.
Another option would be to view this as an opportunity for exploring an alternate way to collaborate with them that would be mutually beneficial while staying outside of the conventional paid links box.
One trick, I used to do to attract link buyers such as these,(quality companies), was to do a free link to a website that was number one in Google for a competitive keyword. Amazing how quickly companies a little below in the serps would contact and offer to 'pay for advertising'! ;)