Text Link Ads New Product, InLinks, Causes New Link Debate Brawl

Nov 20, 2008 • 8:29 am | comments (1) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO
 

InLinksI often try to stay away from talking about all these heated link debates, but sometimes, the discussion around these debates are so important to our industry, that I find myself having no other choice to write about them. That being said, Text Link Ads launched a new product named InLinks, which is being coined around the web as being extremely hard to detect as a form of link buying. So not are they only a good source of advertising, but one might argue they can be extremely valuable in terms of possibly improving one's ranking in search engines.

So why am I torn about writing about this topic? A few reasons:

  1. Link buying is a very controversial topic and people get really heated about discussing it.
  2. Patrick Gavin, the face behind the product, is a really nice guy - if you get to know him
  3. Google hates, I mean, hates this form of advertising
  4. Text Link Ads is not only a long time advertiser of this site, but also a client of my company

So when the news came out, several blogs picked it up and ran with it. The most noted blog to cover it is TechCrunch, who wrote a post and then later updated to include Google's Matt Cutts comment. Matt said, in short, that these types of links are against Google's terms of service and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not condone such activity. That is all we needed to start a huge debate on the topic of Google standing up so strongly against this product.

ShoeMoney's Does Google Really Want To Go Down This FTC Route was featured on Sphinn, where Jeremy shows his displeasure with Matt using the FTC claim. Jeremy calls the FTC document just a "suggestion" and then goes on to point fingers at Google's AdSense and AdLinks product as "engaging in some of the most deceptive advertising methods" he has ever seen. Matt replied to Jeremy saying, "the FTC has more than the power of suggestion." Matt then goes on to imply that Google should have no issues finding these links and uprooting them.

Now, you as the SEO or advertiser need to decide for yourself if you want to go this route. Most SEOs I know are very into trial and error.

There is the beginning of discussion at the Sphinn thread, but honestly, most the blogs own the discussion right now.

Forum discussion at Sphinn.

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Comments:

Michael Martinez

11/20/2008 06:09 pm

" Matt said, in short, that these types of links are against Google's terms of service and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not condone such activity." This is as close as Matt has ever come to lying, in my experience. The Federal Trade Commission document he referred to is NOT discussing links. Google arbitrarily defines links as endorsements, going against the common convention that links are only references and connections. Matt has repeatedly implied that the FTC lends the weight of law to Google's stance on links, and that is completely wrong and false. The United States Government disclaims all links as endorsements on its own Web sites, and the FTC is only concerned with the disclosure of clear and explicit endorsements -- an endorsement constituting a positive recommendation for use or acquisition of a product or service. The FTC does NOT define links to be endorsements.

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