Back in December of 2006 John Chow started a very aggressive link back campaign, in which he would give a link back for every review of his blog when the text anchor ‘make money online’ was used. John now has over 870 links from various sites as a direct result of this campaign. This has proved to be very successful for John, because since inception of the link campaign his blog income has grown from $2790.05 in December of 2006 to $12,569.61 in June of 2007, an increase in revenue of $9,779.56.
Link campaigns haven’t attributed completely to the growth in revenue, and in the below image you can see the differences in advertising since the beginning of the link campaign.
The largest increase came from ReviewMe, because the cost for a review from John has gone up from $100 to $400. John has also added had a huge increase in affiliate sales. If you are like me, you are probably wondering how he is charging for subscriptions. Well it appears he is charging to allow people to have no-follow tags turned off in the comment section.
The aggressive tactics which have resulted in such high revenue growth have come at a high price. It seems that Google is ‘manually’ punishing John and has dropped him to the 51st result for the term “John Chow,” and his “make money online” campaign has been dropped to 57th. While John himself doesn’t show up in the first several pages, others have been quick to profit from his misfortune:
While John has stated that he does not live by Google traffic and the drop from Google doesn’t seem to concern him, it appears that Google isn’t the only one mad at him. He is known for purportedly stirring up trouble at Digg and at one time was banned only to be allowed back later and have the majority of his articles buried. Furthermore, while Technorati has John listed as number 55 out of the top 100 blogs indexed, if you look at the top 100 page there is no mention of him at all.
I was able to ask John (via email) what he thought of Google dropping him so far, and why he thought Technorati did not show him in the top 100. He had this to say,
“Google dropping me down in the search result is disappointing. However, that’s the way it goes sometimes. You can cry about it or you can continue to build. I have always advised readers to never put all their eggs in Google’s basket and this is a good example why. If all my blog traffic came from Google, my blog would be dead right now.
I have no doubt that Google will eventually rank me back higher. Search engine follows people and when people visit a site without the help of a search engine, it gets their attention. Google’s job is to give the most relevant search results. Right now, they’re not doing that with the search term John Chow and that makes them look bad.
Technorati seems to hand select blogs for inclusion in the Top 100. How they select who gets in and who is not, nobody by Technorati knows. It doesn’t effect me financially by not being in the official Top 100 list. As long as they ranked me correctly, I’m fine with that. “
So my question to our readers is do you think it is ethical of John to pursue the link back campaign, or do you think Google is in the wrong for dropping John so far in the search results? Who do you side with and why?