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I hate beating a dead horse, but I think it’s all in our best interest to try to understand where are the lines that have been drawn when it comes to purchasing links. I reference comments from Matt about paying for a Yahoo Directory listings to show the line.
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from JohnWeb 2464 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Getting that "trusted" status like yahoo! is the key, and the unknown.  Otherwise everyone would just sell and e-book for $299 and have a directory of their favorite customers, the arguement being that you sold the ebook not the link and you editorial choose to link to your customers.  As far as I know Yahoo! doesn’t publish a list of the sites they reject somewhere, I’m sure Matt has personally talked to a Yahoo! person and knows it for sure, but the majority of sites won’t get that opportunity to prove their links are editorial.Bottom line is that it’s Google’s line and Google’s sand.  You can draw it wherever we want and they can feel free to move it at will.

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from webuildpages 2464 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@JohnWeb.....yes, "can draw it wherever we want and they can feel free to move it at will. "...but this has been a consistant line for years "Reviewed and Not Guaranteed" is at least OK for Yahoo...is it OK for Mom and Pop?....I think Mom and Pop and SEO’s would really like to know what that line is. ...they may move it at will...but people doing SEO should really be told the answer to "hey, are the rules on paid links and yahoo the same rules for everyone else?" Personally I’d trust a website owner’s review more than a yahoo employee reviewer. My Yahoo listing of webuildpages is a prime example where an editor got it wrong. I’d bet webmasters review ads just as long, and probably longer than yahoo editors do.

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from IncrediBILL 2464 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Trusted is trusted.Paid is paid.You can’t mix and match randomly.Rules need to be applied evenly, therefore Yahoo should be banned from Google.

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from JohnWeb 2464 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@webuildpages I agree that there should be an actual clarification and not just more googlespeak but I doubt it will happen.  There are probobly other forces at work here as if mom-n-pops blog is dumped from the index for doing PPP nobody cares, but if Google dumps Yahoo, the most visited domain in the US and a competitor it’s on CNN.

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from AndyBeard 2464 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Jim lets take an example, you recently tried to purchase a review from me - I turned it down, but a few days later you got a free mention with a link. Doing that didn’t cost me any time, or require any kind of special endorsement.If I had accepted the money, and written 2000+ words about your site, with the discretion of linking to you or not, if I had linked it would have had to be nofollow. The only difference is the time it takes and what value is placed on it.You would have also run the risk of having a critical review at the top of the SERPs, which is a risk you don’t have with Yahoo.People who mentioned the product using affiliate links didn’t have to use nofollow, even though they might have more financial gain.If I linked to you with ?ref=andy and you cleaned it up with some php, Google would have to treat the link as an affiliate link even if it wasn’t.You are not alone, I have probably rejected 80% of the reviews I have now been offered, many for time reasons, a few are off-topicA freelance writer writing about a product even if they are paid monetary compensation is arguably less biased than an employee or shareholder.If you paid me to review Google Reader, I am sure I will pick more holes in it than any PR review by a Google employee from their personal blogs.Robert Scoble has talked about Microsoft bloggers having a mailing list for new products to blog aboutSure there are bloggers out there that have less editorial control and respect of their audience than I have, but those same bloggers also probably don’t have as much effect on Google’s algorithms.And then of course there is the value of a single link from my blog where I often have more than 200 links on a page, tons of those from comments.I have been treading water for 12 months because of the grey areaJason Calacanis links through to new pages on Mahalo all the time, what if all shareholders in Mahalo did the same? On every topic they wrote about?

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from webuildpages 2464 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@AndyBeard....sounds like you’re more fussy than a Yahoo editor with your reviews. For that product I was asking a review of, I submitted it also to the Yahoo directory which had a guaranteed review, and was listed in less than 7 days.

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from Halfdeck 2464 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Reviewed and not guaranteed is just rhetoric.Paid reviews aren’t guaranteed and they are reviews...The only difference is a Yahoo reviewer isn’t directly bought by the submitter - which may remove some bias, but it also allows reviewers to get sloppy because they get paid no matter what they do.The real test is simple; does directory X list links that would make Google look good? If it does, it doesn’t matter how the links got there, Google will welcome them.The fact is Matt Cutts can’t trust a mom and pop looking to make a quick $50 with a paid review but he has blind faith in reviewers from a big company like Yahoo.

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from AndyBeard 2464 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Exactly Jim, I am not selling links, unlike YahooBut if I had written a full review it would have taken me a lot of time, and I would have linked through to the interview you did with Shawn, the one with Lee, maybe the video on the Pepperjam blog, and those are all wordpress blog posts.I don’t know the inner working of Akismet, but if they are smart they would check pingbacks for a nofollow link - Spam Karma has been around longer and checks for the presence of a link, it just doesn’t check for nofollow.Matt has been suggesting that links from a review should all be nofollowed, thus I could possibly get myself blacklisted in Akismet if I used nofollow.Thus this doesn’t just affect my links to a person I am reviewing, but has a great influence on my editorial control.

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from MattCutts 2464 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Hey Jim, I wrote about this topic in more detail in my April 2007 paid links post: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/how-to-report-paid-links/ . Here’s what I wrote then:"Q: Hey, as long as we’re talking about directories, can you talk about the role of directories, some of whom charge for a reviewer to evaluate them? A: I’ll try to give a few rules of thumb to think about when looking at a directory. When considering submitting to a directory, I’d ask questions like: - Does the directory reject urls? If every url passes a review, the directory gets closer to just a list of links or a free-for-all link site. - What is the quality of urls in the directory? Suppose a site rejects 25% of submissions, but the urls that are accepted/listed are still quite low-quality or spammy. That doesn’t speak well to the quality of the directory. - If there is a fee, what’s the purpose of the fee? For a high-quality directory, the fee is primarily for the time/effort for someone to do a genuine evaluation of a url or site. Those are a few factors I’d consider. If you put on your user hat and ask "Does this seem like a high-quality directory to me?" you can usually get a pretty good sense as well, or ask a few friends for their take on a particular directory."I highlighted the part in bold that says that search engines reserve the right to look at the overall quality of the links for a directory or a program. I think Eytan from Microsoft also said it well when he said "The reality is that most paid links are a.) obviously not objective and b.) very often irrelevant. If you are asking about those then the answer is absolutely there is a risk." So I think every major search engine is going to reserve the right to trust some links more and some links less.

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from webuildpages 2464 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Hi Matt,Would you expand this logic of "If there is a fee, what’s the purpose of the fee? For a high-quality directory, the fee is primarily for the time/effort for someone to do a genuine evaluation of a url or site." to websites that are not directories?

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from martinibuster 2464 Days ago #
Votes: 0

>>>Would you expand this logic... to websites that are not directories?Good directories exist as gateways to high quality websites for users who visit the directories. A site about recipes does not exist as a resource to high quality sites about travel. That’s advertising at best and link manipulation at not-best, take your pick. Yahoo was founded as a gateway to the Internet and continues to be a relatively fine one. In fact, Yahoos founder just yesterday underlined their mission to remain a "starting point" for the web when announcing job cuts to serve that goal.  When a site about various topics accepts paid links, is it diverging from its mission as a source of information? Or do the paid links transform it into a hybrid of a directory/info site? Or is it simply a case of going through contortions to call a paid link anything but what it is, a paid link?

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from Halfdeck 2464 Days ago #
Votes: 1

"If you put on your user hat and ask "Does this seem like a high-quality directory to me?" you can usually get a pretty good sense as well, or ask a few friends for their take on a particular directory.""If I put on my user hat I wouldn’t even look twice at any directory.

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from webuildpages 2464 Days ago #
Votes: 3

When I put on my user hat I don’t ask "Does this seem like a high-quality Directory" I ask "Does this seem like a high-quality webpage" - I could care less about directories too. I can’t believe there’s a seperate criteria for directories and for websites in general....seems like it should be "if this is the rules for yahoo, this should be the rules for any website". I don’t agree with "These are rules for paying directories"....paying a website is paying a website...don’t care if you’re a directory, a blog, a forum, a mom and pop site, etc.

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from webuildpages 2464 Days ago #
Votes: 3

I also wonder how many people submit to the Yahoo directory for the traffic the directory is going to bring (ya right), and how many people buy that link for the link juice...c’mon, who’s kidding who here? Yahoo is a paid link....pure and simple....and the rules google gives for why it’s OK to pay Yahoo (for review and non-guaranteed) should apply to everyone.....otherwise, like Bill said, Google should punish Yahoo for selling links.

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from Wiep 2463 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I also wonder how many people submit to the Yahoo directory for the traffic the directory is going to bring (ya right), and how many people buy that link for the link juice...c’mon, who’s kidding who here? Yahoo is a paid link....pure and simple.... Come on Jim, you know that you’re paying for the review when you submit something to the Yahoo directory. That’s why submitting an adult website is twice as expensive; those types of sites take much longer to review...:Pand the rules google gives for why it’s OK to pay Yahoo (for review and non-guaranteed) should apply to everyone.....otherwise, like Bill said, Google should punish Yahoo for selling links.I couldn’t agree more...

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from Harith 2463 Days ago #
Votes: 0

So lets summarize: For a directory to be trusted by the search engines, it should meet the following terms:- The directory doesn’t list every submitted URL.- The listed URLs should be of high quality (relevant, objective, not spammy).- If there is a fee, it should be primarily for the time/effort for human editors to do a genuine evaluation of a url or site.Thats it! ;-)

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from JohnWeb 2463 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Doesn’t anyone find it a bit odd that as long as this "Yahoo can sell links, why can’t I?" argument has been going on that nobody from Google has mentioned another directory/site that they don’t mind you buying links from?  Matt has quoted his original blogpost, as he did here, about 10 different places I’ve seen and has yet to provide the name of another "high-quality directory" that fits the description.I think Yahoo is the only place that has an exemption to the paid links war because they are Yahoo; a competitor, a long established site, newsworthy if Google removed them.  Since we can’t go back in time and start another paid directory before Google’s birth, I don’t think they will be allowing any other paid directories any time soon.  I tend to believe that this is a decision made behind closed doors to not only allow Yahoo to sell these links but also recommend it in the webmaster guidelines, perhaps its damage control, or trying to not look like the monopolistic bully of search by reaching out to poor little Yahoo who can’t seem to get their act together, I don’t know, but I sense it’s deeper than just their quality is so great they can sell links.  By any other standard it would just be a worthless directory that gets you no traffic.  The links are not editorial at all since you need to pay to be considered, anyone that has a link in the directory will tell you that you don’t get any quality targetted traffic from it.  The buying a review angle is just something thrown out there to get everyone off of the scent of the real problem.  If google removed it’s endorsement in the guidelines and gray barred the PageRank it would die a sudden and well deserved death.  And that would be a news story that wouldn’t be good for Google.  It’s one thing to piss off a bunch of SEOs in forums and blogs that only SEOs read, but it’s quite different when Larry King is talking about it.I’m a nobody in this industry, but why doesn’t someone with some clout come out and ask for an expanded list over the 1 they already endorse.  Give us some examples of these "quality directories" that are only selling reviews but also just happen to pass along some PageRank.  If Matt could point of five such sites that fall within his guidelines, at least those of you that would like to sell your links, err I mean editorial reviewed directory listings, would have a larger sample to judge by.

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from TTellijohn 2463 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Isn’t the fee Yahoo charges alone kind of an indicator that they’re selling the links more for link juice than traffic value, if the fact that everyone pretty much acknowledges that no one gets any traffic from it isn’t?How long does it take to review a site--15 minutes?  30 tops?  Even at that pace (which I would be shocked to find out is accurate), that’s $600 an hour--at that price, I hope I’m getting a VP to review my site, or at least some high level director.  Not just some lowly editor who may decide because they’re having a bad day that my site isn’t good enough to warrant a link.So, if I’m paying $600 an hour (or more) to have someone review my site to get a link that doesn’t drive traffic, what would be my other logical reason for doing so...

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