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http://www.searchengineguide.com/robert-clough/search-engine-guide-publisher-responds-t.php

At the end of his article, Robert Clough of Search Engine Guide asks some terrific questions that he and the SEG staff have to consider:

"Are we willing to risk losing the traffic Google sends simply because we don’t buy into this crazy notion? Will we nofollow every paid link just because Google demands it? At this point, I don’t know. It’s a decision that will be made based on what is best for, and with the input of, our readers, advertisers, contributors and employees."

All of the other sites in the same situation as Search Engine Guide also have to consider these questions. Bow down to Google, or not?

I, for one, would like to encourage Robert and everyone else to be open about the decisions you all end up making on this issue. Directly or indirectly, your decisions will affect all of us in some way.

I look forward to further articles and posts, not about what Google did, but about how the online publishing community responds.
Comments15 Comments  

Comments

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from AndyBeard 2471 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I have been concentrating on updating my post with feedback from people affected, especially the blog networks.I have responses from B5 media, 9Rules & Splashpress Media

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from bwelford 2471 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Whatever position Google may wish to take on this, it looks to me like a PR (that’s Public Relations) nightmare for them.

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from crimsongirl 2470 Days ago #
Votes: 1

A Public Relations nightmare for Google?  I don’t think so.  Most Google users don’t know about this situation, and if they did, would not care.  If anything, an attack on paid links would make users trust Google results more.I’m surprised at the storm of protest about Google’s recent actions at sphinn and industry blogs.  I’ve been working in search marketing since 2000, and I know some sites sell text links, but is it really a big part of the industry?  Maybe the link sellers and brokers are just very vocal.  I think that’s it.I get mad at Google all the time, and part of the reason I get mad at them is that marketers can move up in the SERPS by using paid links.  Google’s recent move, although it might prove futile, is a good start.

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from bwelford 2470 Days ago #
Votes: 0

crimsongirl, I don’t think this is going to go away.  I believe the motivation for Google is almost entirely to support their Adsense and Adwords programs versus other competing advertisers.  Of course they can choose to do what they wish.  However normal publishers to preserve their integrity have a Chinese wall between their editorial function and their advertising function.  Google is not doing that.  Let’s see where this goes.

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from graywolf 2470 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I agree that mos of the users don’t "get" paid links, however explaining to them that Google is taking steps to make competing advertising products look worse, I wouldn’t say that’s a trust inspiring move.For example if Major League Baseball had the ability to make superbowl advertising look less attractive, the self serving conflict of interest is painfully obvious.It’s because Google has cultivated the image of garage start up, lava lamps, bean bag chairs, and colorful childlike bouncing ball logo’s that people don’t see them as the ruthless domianating business force that they are.

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from iBrian 2470 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Has SEG actually lost traffic?Because from my own experience, length of the green bar on the toolbar has no correlation with traffic and rankings. So I really really don’t see what the big issue is.2c.

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from mpilatow 2470 Days ago #
Votes: 1

As far as what I have read they have not lost traffic. I don’t believe the issue has anything to do with traffic. It is more about Google using their power to tell publishers what kind of advertising they can sell and how it should be displayed. Most users do not know about the big blowup this week but many do know about the green bar and there are quite a few who look to it to determine the quality of a site. Right or wrong, it is happening and if Google tells them that this site is no longer reliable some users will not trust it. Google is doing this to sites, not because they don’t have good content or are not trustworthy but because they won’t follow Google’s instructions on how to sell advertising on their sites.

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from iBrian 2470 Days ago #
Votes: 1

"I don’t believe the issue has anything to do with traffic"It does, though. If there’s no loss of traffic or rankings, then the only loss is one of ego.Going from PR7 to PR5 has nothing to do with users deciding not to trust a site - heck, who really cares about toolbar PR values aside from SEO’s and webmasters?

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from mpilatow 2470 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Well, most legitimate SEO’s don’t worry too much about TBPR but I agree that a lot of Webmasters do. Honestly, you would be surprised to know how many regular users out there look to the green bar as a sign of the trust and authority of a site. It’s not the majority but it is more than you would think. And it is more than a loss of ego. It is the belief that Google is telling publishers how to run their sites. Either do it their way or they will slap you and make your site look less important.

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from TimDineen 2470 Days ago #
Votes: 1

@crimsongirl - agreed@graywolf - I disagree with the analogy.  The fact that the NFL runs ads during the Super Bowl doesn’t negatively affect the MLB so they’d have no reason to try to make it look bad. The NFL is competition for annual ad budget dollars, sure, but its not harmful to the product of the MLB or vice versa.  While in this case Link buying/selling hurts Google’s product.To continue the analogy - the NFL (link buyers/sellers) would have to send several players onto the field to tackle unsupecting baseball players in the middle of the game and while being escorted off the field they’d spit on the fans ;)

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from MattC 2470 Days ago #
Votes: 1

@graywolf - I don’t think trying to persuade Google users would really make any difference. If most users are non-industry people, they really won’t care. Its like someone telling me that at their job, this happens, that happens... while I can empathize, at the end of the day I can’t worry about stuff I got my own problems.  Users may walk away with more insight, but they are still gonna use Google.

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from thejenn 2470 Days ago #
Votes: 2

"Google is doing this to sites, not because they don’t have good content or are not trustworthy but because they won’t follow Google’s instructions on how to sell advertising on their sites."That sums it up quite nicely IMO.

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from cre8pc 2470 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Google was never an entity I wanted to worship or be dependent on for anything, but success with that engine is good for business. When they turn around and do something illogical, with no reasons offered, it causes me to lose respect and any desire to do further business with them because now, I don’t trust them. I don’t work with people I can’t trust. It’s really as simple as that.

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from RobertClough 2470 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@iBrian: No loss in traffic and the number of inbound links is up so no complaints on that front.For us TBPR is meaningless.  From what we know, this is the third manual adjustment they’ve done on us and our advertisers have stuck with us because green pixels don’t affect our ability to deliver customers to them.But, a significant loss of traffic would hurt us and that is what will happen if Google decides they really want to do harm.  So, what Jennifer and I are doing now is looking at how much traffic Google sends us, how much it will cost to replace it and how quickly we can replace it.

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from Halfdeck 2470 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"I believe the motivation for Google is almost entirely to support their Adsense and Adwords programs versus other competing advertisers."If you truely believe that, you don’t have a firm grasp of Google’s business model."Bow down to Google, or not?"Rather dramatic. If I invite you into my house and you don’t follow my rules, you think I’m going to allow you to stay?If you don’t want to follow my rules, then don’t come into my house. Or don’t let me catch you doing something that pisses me off. It’s that simple.Every website has its rules and guidelines. EVERY one of them, not just Google. In the adult industry, many people get traffic from submitting free sites to link lists. Here’s a list of "rules". Notice these are rules you MUST abide by, not "Guidelines." If you break the rules you get blacklisted.http://www.link-o-rama.com/greenguy/therules.htm# I only list Free Sites (warning page leads to main page leads to gallery pages) No galleries, no pay sites, no avs sites.# Pic Sites: 24 pics minimum with at least 12 pics/pageMovie Sites: 120 seconds of movies with at least 10 seconds/movie (movies may not have more than 1 second of ads in the beginning or at the end of the movie)Story Sites: 10 stories per site with 500 words per story# You must link back to us - recip links are over here. This link MUST be on your warning page above the enter link.# Pics must have a combined width & height of 1200 pixels. Good: 700 + 525 = 1225 Bad: 640 + 480 = 1120# No pop-ups or consoles or new windows.# No blind or misleading links what-so-ever (especially back to us) No one benefits from crap traffic!# You must be trading traffic with at least 5 other established Link Lists. I’ve been getting way too may sites that have just my link on them & no one else’s. I send you traffic, you send me traffic :)# No links to sites that have masked pictures as their main pictures - I see no point in these at all.# The content must be on the same domain as the site. No hotlinking images, no linking to hosted galleries.# No more Full Page Ads (FPA) of any kind - (Full Page Ad: anything that takes up more then 3/4 of my screen - I have a 17 in. monitor & am set at 1024x768, so now you know my limits)# No more than 1 link request per webmaster/company per day.# No pics that open on html pages are allowed.# No Free, Sponsor or Revshare Hosted sites - go buy a domain & get some hosting or find a new hobby.# No free email address - we all have an real legit email address - use it.# No autosubmitters - we review each site by hand, you can submit it by hand :)# If your submitting a site that has 2 or more pages from the same set of content, the content MUST be in order. I’m sick of seeing sites where page 1 has the girl ending up completely nude but page 2 has her stripping all over again.# Your site has to look decent at 1024x768 - if there is a pixel of scroll or things just look "off", it will be declined.# No sites with 3rd party counters will be listed. Get some stats on your server.# No more crappy vid caps for your pics - video camera’s take movies, not still images.# No more sites with broken English.# Sites built from the same template my only be submitted once a month.# No text or ads that would lead the surfer to believe the content is illegal.# If we just plain do not like the site (this happens when I’m in a bad mood)So it’s wrong for these sites to have "rules"? Or ban submitters that multisubmit 100 times a day using 100 domains running through a proxy?

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