While Google's Matt Cutts is on a campaign to eradicate all unnatural linking, Yahoo!'s Jeremy Zawodny is defending them. In recent news, WebGuerrilla writes Zawodny Says No to Link Condoms which basically describes how on Jeremy Zawodny's personal blog, he has paid links from a well known text link ads brokerage house. Jeremy responded to the criticism late last night defending the paid links he has on his site;
- I didn't hide the links. (Remember the WordPress fiasco?)
- They're clearly labeled as sponsored links.
- They're far less annoying than distracting graphical ads.
- I've made it possible for anyone to comment on them. In public. Who else does that?
- They don't show up in my RSS feed(s).
- I rejected the on-line casino, drug sales, cheap hotels, and really offensive stuff--basically, anything the reminded me of blog comment spam I've bit hit with or that sends me to a sleazy feeling site. No need to encourage 'em.
- The links aren't permanent. They go away after a month (see below).
I pretty much know how Matt Cutts of Google would respond to this. If I had to guess, he would tell Jeremy to put the nofollow attribute on these links. My prediction is that these ads will not last, the pressure from Yahoo! and the industry will force him to pull the ads. Time will tell.
Forum discussion at Search Engine Roundtable Forums.
Update: Matt Cutts of Google response to Jeremy. Basically, Jeremy can do what he wants and the engines can do what they want.