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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.
The gray area of this subject is never ending. Black is white and white is black.
Heck with it.
Among the strong opinions I have.
First: PageRank is like the American Legal System. It may not be perfect, but it is the best system there is. I hope Google keeps it and before they eliminate it, disable the toolbar and PR showing in the Google directory.
Second: Never count on Google for a majority of traffic. Diversify. Diversify. Diversify.
Third: Everybody needs to rewrite their definition of the word spam. (My competitor is beating me! whine, whine, whine)
Fourth: Three full months into the year 2003, and Google's New Year's resolution to communicate better with webmasters is failing miserably. It is widely believed that both the spam report is useless and emailing Google is pointless.
Fifth: There is a lot of truth to Brett's post on Entropy, part two, which did not attract the amount of attention it deserved.
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).
What does fairness have to do with it? If Google decides to take action against overt buyers and sellers of PageRank, it will do so to protect the integrity of Google's search results.
Not all examples of PageRank buying and selling are obvious, of course. But some are. It doesn't take a genius to look at a site like wunderground.com (which was mentioned in an earlier post) and deduce what's going on. Google's "search quality" team may well decide that links from such sites deserve to be ignored when calculating PageRank. Google wouldn't even have to issue a penalty--just by making those expensive links worthless, it would discourage manipulation of its PageRank formula by sites that buy or sell links.
Too many Webmasters and SEOs think that Google exists to serve them. That's a mistake. Google exists to serve its users and investors, and its staff will do whatever's necessary to protect Google's search integrity and profits.
I am involved in the loans industry and noticed my competitor is buying pagerank on a bunch of .org sites that are obviously owned by the same person/company. These sites are all "support the children", "teach children how to read" "adopt a child" sites and have very high page rank.
Come on, loan sites listed as "featured sites" on "support the children" sites? Note that all other "featured sites" are related to the "help the children" idea.
This guy's page rank has soared to 9 during everflux. I am scared to see his ranking in next update. HE already jumped to #1 across board at Ink.
I think the answer is that they don't like it, but have no automated way to detect it. Only when an obvious example comes to their attention, like wunderground ... and maybe soon foxnews, are they willing and able to take some action.
Is it obvious? According to pradnet they were selling links on PR6 pages for $69 each. As I commented, I know teenagers that have PR6 pages. One of my amateur sites even is PR6. Now stop and think. If that is the real value of a PR6 link, what do you think would be the response of a teenager with a PR6 homepage if someone out of the blue contacted them offering to pay $200 a month for 3 links? The kid likely doesn't even know about Google PR, and unless he has the Google toolbar on his box (most people don't), he wouldn't know what his PR even is. To him, it is just some sucker willing to pay 200 clams a month for 3 links. The kid's likely to just take the money, and say "Thank you, sir".
Not necessarily. Person contacts them out of the blue saying "link to me with this text, and I'll pay you x dollars a month". From the point of view of anyone selling advertising, small text links are less objectionable than big banner ads. And, as this is advertising, one would expect the paying customer to decide the text of the ad. Makes sense for the links to be keyword stuffed from an advertising perspective: tells the potential customer what you are selling.
>Sticky mail me if you want the url.
As you've disabled sticky mail, that won't work. ;) Mine does, however.
And before anyone asks, NO I WILL NOT TELL you who is selling PR8 links for $100 a month. I refuse to assist anyone looking to buy or sell PageRank as a matter of priciple.
If a site is openly selling pagerank or trying to turn it into a commodity via some kind of PR ad network, then I agree Google would and should act. But surely Google has more important things to do than trying to decode the possible motivations of the sponsor and the publisher of some website.
Actually, the guy you think owns all 9 links actually owns 3 or 4 of those. I know for a fact that 5 of them belong to other people. And 2 of those 5 belong to another single individual.
Forgot to mention - The guy who owns those 3 or 4 links has posted on this very thread and is a full WW member!
I think you misunderstand how I think this should be handled. I'm not saying that I think the site selling the links should be penalized. Arguably a webmaster has the right to sell links on his site. The question is whether *bought links* should pass on PR to the buyer?
"PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B."
I can prove these links on that PR8 page are bought. Now, please explain to me how a *bought link* from page A to page B is a democratic vote? If I buy a link from them, they ain't voting for me because my site is a good one. They just like the color of my money. Why should I benefit from bought "votes" by getting a high PR because I bought a money order and sent it to the webmaster? If Google is serious about PR being a democratic vote, and I can prove a link on a PR8 page is bought, if Google allows that link to transfer PR means that they are openly allowing buying of PR. If Google doesn't act on the complaint I intend to send, then that means that what they have on their site is hollow and a sham. Also, I don't think the sites buying these links should be penalized. Merely that Google not allow PR to flow from the links I can prove were bought.
I don't think this is necessarily a good arguement. There are plenty of sites that will not accept paid links from other sites simply because they do not feel the site being advertised is of any value to it's visitors.
I think all links are endorsements, but some are just paid endorsements.
Your idea of a "worthwhile link" is one that exists only because money changed hands? If so, you have a much different idea of what is a worthwhile link than I do. And, what is inappropriate for me to submit a spam report to Google? I have sent many to them in the past. This is the first one that I submitted where I mentioned GoogleGuy and my Webmasterworld handle though. I will be interested to see whether Google will allow the blatant purchase of PageRank in this instance.
Personally, I really could care less if a paid link would pass PR to me or not. I could show you hundreds of examples where PR doesn't equate to better rankings.
I just saw a commecial on TV - MethodMan and RedMan endorsing a deodorant stick. That strikes me as a little off topic and unrelated.
Whether you pay for a link or not does not make it legit or not. If I get a free link on an unrelated site that's fine. If I pay for it that's not fine? So many people here would like to think that the only appropriate links out there are free on-topic links. That's just plain naive.