At this point, it shouldn’t be a surprise what I have to say about any particular site (Hi Jeremy!) selling links. Danny gives a good recap here, and I’m happy that Danny can channel me and say what I would say at this point. Let’s see how succinctly I can say it. Many people who work on ranking at search engines think that selling links can lower the quality of links on the web. If you want to buy or sell a link purely for visitors or traffic and not for search engines, a simple method exists to do so (the nofollow attribute). Google’s stance on selling links is pretty clear and we’re pretty accurate at spotting them, both algorithmically and manually. Sites that sell links can lose their trust in search engines.
Okay, everyone should expect me to say those things. Let’s lighten up this post a bit. Would anyone be surprised to find that some link buyers turn around and then sell links to other sites? And that those links may not be of the highest quality? Let’s take a concrete example. Jeremy vetted his sponsored links trying to remove anything reminscent of blog comment spam, but take one of Jeremy’s sponsors, www.thisisouryear.com. Can you get from that site to the “Lesbian Gay Sex Positions” site at www.gay-sex-positions.com in two mouse clicks? Looks like there may be some scraped content on that porn site.
Just to be clear: it’s Jeremy’s site. Of course he can try any experiment he wants (YPN, AdSense, BlogAds, AdBrite, Chitika, Amazon affiliate program, selling links with nofollow, selling links without nofollow, offering flying lessons to the 10,000th visitor, selling pixels, auctioning lemurs, etc.) to make money. Many such experiments cause no problems for search engines. But if a web site does use a technique that can potentially cause issues, it’s understandable that search engines will pursue algorithmic and manual approaches to keep our quality high.
I take it as progress that most people would expect what I was going to post. So, other than the two-clicks-to-scraped-lesbian-porn, how many people could have guessed everything I was going to say?