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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.
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.
The truth is that people who are doing this for a living are damd good at it and you can't stop them no matter what you do. Out.
I really don't care if Google passes the PR or not. It doesn't make any difference to me. That is unless they start skewing the results, and I think that is when Google will start to care too.
Go ahead and buy the ads. Just don't start crying when that ad stops passing PR *if* it does.
I do not think they will penalize FoxNews or The site that buys the ad. That would be just plain wrong. But if the results get skewed because of it, I could easily see them blocking the PR with a filter.
What makes me mad about this whole thing is that there are so many people here crying foul to try to get sites banned for moving onto the next wave of internet marketing(buying text links). Stop your crying, telling, fingerpointing, adn mass spam reports tring to bring other people down to your level(just becouse you can't compete) and start playing the game or getting out of the way.
If the "game" of selling PageRank influences Google's search results, then you can be sure that Google will find a way to deal with it--not as a kindness to the Webmasters who make you mad, but to maintain Google's quality, credibility, and continued profitability.
It's a well-known fact that some of the things SEOs try do more harm to their rankings than good. As always, it pays to research things like this carefully. And if you think that there's something out on the web that Google should know about, we're always happy to get feedback regarding potential quality problems via our spam report form at
"Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you'd feel comfortable explaining what you've done to a website that competes with you. Another useful test is to ask, "Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn't exist?"
That is all kinds of vague. In this case, the problem with purchasing links is that there is no way of knowing what the purchasers intent was. For example, there are lots of webmasters around here who would be delighted to have a link on the home page of FoxNews even if it didn't pass on PR for the click through value.
For example, there are lots of webmasters around here who would be delighted to have a link on the home page of FoxNews even if it didn't pass on PR for the click through value.
I agree ... It is difficult to determine the motivation. So, the onus is on Google to find out how to resolve this issue to maintain the quality. I believe for now they are doing some manual corrections (as I have seen in a few cases) to address this issue ... but it is not perfect as too many are flying under the radar.
Currently many sites in top categories rank very well merely due to link exchanges. Now is that an endeavor towards manipulation of pagerank?. And when does link exchanges cross line?. What is acceptable or not and how long?.
Ok .. many questions. My take on all this is have a quality site and ensure that the visitors who land on the site finds exactly what they are looking for and the site conversion rates are at least above the industry averages. And then go with acceptable SEO practices like link exchanges and text link ads etc. Do not ever use cloaking, hidden text, gibberish text/content soley meant for SEs although some of these still work and many spam reports to Google went unheeded. Oh, well they might address them in the algo next month:)!
[edited by: przero2 at 7:00 am (utc) on Mar. 26, 2003]
There seems to be a fair amount of people here that define spam as "any site that ranks above me." The minute they see someone doing better than them, they instantly try to find "dirt" on them and hit the spam report. And they claim to be ethical. Funny.
This whole thing starts as an assumption...that everyone that is on the internet knows about PR and those that place ads on other sites in the form of a text link is obviously trying to buy PR. That assumption is wrong.
And furthermore, who is anyone here to tell me, including google, what kind of ads that I can place for my site? If I choose to use text link ads in my ad campaign, I should be able to do that without being penalized by google. The fact of the matter is that sites that generate a lot of traffic, which is something that I would look for as an advertiser, generally have higher PR. To penalize for this would be wrong.
If I wanted to pay for PR, I'd hire someone to get links for me and optimize my site so I can rank higher in the search engines. I hope nobody reports me for that because in reality, that is what I would be doing...buying PR.
It's a well-known fact that some of the things SEOs try do more harm to their rankings than good. As always, it pays to research things like this carefully. And if you think that there's something out on the web that Google should know about, we're always happy to get feedback regarding potential quality problems via our spam report form atI hardly think that a site selling text links on their sites, no matter what they are using the determine value of those links, could be by ANY definition of the term called spam. :)
This particulair site had no idea that "bad neighborhoods" existed, so it may be that the algo didn't change, but that the sites behaviour bit them in the *ss.
This last dance made it clear that the smart folks at Google have begun to fix this. Few of the folks using that site are above a PR7 now. This site "Wunderful" site is no longer worth $2500 a month for a link. Not even close! I bet the sites buying links are actually going to be LOWER than if they hadn't purchased.
Pays to behave!
"The value of passed-through PageRank can go down as well as up".
You don't need the highest PR's to get to the top. Plenty of ways to beat higher PR sites. Most problems in this world originate just because ppl envy others for what others have and they don't.
Lucky the discussed site is foxnews. If it was some smaller company they could be banned just by such silly rumors.
I am also not happy that GG is encouraging jealous webmasters to spy on each other and report to them. Perhaps Google should improve customer relationship with webmasters that have "real" problems where usually emails are ignored or answered with meaningless standard replies.
Right. For a page to have high PR, that is going to require that lots of pages be linking in its direction. Which will mean lots of page views. Absent the existence of Google PR, if someone were thinking of buying links on a page for the click through value, these are the pages that would be most desirable.
przero2, you missed the point... the links from that site are now either not helping the sites' PR's anymore, just costing them lots of $$$
Yes - I understand that must be painful unless the advertisers are getting quality traffic in which case it does not matter really. If I guessed this site right, they are one of the Google's content partners and gets millions of page views everyday. And a targeted text link throughout this site means, the clicks will pay back the ad $$$. Isn't this the reason why Google also displays Adwords on this site through their content syndication?
My philosophy is that the publisher is simply choosing to allow advertising on their website.. A crime? I don't think so. So perhaps the motivation of the person buying the link is purely PR.. so what? who cares? That is exactly my motivation when asking for a free link, why shouldn't it be when paying for a link?
The publisher doesn't deserve to be penalized, because they are simply making money off their hard work.
The advertiser doesn't deserve to be penalized, because they are simply trying to drive traffic to their website and are willing to pay for it. Anyone who claims they haven't invested money in increasing their PR, is simply lying. I have invested money even though all my links are free, simply by spending more on ISP costs searching the web trying to find good links. Perhaps you didn't intentionally work for your PR - you still have unknowingly spent money and time getting that PR.
Some may choose to take the shortcut and simply buy one link. Some may do it the hard way and chase down a multitude of sites asking for links. Either way, they have paid for that PR in some form.
Having a diversified set of links to your site is always going to be better in the long run .. not too many eggs in one basket!
If Google wanted to take the PR selling possibilities from people, all they would have to do is disable the toolbar display.. of course, you could still check in the directory for a vague idea of how high a site is ranked, even without the green bar ; )
Those that consider this as spam or illegal or unfair, are usually suffering from PR envy or a case of "If you rank higher than me, you are spamming somehow." (I think skunkworks said something like that above).
My philosophy is that the publisher is simply choosing to allow advertising on their website.. A crime? I don't think so.
The publisher doesn't deserve to be penalized
True, and I doubt that Google would ever directly penalize a site for allowing advertising as long as they are noe explicitly selling PR.
The advertiser doesn't deserve to be penalized, because they are simply trying to drive traffic to their website and are willing to pay for it.
Also true, and I doubt that Google would ever penalize a site *just* for buying an ad.
But the advertiser does not receive any guarantee that the PR from that ad link will be passed to them. It is not the publisher's to sell. Google can decide which links it will and will not have pass PR.
If the links from a certain type of link from certain high PR publishers cause damage to search results, you can be sure that they will consider filtering out those links from the PR calculation without ever *penalizing* anyone. The publisher will retain their PR and the advertiser will have the PR from all the links to their site that Google decides to count.
Google's actions are not limited to the "penalized or banned" that are tossed around here. There are many, many smaller steps that they can take, that you might never even know that they have taken.
Google has made it clear that Pagerank is their "own opinion" [webmasterworld.com] of a webpage.
The interesting part of the discussion is not if you are allowed to sell/buy (text)links or not. As long as you do not mention Pagerank - Links are just another currency on the web.
The interesting part will be how far Google will go in limiting Pagerank and Page Rank passthrough benefits from clearly bought links and how they will identify "bought links".