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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.
As far as (c) goes, there's absolutely no way an algorithm can identify paid links on diverse sites. I can see ways to *begin* writing such a routine, but it could never be reliable.
there's absolutely no way an algorithm can identify paid links on diverse sites. I can see ways to *begin* writing such a routine, but it could never be reliable.
There seems to be a mistaken impression that any changes to the google algo have to be 100% reliable and totally fair.
Nothing that google does has to be either. All it has to do is make more of the search results better after the change than before.
Luckily, Google does seem to care about their image with webmasters. They try to greatly limit the collateral damage when they make a change.
You are right, it is almost impossible to identify all paid links, and do it without having false positives. Look at the trouble they are having identifying all the different Guestbooks.
But if they can take away a reasonable percentage of the paid links, in those cases where they are causing problems with the search results, it will not matter if they get it 100%. If they are only able to get the top 10% of the troublesome links, it can make a huge difference in the quality of the SERPs.
If I were Crobb, I would be completely pissed off;)
I am not really pissed off...just disappointed. WebmasterWorld was meant to be a place to discuss and learn. Not tattletale. I am still waiting for Needsomehelp to come back and face the drama he has caused. He needs to explain to me why he turned in a spam report for nothing more than bitterness. My site is clean, and has been for 2 years. I have no doubt that Google will determine his "report" to be frivolous.
Also I just checked all sites in question and I see no drop in PR at all. So maybe there is some confusion as to who we are talking about.
I do believe in Internet Karma.
When I read all of the posts here, especially the point about the Redman and Methodman deoderant commercial my opinion sways. I just thought this guys approach to finding and listing sponsors was a little strange.
I swap links with sites to try and improve my PR, does that me make a spammer? I don't think so.
Although it is strang seeing such different products, people, comapanies, whatever, promoting eachother it is your given right to link to and from whoever you want. The higher authority will make the decision as to what is right and wrong.