diberry - 1:46 am on May 26, 2012 (gmt 0)
"Google is essentially in the business of building rank lists which means they are in the business of busting those who manipulate those lists and this is a good move on their part. "
I don't blame Google for banning a company that explicitly sells/buys links to game their algo. No problem.
But where I do have a problem is that Google has been using their near-monopoly control as a gateway to internet traffic to force *everyone* to stop selling/buying links for *any* reason. Link selling existed long before Google - how else do you think anyone got their site exposed before search engines existed? Not all link selling is about Google.
So far, Google hasn't dared to ban a site for merely selling or buying links, because that site may or may not be trying to game the algo - they may just be trying to get some traffic, and link buying is a perfectly legitimate way to do that. But they have lowered site rankings when they suspect paid links. If they ban someone purely for selling links, that would constitute using their near-monopoly status to force businesses to adhere to Google's rules, and my understanding is that would put them in clear violation of US anti-trust law. (Remember, it's okay to be a monopoly, or near-monopoly, so long as you play by certain rules.)
So if Google wants to ban services that promise to bump you up in the engines through algo gaming, I think they're probably on solid legal and moral ground.
But I really question their history of lowering sites in the SERPs for engaging in paid links. Imagine if instead they were telling you to stop taking out TV ads, because TV mentions of websites were becoming part of the algo - and if you didn't stop taking out ads, they'd make sure virtually none of their enormous customer base ever heard of your business. It's the same principle, and it's legally and ethically problematic.