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Matt Cutts walks us through a concrete example of paid posts and shows why the major search engines don’t want to be affected by links within paid posts.
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from wheel 2519 Days ago #
Votes: 4

OMG that is so true.  Paid links are bad because grandmothers who use Google to self diagnose their brain tumours may end up buying a set of Ginshu knives instead.I just skimmed the article, so I’m paraphrasing a bit.  But I think that’s the gist of Matt’s argument.

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from wheel 2519 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Follow up comment:  I’ve got to disagree with Matt’s mentioning that this is life and death (his words, and intent, not mine).  Anyone who uses Google for ’life and death’ matters and succesfully removes themselves from the gene pool as a result of using Google, well I’d say that’s an argument FOR paid links. 

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from Kalena 2519 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I agree with wheel - this is a pretty flimsy argument. If a shonky car salesman wearing a Simpsons tie and a bad toupe manages to sell me a rustbucket with no brakes, it’s hardly his fault if I have a serious accident driving it away from the showroom. Buyer beware and all that. I had a cancer scare earlier this year and I found more helpful medical information online than my specialist provided. I had no trouble finding reliable sources but I did my homework to make sure they were reliable. I think it would be pretty obvious to most people that sites like the ones in Matt’s post are the online equivalent of used car salesmen.Forgot to add: it’s good to see them FINALLY post something more concrete about the paid links scenario in the GG WM Blog though.

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from bwelford 2519 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I think so many PR people are out of touch with how the world really works now.  OK the Google PR people approved Matt’s post.  That doesn’t prevent many of us from finding it a completely insincere attempt to make a very black-and-white argument about something where many of the greys are created by Google’s behavior.  I think that this one backfires on Matt.  It’s a pity.  I think he’s basically a nice guy.

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from sza 2519 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Reading about the same issue on the "Official Google Webmaster Central Blog", one thing stood out for me.In the chronology of "our stance on buying and selling links that pass PageRank", a non-official site (mattcutts.com) suddenly becomes a reference for an official Google announcement."This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer."... But my employer will use it as a reference source when it is convenient. (Or more precisely, I will use it in my employee function on an official site when it is convenient for me.)

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from Kalena 2519 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Excellent point sza. They’re going to have their cake, eat it and hand out green coolaid while they do so. I used to think working for Google would be the ant’s pants. But I’d hate to be in their PR/Marketing team these days, talk about stress! @ Jill, I just re-read your comment and see your point. I would hope that such crappy sites would be filtered out by the algorithm before they get done for any paid review crimes. If they’re not, Google’s not doing a good enough filtering job.

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from Halfdeck 2519 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Google cannot rely on webmasters to keep its search results clean. If it does, and crap paid posts like those Matt pointed out do end up killing people, that blood is on Google’s hands.People have mouths to feed. Right or wrong, some people will do whatever it takes to pay their bills. That’s just a fact of life. Expecting people to follow rules is unrealistic. Google has the right to do whatever it wants to with its results/toolbar PR, but its time Google ruled webmaster cooperation out of its equation.

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from Halfdeck 2519 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Interesting comment:"The only thing I would mention is that I would not recommend removing paid links, applying for a reconsideration, and then add paid links back onto the site. That would strike search engines as very deceptive/spammy and could result in sites being permanently removed from Google’s index."Brent goes:"If Google decided to officially allow paid links, big budget sites would start buying links and it would be game over from there for all the webmasters who are currently for paid links. Why don’t people get that?"1. Link sellers have no problem with that.2. SEOs with fortune 500 clients have zero problem with that.3. Little guys would get pushed off the front page, but who cares?

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from MattCutts 2519 Days ago #
Votes: 3

wheel, I know someone who may have a tumor right now, and is trying to decide the correct course of treatment (between steroids, surgery, chemo, and radiosurgery). It’s pretty stressful for her and her family, because the doctors can’t determine what kind of tumor it is. They are doing a lot of searches to augment what the doctors are telling them. So this is not some off-the-wall example.And if you don’t think people use Google for medical searches, that really surprises me. Over Thanksgiving, we were heading to Tennessee to see my grandfather and my wife scratched her cornea. They didn’t have any internet/WiFi at my grandfather’s house, and it was late on Thanksgiving night when it started to get really bad. It’s a little hard to get hold of a doctor on Thanksgiving when you’re visiting rural Tennessee.I did have my iPhone, so I was able to send queries to Google. Looking at my web history, I was doing queries likescratched eyeballscratched corneahow to rinse corneapinqueculahospital winchester tnThat last query was because it looked serious enough to merit going to an urgent care center. Now if paid links had affected the results for any of those queries, that would have been disappointing. Most people wouldn’t want paid links to affect any of those medical search results either.Kalena, you might want to look at http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/selling-links-that-pass-pagerank/#comment-117622where someone’s aunt got buyer’s remorse because she bought something as a result of a paid review. The commenter says that he would never fall for such stuff, but noted his aunt did. So while you may be savvy, there are already examples of people not realizing that these are paid-for links. :(

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from MattCutts 2519 Days ago #
Votes: 3

bwelford, I’m sorry if you thought my post was insincere. I wanted to make a point about a search that you wouldn’t want affected. I could have gone with a less serious subject, but I thought that it made a point: if the results are good for a query, paid links can have a negative effect.Jill, you asked "Isn’t it Google’s job to weed out the crap from the good?" And I agree that it is. It’s our job to counter off-topic spam, but I also think it’s Google’s job to look for bias or skew in our search results and to try to prevent that as well. We’ve done a lot of work behind the scenes to make the search results better, but people had been asking about this subject, so I wanted to make sure that we explained our stance and tried to give an example that shed more light on why we take that stance. I think getting a post up on the official Google webmaster blog (and an example on my personal blog) will provide a good place where we can point people to when they have questions.

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from g1smd 2519 Days ago #
Votes: 4

The point about the crappy paid post was that the paid post was really there only to promote a link to some other site and to boost the PageRank for that other site.If the other site hadn’t been paying for that article, and hence that link, the crappy article would never have been posted in the first place. So, both the article and the link are pollution.

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from MattCutts 2519 Days ago #
Votes: 1

g1smd, you said that better than I did.

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from Rynert 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Lets assume that I link out to a quality site as it adds value to my article, then another company drops me an e-mail and asks if they can have a link on that page if they pay me.  I only want to link out to one site, but having looked at the second site I decide that it is of equal, or better, value to my visitors than the first.  I take their money and replace the link.Why should I no-follow the second, but not the former?

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from rockybalboa 2518 Days ago #
Votes: -2

Paid links are part of the natural economy google has created. It has made their results, and all search engine results better.  Consider my arguments -- Sellers create quality content and attempt to naturally increase their pagerank knowing that their site will be more valuable to buyers.  IE. "The better my site, the more income i can generate and the more food, shelter and clothing i can provide for myself and my family."  - Buyers spend money on buying links. But any small company or large company who is spending money on advertising - chances are their sites are good quality, their services are good quality, they answer the phone when you call, and they provide quality goods and services.  Even the radiology group that was highlighted, chances are there is a group/team of specialists behind that website and they will do their best to provide quality services to someone seeking brain tumor or scratched cornea help. Probably alot more help then a wikipedia article can. Few business who are buying links are going to flush their $$ down the toilet and not provide quality website and services if their webpage ranks higher now then before?   In fact, many can argue link selling/buying has made google’s results better then ever before.  However, the downside to all of this, the net effect of google’s change in policy: More Link buying, and Less Disclosure. Some % of paid links will be "detected" by google, so buyers need to buy more to offset them. Sellers who disclose their links ie "sponsored links" or put nofollow on them, their value is reduced now. So sellers and the marketplace adjust accordingly... Its a natural micro-economy.  Human nature is far more powerful then any algorithm can control or detect.  Although well intended, the only thing going after something more that humans want, is just drive it underground. And thats to the detriment of us all.

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from graywolf 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 1

@mattcutts what gives google the authority to determine what’s "right" and "wrong" on the internet?If people are niave enough to believe medical advice from Google they certainly are niave enough to let google tell them what they should or shouldn’t be doing when building their websites.Right now Google’s authority is dictated by it’s near monolpolistic market/mind share of internet searches. For anyone who doesn’t think so ask yourself if anyone would care or even notice if Lycos came out with a paid link policy.

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from MattCutts 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 4

"what gives google the authority to determine what’s "right" and "wrong" on the internet?"graywolf, I addressed exactly this question in the blog post on the official Google webmaster blog, which you can find at http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/12/information-about-buying-and-selling.html"Q: Is Google trying to tell webmasters how to run their own site?A: No. We’re giving advice to webmasters who want to do well in Google. As I said in this video from my keynote discussion in June 2007, webmasters are welcome to make their sites however they like, but Google in turn reserves the right to protect the quality and relevance of our index. To the best of our knowledge, all the major search engines have adopted similar positions.Q: Is Google trying to crack down on other forms of advertisements used to drive traffic?A: No, not at all. Our webmaster guidelines clearly state that you can use links as means to get targeted traffic. In fact, in the presentation I did in August 2007, I specifically called out several examples of non-Google advertising that are completely within our guidelines. We just want disclosure to search engines of paid links so that the paid links won’t affect search engines."graywolf, you also say that "Google’s authority is dictated by it’s near monolpolistic market/mind share" but you neglect to mention that every other major search engine (including Yahoo!, Live, and Ask) has said similar things about links like this. From the Forbes article:"Search engines hate this kind of paid-for popularity. Google’s Webmaster guidelines ban buying links just to pump search rankings. Other search engines including Ask, MSN, and Yahoo!, which mimic Google’s link-based search rankings, also discourage buying and selling links."So this is certainly not a Google-only issue. Every major search engine has taken a similar position.

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from graywolf 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 5

@matt I don’t see yahoo, msn, or ask doing as much campaigning on the issue as Google, from a public relations, grass roots, or FUD perspective. You want to throw a sabot into text link advertsing  machinery pull toolbar pagerank completely, we both know it’s the major metric used in pricing.Why does Google think the entire web should change the way it’s been doing business since before Google was in existance? Google relied on existing mechanisms in it’s algo to rank sites.  Now Google expects the entire internet to change the way it’s been functiong for years. To get people to follow along like obedient lemings google pushes the issue under the guise of an ethics debate, instead of using it’s own internal finacial resources to solve it’s problems like every other business in the world.Paid links is a problem Google created for itself with an overdependance on link based analysis.  Google should take responsibility for fixing it’s own problems, just like everyone else, instead of looking for a free handout from the rest of the world asking them to please do things in a way that makes things easier (and more profitable) for google.

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from Kalena 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@ Matt - earlier this year I bought a can opener from Big W (the Aussie brand of Walmart) that proclaimed on the front "Easy Open". They lied. I took it back to the store and got a refund - no biggie. Doesn’t mean I think Big W should reduce the variety of can openers they have available. In fact, if the store management decided to remove all can openers that contained the words "easy open" without testing any of them for quality, I’d be disappointed. Using emotional moral-based arguments and rare life/death scenarios does not automatically validate your examples. I’m probably not explaining myself well here but something about this whole thing smells and I’m very uncomfortable with it. I think Barry hit the nail on the head:"That doesn’t prevent many of us from finding it a completely insincere attempt to make a very black-and-white argument about something where many of the greys are created by Google’s behavior."I HATE the fact that I have to think about the possibility of using link condoms now whenever I want to link to another site.

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from IncrediBILL 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 4

Matt, I usually side with Google on most issues but some of that argument is weak.That paid article is no different than a paid advertorial in a paper or a magazine and I don’t see how s the purpose of the paid advertiorial is any different in print or online because the purpose is to get customers in both cases. If someone’s Aunt can’t figure it out in one media she probably can’t figure it out in the other media either so that argument doesn’t fly.FWIW, she might’ve known it was a paid advertorial if Google hadn’t made people afraid to post that they were paid for writing the article so perhaps Google even bears a little blame in the case of the Aunt.Besides, why do you care if the links are paid or not if the link is RELEVANT to the site or topic? If Google’s relevance detection is so good why not just discount the links if they are off topic? The original rel=nofollow claims were to help stop web spam but if the links were off topic, such as a link to viagra from Granny’s Crochet Blog, then the SE with the best relevance on the planet should’ve been able to automatically detect and discount those links.That’s the real rub isn’t it? That the algo can’t do it...Since the algorithm can’t figure it out resorting to McCarthyism to scare the hell out of webmasters is a bit much don’t you think?

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from MattCutts 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 2

"matt I don’t see yahoo, msn, or ask doing as much campaigning on the issue as Google, from a public relations, grass roots, or FUD perspective."graywolf, at one point this year I looked and the Microsoft Live blog had done 11 posts so far that year. The main Google blog had done 11 posts just in that past week. There’s two factors: people pay more attention to Google, and (in my opinion) Google communicates more to webmasters than other search engines do.I think the post on the official webmaster blog listed 14 different times we’ve talked about this issue, and there were easily 5-6 more times I could have added to the timeline but didn’t feel the need to.That’s 20+ times Google has communicated about this issue. I don’t think other search engines have communicated about *any* webmaster issue 20+ times. So I wouldn’t call out Google for talking about this issue especially much -- we do a lot more communication about all sorts of issues. We had a blog post about snippets and a video about snippets just in the last few weeks, for example. I don’t recall other search engines talking much about snippets recently.

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from graywolf 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 0

agreed that people pay much more attention to google, but that goes with the territory of being a market leader.20+ times about one issue? You don’t see that as "campaign"? Off the top of my head I can’t recall Google talking about any other single issue 20 times. While Google is an active participant in the Net Nuetrality debate IIRC they haven’t posted about that 20 times and that has a much bigger effect on the future of the internet than paid links ever will.

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from MattCutts 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 1

By the way, in case anyone is interested in the posts about snippets:http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/09/improve-snippets-with-meta-description.htmlhttp://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/11/anatomy-of-search-result.htmlI think someone else is working on a post about meta tags, which can also affect snippets.And you might have seen the post where we’ve got quality folks working on more communication in 12 languages in our webmaster discussion groups: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/11/dozen-ways-to-discuss-webmaster-help.html

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from wheel 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 5

"wheel, I know someone who may have a tumor right now, and is trying to decide the correct course of treatment (between steroids, surgery, chemo, and radiosurgery). It’s pretty stressful for her and her family, because the doctors can’t determine what kind of tumor it is. They are doing a lot of searches to augment what the doctors are telling them. So this is not some off-the-wall example."Oh Geesh Matt.  What’s next?  It’s for the children? My wife does this stupidity, looks symptoms up on Google then self diagnoses.  I forget what she figured out she had last time, but let me tell you it was weird enough that I quit having sex with her for a while just to be safe.  Damn paid links!  Cutting into my action.More seriously, Matt, if your results suck the fault lies with the pointy heads at the plex and their inability to decipher good content from bad.  It does not lie with webmaster behavior.  I think that right now Google is doing itself a huge disfavour by expecting webmaster behaviour to change.  I remember when Google’s message was listened to without animosity - but that changed when the message coming to us went from ’if you do bad stuff we’ll kick your ass’ to ’you need to change your behavior because it’s not good for us’.  Everyone still likes you personally Matt, but you’ll notice the message you’re preaching isn’t being received nearly as well anymore.  And the reaction changed at the same time as the attitude behind the message did.I also think the examples you’re using are basically doing a chicken little.  Life or death indeed.

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from IncrediBILL 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Doubt Matt will answer this but here goes..."- Inequities: Unfair advantage in our organic search results to websites with the biggest pocketbooks:"So what you’re saying is it’s unfair if someone buys their way to the to top of the search results spending money with someone other than Google, but it’s completely fair if they buy those top spots ABOVE the search results if they use AdWords?Probably a bit unfair, but that’s how it looks, care to comment?

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from rockybalboa 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I have a question for Matt -  are you a paid poster/blogger ?You are paid cash by your employer google (paid very well probably) and your personal blog contains post after post about google on regular basis.. It contains dozens of dozens of reviews about googles new products, news, and services...And why they are so great.  None of the links to google are nofollowed either.  Your links influence the search results probably alot more then any 2 bit blogger does.  Where am i wrong?  You’re paid by your employer, you write about your employer all of the time in your personal journal, and your links influence the search results... Not only of google’s but other search engines as well. How is it so different if at all?  And the Big Question - If you quit google and decided to work for another search engine Yahoo, MSN, Ask, etc. Would you then be singing a different tune on your own blog?   If so, why or why not?

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from MattCutts 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 2

wheel, I don’t expect everyone to agree with Google’s stance (certainly not the person who was taking money to write about "brain tumores"), but I did want to provide a clear explanation of Google’s view and an example that some people could review to understand the reasons for our stance.Some people will see that example and say "Okay, that makes sense. I wouldn’t want paid links like that to affect search results." A few people have said that it’s the job of the searcher to maintain their critical thinking skills. I agree with that, but there’s a couple extra issues: 1) not everyone is as savvy or search-smart as you or Kalena. They just aren’t, and Google needs to give good search results for less savvy users as well. And 2) if that brain tumor treatment site showed up at #1 because of paid links, that’s relatively opaque. You as a user might not realize that paid links came into play, so you wouldn’t have a chance to apply your critical thinking skills as easily when you assessed a search result.IncrediBILL, on the nofollow thing--I don’t care if someone uses nofollow or some other mechanism (e.g. a redirect through a robots.txt’ed out page is fine); what I do care about is whether a paid link passes PageRank. That’s my litmus test, and if the nofollow doesn’t appeal to you, you’re welcome to do it some other way.I think you and I agree that we don’t want our organic search results to be sorted by money? Otherwise, that’s where you get the query [harvard] returning test prep companies instead of the university. Our ads are clearly marked as sponsored, so people can understand that money comes into play in the ads. Even then, we’ve chosen to sort the ads not by who pays the most money--we try to ascertain the quality of the ad by using signals like clickthrough, so that the entire search experience is useful.

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from MattCutts 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 1

"And the Big Question - If you quit google and decided to work for another search engine Yahoo, MSN, Ask, etc. Would you then be singing a different tune on your own blog?"Even if that were to happen, Rocky Balboa, all the other major search engines have taken a similar position about paid links. Tim Converse said similar things on his blog when he worked at Yahoo, for example.

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from MattCutts 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"Off the top of my head I can’t recall Google talking about any other single issue 20 times."graywolf, I’ve debunked the twin myths of "buying AdWords makes you rank higher in Google" and "buying AdWords drops your ranking in Google" at least that often.Often, I’ve wished that I could bring people from the "higher rankings" conspiracy together with the "lower rankings" conspiracy and let them duke it out between themselves. :)

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from IncrediBILL 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 2

OK, but ads being clearly marked or not, the end result is whoever has the most money wins which was my point, and Google is just strong arming the little guy into giving up his piece of the pie and now the link sellers children will go hungry. If you can trot out feeble minded Aunt’s, brain tumors and wounded eyeballs then I’ll trot out the children who’s mouths paid links feed that will soon go hungry.Not like I’m advocating paid spammy results, but I think you’re walking a fine line here with the SEARCH and ADWORDS dept. having two different agendas that ends up both serving the bottom line while all chant search purity. The real issue here is that it appears Google can’t determine which PR passing links are earned or deserved vs. paid and that’s causing this war on webmasters to potty train them into separating the good from the bad that the algo can’t detect.At a minimum, paid link sellers are going to go underground just like the speakeasy selling booze during prohibition. What Google will be left with is a bag of ill will from persecuted sites that were more or less previously open about paid links. Meanwhile, those that were previously smart enough to fly under the radar with paid links and posts will continue to do so and more will join their ranks that used to be easily visible and quietly penalized. Not only won’t this most recent campaign solve the problem, it will will cause the problem to become so pervasive and elusive that you may never solve it;Do I think Google should’ve done something about the problem?Yes, but I think the heavy handed current approach is going to royally backfire.FWIW, Harvard is another bad example because if Google can’t determine that the best results for Harvard is actually Harvard itself and not some test prep company pushing to the foreground then paid links is the least of your problems at the plex.

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from MattCutts 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 0

IncrediBILL, I used the Harvard example because in the old days, searching for [harvard] on Overture wouldn’t return Harvard University anywhere in the top 100+ results or so. You got the test prep sites.The same thing happened for Disneyworld. If you searched for [disneyworld], you wouldn’t get Disney World. You’d get a bunch of places trying to sell you coupons and hotels for Disneyworld.And Overture used to have to fake the maximum $50 bid for redcross.org because otherwise if you searched for [red cross] you’d get all sorts of suboptimal stuff.Overture no longer exists as a standalone search engine, but I remember what it was like when the search results on Overture were sorted purely by pocketbook. Surely you remember all this? I’m not that old. :)

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from IncrediBILL 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I remember all this but you trot those examples out like the same problems happen at Google, say it isn’t so!

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from rockybalboa 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Actually, my big question / point about singing another tune, was -You write frequently about google in your blog. They pay you in check/cash i assume (as an employee), and you frequently review your companys products and services paying you, in your personal blog.  If you decided to quit and worked for another search engine, ASK for example.  Would www.mattcutts.com  be writing more frequently about the features, new products, services, about ASK.com on your blog?    (this is what i meant by singing another tune, about your new employer in your blog).  You’re paid money by company X and obviously it influences what you write about. None of the links are nofollowed either. If you quit and company Y hires you, suddenly your blog posts are so focused and positive now about company Y. Unless you’re really looking to be fired by company Y, I doubt youll write much about company X anymore in the way that you used to.Is it reallllllllyyyyy much different?     I think its a fair question.

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from SlightlyShadySEO 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Ok Matt, I have one question for you. What kinds of penalization are occuring as a result of this? Is it just that the links deemed "paid" are no longer factored in, or is it a legitimate penalty on the site itself?If it’s the latter, what’s to prevent the sabotage of competitors?I don’t do the whole paid-per-post thing, and never have, so I’m honestly unsure as to how this is handled.

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from MattCutts 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 0

IncrediBILL, those problems don’t happen at Google, but if no one took a strong stance on issues like paid links, the odds of situations like that would go up.rockybalboa, I pretty much write about what interests me. I’m lucky that what interests me is also my job. When I look at paid posts for colon cleansing, car loans, or "save money on insurance" or "samsung 46 inch lcd," I do see a difference.

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from IncrediBILL 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Why would anyone write about the Samsung 46 inch LCD when the Panasonic 50" Plasma is so much better?I can see how that would look spammy...

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from SlightlyShadySEO 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 0

:-( no answer for slightlyshady :-(

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from Snoskred 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Matt Cutts said - "rockybalboa, I pretty much write about what interests me. I’m lucky that what interests me is also my job. When I look at paid posts for colon cleansing, car loans, or "save money on insurance" or "samsung 46 inch lcd," I do see a difference." And that, right there, is exactly why you are wrong on the paid posts issue. There may be some bloggers out there who write blog posts on any topic just to earn the cash. Then there’s people like me, who DISCRIMINATE and choose carefully what paid posts we will consider doing because it is something that interests us, or it will interest our readers. The problem originated because you created page rank. The easy solution is to remove that green bar and those numbers. Why are you choosing to do it this way and alienate so many people and put Google in such a precarious legal position?

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from MattCutts 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 2

SlightlyShadySEO, did you pick that name because of my shadyseo.com example? :) Let me try to answer your question now."What kinds of penalization are occuring as a result of this? Is it just that the links deemed "paid" are no longer factored in, or is it a legitimate penalty on the site itself?"We reserve the right to take pretty broad action within our rankings. A domain that sells links that pass PageRank can lose the ability to flow PageRank, it can lose PageRank in the Google Toolbar, it can be demoted, and if the content is spammy enough, it can be removed from Google’s index.

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from MattCutts 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 2

"There may be some bloggers out there who write blog posts on any topic just to earn the cash"? Snoskred, look at those examples from my blog. I had tons of other examples and had to pick a few to illustrate the point. These were people who said that they’d never heard of that brain tumor treatment before posting about the subject.For what it’s worth, I personally would like to remove the PageRank display in the Google Toolbar or switch it for some other indicator. But there are a ton of non-SEO people who use the Toolbar and appreciate the PageRank display.So I think it’s fair to say that I’d certainly be open to that approach.

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from MattCutts 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 1

By the way, Snoskred, when you asked whether "Google was the new terrorist" at http://www.snoskred.org/2007/11/is-google-the-new-terrorist.html I wanted to talk about why Google was quiet on the subject for a while.There were at least a couple factors about why I was quieter for a while:- At SES San Jose, one of the big points we heard was "We don’t think Google can detect paid links, and we don’t want to hear Google talk about this any more. Why don’t you stop talking and just fix the problem?" So after SES San Jose we decided to talk less about the issue and just put our head down and execute. So we concentrated on just executing and developing new algorithms and techniques instead of doing the same communication as before.- It does take time to collect examples, write a post and then get it approved by legal/PR/etc. I also had a logistical project at work, so it took a while until I had enough cycles to get the posts fully ready.

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from SlightlyShadySEO 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Matt Cutts Said: "We reserve the right to take pretty broad action within our rankings. A domain that sells links that pass PageRank can lose the ability to flow PageRank, it can lose PageRank in the Google Toolbar, it can be demoted, and if the content is spammy enough, it can be removed from Google’s index."Ok, so it’s just the site selling links that’s demoted(ignoring the loss of PR flow to the buyer), so long as the buyer is not spammy looking. Cool. I just like to be able to give accurate advice when people ask, and there were a few out there worried about the possibility of site sabotage.As for my domain, I actually did not know you owned shadyseo.com until today! Although I will admit to searching to see if shadyseo.com was available when picking a domain name, I didn’t think to check the whois! An interesting surprise though. I was pretty excited(I’m such a dork)

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from MattCutts 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Great minds think alike, eh SlightlyShadySEO? :)We are mindful of people worrying about site A trying to hurt site B, and try very hard to prevent that.

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from Rynert 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@ Matt - Heh, did you miss my question, or I your answer?http://sphinn.com/story/16720#c20422

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from sza 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 1

"But there are a ton of non-SEO people who use the Toolbar and appreciate the PageRank display."Appreciate it as being what?

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from SlightlyShadySEO 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@szaHypnotic. To see the terrible reality that the toolbar has inflicted on the populus, I reccomend you go to your local "digital point", and witness the sadness.@MattCutts, thanks for the answer!

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from cre8pc 2518 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I think it’s fascinating that Google (or any SE) is blamed for how people use it.  Self-diagnosis was done long before search engines appeared or the Internet.   Before, when people wanted information, they went to libraries, book stores, local newspapers that have health advice columns, friends and coworkers.I can see how SE’s are hoping to take the volume of information available and are trying to control the accuracy and integrity of the data.Good luck with that :)

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from MattCutts 2517 Days ago #
Votes: 1

sza, I was saying that lots of regular people use and like the PageRank display in the toolbar. That’s completely aside from SEOs.Rynert, if you’re receiving payment for a link, that link should be done in a way that doesn’t flow PageRank. If you think the second link is better for users, why wouldn’t you just swap for the better link without anyone paying you for it?

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from sza 2517 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"lots of regular people use and like the PageRank display in the toolbar"Lots of regular people would probably also like "Joke of the day" in the same toolbar. Why not try such a replacement? You can still roll back if it all ends up in mass demonstrations for bringing back the green bar. :-)[added: I understand you would like to see it go; I just don’t see the business case for keeping it, when it creates a load of headaches for Google.]

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from Rynert 2517 Days ago #
Votes: 0

<blockquote>Rynert, if you’re receiving payment for a link, that link should be done in a way that doesn’t flow PageRank. If you think the second link is better for users, why wouldn’t you just swap for the better link without anyone paying you for it?</blockquote>Maybe I would do that if the second company made the same request without offering the cash - but, whichever path I take, the link that I end up with will be the site that I feel most warrants the link.So, given that my editorial choice is the same, whether I am paid or not, why should I no-follow the link if when there <b>is</b> payment?It’s like you are saying *just because* money is handed over the no-follow should be applied, irrespective of the reasons for adding the link. 

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from northrock 2517 Days ago #
Votes: 0

nice...., this sphinn thread turned into a great discussion, maybe not quite up to the 250 comment level like at mc.com, but a good one.the way i see it is pretty simple. google needs to protect the integrity of it’s serps and they see a lot of sites with paid links that are less than stellar. why should they reward them with link juice? they have to go after them any way they can and i would expect nothing less. i know many paid links do in fact link to quality content but too bad, that well is drying up. as it is now, if one cup of the water is tainted, it’s all tainted.google and the rest of us know there is no way to 100% determine paid vs unpaid links but google can’t afford to just turn off all links as a signal of quality or else their algo and serps would take a giant step backwards. they gotta buy time and to do that requires a little flexing of google muscle and strong arming folks away from paid links that pass the juice. while they do that they are testing other social and behavioral signals and will eventually shake their link dependency.

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from MattCutts 2517 Days ago #
Votes: 1

sza, if a "Joke of the day" appears in the toolbar now, I’ll have to send credit your way. :) Thanks for the suggestion.Rynert, I believe that if someone has to pay to get a link added, that link is not as editorial as if the linking site just added the link on their own.

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from JohnWeb 2517 Days ago #
Votes: 1

"I believe that if someone has to pay to get a link added, that link is not as editorial as if the linking site just added the link on their own."I’m still waiting on that spontaneous commercial link from the Yahoo! directory. Oops, looking at very very bottom of the page there’s a little asterisk that says, "<font face="arial" size="-1">*</font> <font face="arial" size="-2"> Yahoo! Directory Submit is required for commercial listings but is available for any site that wants expedited processing and guaranteed turnaround time for a listing request."Some how that link that someone has to pay for is considered editorial... and please let’s not play the "your paying for the review game" as that’s so easy to skirt around with by selling products, donations, and giving free links, and numerous examples like w3 loosing their ability to pass PageRank on donor pages, or Google itself redirecting links on their own pages for customers that bought products where the appearence of paying for a link was to be defused.Just as there may be a very small percentage of people actually paying to get in the yahoo directory for those 3 clicks a year, the majority lately are trying to get the link juice, and someone has to pay to get that chance. So Rynert, if you run Yahoo! feel free to charge, otherwise I’d guess it’s against the rules.I believe that Matt Cutts really believes that selling PageRank is bad for Google’s index and everything he does and says is to try to improve that quality. I just cannot believe that he endorses some sites like Yahoo! doing it while others are punished for the same activity, the real story I believe has many political reasons behind the scenes that I’ll never be privy to.</font>

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