The Link Nazi: No Text Link Ads For You!

For better of for worse, an economy has built around the buying and selling of links. Google doesn’t like the TLA economy very much. That’s not news. We’ve all known that for a while. It screws with their fundamental metric of a page’s value. Really, the big surprise so far has been Google’s lack of decisive action in this regard.

Up until now, they’ve taken a bunch of half-measures, like placing a delay on the Toolbar PageRank.

But it seems that things, well, they are a changing. A Spring Offensive is underway.

As many of you may know by now, Matt Cutts is calling on the webmaster world to report paid links. Cracking down on PR transferring paid links is Google’s prerogative of course. And really, there not telling us we can’t have unqualified paid links on our sites, just that we should be prepared to face the consequences.

So far, the consensus seems to be that rather than issuing penalties, Google will simply devalue any link juice from links they determine to be purchased. Whether Google’s new methods will deflate the TLA economy remains to be seen. What’s clear is that they’d like to see the TLA economy burst into a million pieces. And Google has the resources to make their wishes come true.

The sad thing about this development, as Raj Dash points out in our forums, is that for many bloggers, Text Link Ads is the only real source of monthly income. For the small scale blogger, Google AdSense brings in pennies a day. Text Link Ads has the potential of making all the time and hard work worth it. It scales down well to the little guy. Google AdSense, on the other hand, doesn’t scale nearly as well.

So what are your thoughts? Should Google be cracking down on Text Link Ads? Is doing so not much different than cracking down on alcohol consumption during the prohibition era (a minor pleasure for the average blogger)? Or is the imminent short-term pain a necessary corrective for the long-term health of the net?

10 thoughts on “The Link Nazi: No Text Link Ads For You!

  1. something like I buy/sell undisclosed, I buy/sell disclosed, I buy/sell disclosed undisclosed, I only buy, I only sell, etc.

  2. and if they can’t convince you to use Checkout, Adwords and the Google Way, you can always TRY Google Search for an alternative. lol

  3. Selling promotional spots to a target market is Marketing 101. it’s part of the 4 P’s of Marketing ( ).

    Of course, Google hopes webmasters never discover this. G would prefer something like this:
    Price ( Use Google Checkout – Google gets a cut)
    Place ( Use Google Adwords – Google gets a cut)
    Promotion ( Do it the Google Way. Obeying Google, or else… – again Google gets a cut)

    Product placement is normal and everywhere in the offline world.
    Some examples of hidden promotions on Smallville:
    1. Yaris is mentioned as a travel solution when Superman losses his powers.
    2. A Toyota logo and Yaris is seen in a promotional “cartoon”.
    3. Yaris is promoted as the Sponsor of the promotional cartoon in (2)
    4. In the episode called Labyrinth, Superman escapes a Mental Hospital and is rescued by Chloe in a brand new Toyota Yaris. ( Again, Yaris was seen as part of a solution )
    Watch the Labyrinth episode:

  4. The current action is more of a dentata than a profylactic. Google is looking to penalyze after the fact or harm during the act rather than prevent or propose a viable solution that solves the market needs and drive. Blacklisting, blackballing, or nuking a PR is not a new concept, but this time around they are looking at codifying it into a process driven by an open source community that definitely has subjective reasons to snitch even when there is no true foul.

  5. Google is attempting to leverage its weight and force smaller fish out of the market that are providing a solution to the market. The solution happens to solve a problem that Google itself created by inventing the concept of PageRank.

    That said Google is rapidly moving in an Anti Trust direction. Matt Cutts may or may not have the blessing of the Google Legal team. There was a time when they could do some things off the cuff and learn to tweak the algorithm. But they are rapidly approaching the point where those little tweaks (reminiscent of the day when Microsoft wanted to tweak its OS by forcing the installation of IE or media player and other programs) are going to land them in serious anti-trust problems. The DoubleClick by is just the tip of the iceburg getting ready to roll in the bay. Only a portion of the iceburg actually is visible above water, when the Google burg behemoth rolls (that is not a crash just a roll) then there are going to be big waves. The problem is that Matt Cutts is acting as if he is still on a small Ice float as opposed to an Iceburg.

    He and the rest of the google team need to come to grips with their multi national obligations to not be evil not because its in their mission and because they feel like it sometimes, but because failing to do so will break multiple laws around the world.

    I wonder how much Adword Ads will sell for when the Class Action attornies start advertising to bring in clients to sue Google . . . Maybe it will bump Mesothelioma lol

  6. Soxiam,
    When I wrote “What’s clear is that they’d like to see the TLA economy burst into a million pieces.” I was tempted to write “What’s clear is that they’d like to see the TLA economy burst into a million little AdSense dollars”.

    To answer your question, I don’t think that Google is losing money from TLA, nor do I think they ever would participate in TLA. Why? Because Text Link Ads, on a large scale, remove power from Google. Google makes its money by being the most relevant search engine. They are worried that as the TLA economy grows, they’re going to lose the upper hand in determining a site’s value and the value of page in the search results.

    If Google *were* in the TLA business (I don’t they’d ever get in because it undermines a more lucrative part of their business) then it would be much harder for them to choose the “high road” – as is evidenced by their current symbiosis with sploggers and MFA sites.

  7. I find it strange that more people aren’t crying foul and pointing out one obvious reason why google is coming down hard on paid links: they’re not getting their cut. If google is the force behind paid link transaction and making their profits off the economy, would they still be preaching why paid links are bad for their users?

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