[editorial] Google appears to be going after paid links, and they want you to do the work for them by reporting such links, regardless of the reason they were bought or sold.
Check out Matt Cutts’s post How to report paid links and notice that he appears not to have responded to the comments that mention Text Link Ads or similar brokers. This will be a huge disappointment to all those small websites that make a bit of money selling sponsored links. Whatever reason the sponsor uses them for is their business, but if they perceive Google’s move to mean ditching the links, then there goes a lot of revenue.
So that means that little publishers like me who earn roughly $35-55/mth in AdSense and a bit more from paid links – and work very hard to earn even that much – are going to get screwed by some jealous newbie blogger who thinks the other person is making a fortune because they have a lot of sites. Or if I do a link exchange with a site to get relevant niche traffic, and it’s misconstrued as a paid link. Very nice.
Cutts says in his article that they’re collecting datasets to test some algorithms. He repeatedly refuses to clarify how the information supplied by unpaid tattletales will be used.
Google seems to be going after a monopoly on advertising, telling webmasters what they can or cannot have on their sites. Does anyone else now think it’s a conflict of interest that search engine as powerful as Google is monopolizing advertising?
By the way, SEJ’s Carsten Cumbrowski left a very detailed, rational explanation of why this move cannot possibly work. It’s as valuable a read as any other comment, if not more, and less hot-headed than this post.