One of the infuriating defenses those supporting paid links use is to compare paid links to AdSense. The next step is to criticize Google from influencing how you monetise your site.
I don’t think I’ve seen people object to what Google considers spam before.
People do not object to Google calling white text on white background spam. Why would they? No one pays webmasters to put white text on white backgrounds so perhaps that’s the issue. People don’t even object to avoiding light greys on white or dark greys on black.
The money is clearly an issue. The fact that you can get money from selling links means that the paid link issue is entirely separate from hidden text.
That said, I wonder if the people who are happy to sell links would be happy to take money to hide text on their site or sell hidden links on their site. I doubt it – they would be risking their own site and that is not a risk they would be willing to take. However, I suspect we wouldn’t hear the defense “Google can’t penalise me for monetizing my site!”.
People made money from linkfarms. They were advert supported. I’ve not seen anyone object to Google cracking down on linkfarms. Why not? I suspect this is because linkfarms came and went long before many of today’s popular SEOers were in the industry. Heck. Search engine optimisation wasn’t even an industry back then. Back then we did not a “blogoscope” large enough to let people voice their collective dissatisfaction or even gain kudos for being outspoken about their dissatisfaction.
Paid links did work. Paid links were a toy that people had. Paid links were a toy that made money. Google’s now taken that toy away and that’s why people are upset.
I can see why people are upset. I can sympathise as well. I can sympathise to a point. Trying to compare paid links to AdSense confuses the issue.
Paid links without nofollow are simply there to try and influence search engine rankings. They are.
Paid links with nofollow must be there for the traffic. Paid links with nofollow do not influence search rankings.
AdSense is there for the traffic. AdSense does not influence search rankings.
Do you know what? I won’t be liked for this post. It’s probably a good time to point out that my I Support Nofollow campaign as been running since January. The campaign has only one signature so far: mine.