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Google have obviously been clamping down on paid links during the last year, but it now looks like they may also be taking a stance against blog reviews made in exchange for free gifts!
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from renesisx 2120 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Crazy. How far are they willing to go with this?<div></div><div>Those links weren’t bought. If the recipients of the chairs didn’t like them, they could have not blogged about it. Sumo never asked for a review or expected one. They hoped for one, sure.</div>

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from Chris1 2120 Days ago #
Votes: 1

It all comes down to the fact that Google wants to credit links that are editorial.  When 50 top bloggers suddenly post about and link to a totally unrelated site about Sumo bean bag chairs with keyword-rich anchor text, its probably not an editorial endorsement of that site.Will it be possible for Google to identify and discount all paid links?  Probably not.  Will they be able to identify and discount all links that are "free gift" blog reviews?  Probably not.  But, if its obvious that links are gained through "free gift" reviews (and therefore not editorial), then Google should be all means consider them exactly the same as paid links.My take on this is if you want to do send free gifts to blogs to get a favorable review and some link love, its best to send your gift to bloggers related to your product and don’t send out a ton of these gifts all at once.  If you are promoting a new high-tech gadget, send it to TechCrunch or Engadget.  But sending free beanbag chairs to ShoeMoney and lots of other blogs in exchange for links to your site is going to be easily detected by Google.People can complain about this policy, but I doubt they will get Google to change its mind on the matter.  If you feel that you really need this tactic to gain links, the best bet is probably just to be smarter (less conspicuous) about how you send out the free gifts.

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from bwelford 2120 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Google always seems proud that it most often works by algorithms rather than human judgement.  I wonder how algorithms work on this concept.  I think they’re a merchant with its hand on the scale. .. erm.

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from shaunoakes 2120 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I agree with bwelford, how the hell does an algorithm equate what is a paid link, or a free gift blog review? What if your product received mainstream press, and suddenly 100 bloggers started writing and linking to your specific product. Would "paid link" red flags go off then as well. Too many variables to be effectively enforced.

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from MattSawyer 2120 Days ago #
Votes: 0

>>It all comes down to the fact that Google wants to credit links that are editorial.Is sending out products for review not editorial? Going back several years I worked in publishing across several trade journals, sending out products for review is the oldest mehod in the book for getting product based editorial.The biggest problem at the moment is nobody knows where Google has drawn the line in the sand.I’m pretty sure that this penalty (if it is indeed a penalty) is a manual one.

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from Jeeb90 2120 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"Those links weren’t bought. If the recipients of the chairs didn’t like them, they could have not blogged about it. Sumo never asked for a review or expected one. They hoped for one, sure."Yea, right.  I’ll send an email to a PR 8 blog and go, here’s $300.  I HOPE you add my link to your blog. I’m sure Google will like that...

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from seobro 2120 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Google is eval.

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from Chris1 2119 Days ago #
Votes: 1

"Is sending out products for review not editorial? Going back several years I worked in publishing across several trade journals, sending out products for review is the oldest mehod in the book for getting product based editorial."Well, like my earlier post pointed out, sending your new gadget to TechChrunch is legitimate, but sending a Sumo chair to ShoeMoney isn’t.  Last I checked, shoemoney.com was not an oversized bean bag chair review site.

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from MattSawyer 2119 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I don’t reacall Matt Cutts selling medical devices either, but that doesn’t stop him posting reviews like these, http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/my-favorite-pedometer-omron-hj-720itc/I’m also seeing some fairly optimised anchor text within that review.I completely agree that Sumo were stupid in their choice of targets and the fact it was so blatent. However I’m struggling to see much difference in their actions to what can be read into Matts post above.

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from debram 2116 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Matt - do we know for a fact SumoL lost their visible PageRank because of the promotion?  Agree it’s highly probable but did anyone from SL write Google and ask if that was the case?

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from MattSawyer 2116 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@debram It’s all just speculation at the moment. I doubt there with be any information made public anyway.

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