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Interesting article highlighting the fact that the Mirror.co.uk (a high profile UK newspaper) is selling paid links with blatantly optimised credit card anchor text.

This raises a wider question regarding the extent to which newspaper sites have started to embrace the lucrative industry of selling links.

If Google can't trust the links from traditional newspaper sites, which sites can they trust?


Comments11 Comments  

Comments

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from malcolmcoles 1783 Days ago #
Votes: 0

It's interesting that the comments on my original piece contain a couple asking what the point of outing this is. There does seem to be a split between those who think this is acceptable behaviour, and those (including me) who think that this behaviour lacks respect for users (who think the links are editorially granted when they aren't) and undermines the basic link model of the web. As David says above, if we can't trust newspaper sites, who can we trust.

It's also strange that in the UK there has been very little comment from media commentators - there seems to be an attitude of not sh*tting on your own doorstep (or perhaps 'there but for the grace of god go I').



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from malcolmcoles 1783 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I also love the big ad on this page that says 'links are SEO gold'. Too true!



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from seobro 1782 Days ago #
Votes: 0

If a big company does it - it is OK. However, if a small company like you does it - BOOM!



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from JonBMX3 1782 Days ago #
Votes: 0

SEO Bro makes a very good point about the paid links model. Never thought of it that but have to agree with him.



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from cosmiccarl 1782 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Hey every day, in every way I hate google more. BTW, Rupert Murdoch says Google should pay him for displaying content. Better yet, Youtube should get rid of 99% of the videos which are direct violations of copy right.

If my store had 99% of its items as stolen merchandise I would go to jail, but google gets a free pass.Don't get me started on how google plans to "TAKE" out of print books and make them available on the internet.



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from seobusiness 1779 Days ago #
Votes: 0

They should be fine as long as they don't start selling on a site like text-link-ads lol. I do find it strange that Sphinn promotes them regardless of se compliance.



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from yetanotherben 1779 Days ago #
Votes: 0


Weird that I Sphunn this last week and it went missing...?



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from Jill 1779 Days ago #
Votes: 0

It had gotten inadvertantly marked as spam (prolly cuz of credit cards in the title)



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from RobertW 1779 Days ago #
Votes: 0

As the ultimate defender of paid links - I have to say that this example isn't even that bad and very simple to defend!

The Mirror has every right to "cast a vote" for the site by NOT adding the "nofollow" attribute - Even if they got paid! Lets assume that before or after receiveing payment for the link - they took a few mniutes to look at the site and decide it was "OK" - much like moderated directories (example Yahoo dir, Business.com).

Also consider services like PRweb that take money for press releases - offer a few in content links and Bang - you've got a press release with seo friendly links - very similar to the type of content in this example.

Basically the Mirror isn't the only seller of links, and really selling links is not wrong, as long as they are moderated and add value to the user experience - which I can argue that this is the case here.




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from malcolmcoles 1778 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Robert - I think there's a difference between PRweb, where it's obvious what's going on, and a national newspaper. I agree that selling links isn't 'wrong' per se - it's just against google's guidelines. The examples I've quoted seem to breach those guidelines to me. But I guess that's a matter of interpretation.

Because we're also talking about a national newspaper, I would, however, hold them to a certain level of transparency - here I do think what the Mirror is doing is wrong. I don't know why those MoneyExtra links are there - but there is nothing in the articles that editorially justifies their inclusion. They need to be straight with their readers.

Interestingly, they seem to have started to remove the links in questions. See my follow up blog post.



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from RobertW 1778 Days ago #
Votes: 0


Malcolm - Just to respond. I would still have to disagree that these links would be 100% wrong according to Google.

Ultimately they published content and gave links to a website (for obvious interests), but the links add value to the content and improve the user's experience. The links are relevant and have been moderated.

In terms of transparency and them being a National Newspaper - Maybe I'm confused but if the Mirror had used the NoFollow attribute on the links the average internet user would not even know so really it’s a question about passing authority. Again I still feel that passing authority on paid links in some cases is not wrong like moderated directories, articles, press releases etc. I have to think that even Google could see this perspective as well or many sites seeing Google love would have been penalized for similar practices a long time ago.

Also the PRWeb and other online press distribution sites are also authorities and syndicate to National regional and local publications all the time so they are on a similar level.

Honestly I’m not attacking you and I definitely see how technically what your saying is true - I’m just saying that there are different shades of paid links and what the Mirror is doing doesn’t seem all that bad. The only thing I would have done if I were them is balanced the links out a bit with links to other useful sites.




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