Google Fights Paid Links & Yahoo Defends Paid Links

Dec 13, 2005 • 9:19 am | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO

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.

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12/13/2005 05:45 pm

I don't see any "nofollow" on the Sponsored Links in the left nav on this site. That seems rather hypocritical, don't ya think? What's the difference here? Is it because this isn't a *personal* blog? The lines between personal/hobby/corporate blogging are all blurring, and if one person ought to follow the rules, everyone should. Or maybe the search engines should lay off the web publishers/developers and concentrate on what they *can* improve: their own algorithms. It's a whole lot more difficult to rewrite an entire internet, so that it plays by their rules.

Barry Schwartz

12/13/2005 06:08 pm

I think its a bit different, don't you think?


12/14/2005 04:53 am

I don't know that it's "Yahoo" defending paid links, it looks more like Zawodny is just doing what he chooses to with his own site.

Jeremy Zawodny

12/14/2005 08:09 am

I haven't even read your post yet and have to comment. Your title is just plain wrong. The fact that *I* experiment on my personal site has nothing to do with what "Yahoo" thinks about it. Seriously. I'm sure it's fun to paint this as a "Google vs. Yahoo" thing, but don't bark up that tree. There's nothing there.

Jeremy Zawodny

12/14/2005 08:11 am

WTF just happened to my comment? Anyway, your title is just plain wrong. Making this out to be a "Yahoo vs. Google" think is barking up the wrong tree. And you know better. What I do on *my* personal site is my business. If I experiment, I experiment. I've been pretty open about this, past experiments, traffic sources, money sources, etc. It has nothing to do with Yahoo policy.

Barry Schwartz

12/14/2005 12:06 pm

Jeremy, I just it took a second to load your comment. :) I have no problem with you not using the nofollow tag, honestly, I do not care. I am just pointing out how a search rep from each of the major SEs have handled the paid links on their personal blogs. I am actually happy you took a stance. I think more of you now then I did before. Oh, the title does have a ring to it. Doesn't it? But you must read the entry before commenting.

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