Matt Cutts corrects IZEA's Ted Murphy's mistakes

Right now we've blog posts from Michael Gray and Andy Beard which are picking up viral steam and complaining about Matt Cutts insisting that all links within paid content should be nofollowed.

Here's the catch. He didn't say that. It's a misquote. Scan down the original IZEA blog post and you'll find Matt himself making that clear.
I think quoting me as saying "ALL links inside of any sponsored post should carry the no-follow tag period, regardless of whether they are required, not required or even link to the advertiser paying for the post" is different than our conversation.

That's really diplomatic. 'I think the quote... is different from our conversation'. It's a nice way of saying; "You're wrong".

Besides, this whole debate is messed up anyway. I would support any search engine call to insist that all links within a pay-per-post review had nofollow. I would.

There's a big difference between an IZEA style pay-per-post review and other commercial content on the internet. The people complaining want to ignore that.

I really do see the pay-per-post reviews in the same was as TechCrunch does. They're corrupting noise on the internet. They're used, pretty much exclusively, to game SERPs. Those are two labels which couldn't be applied to other 'commercial content' on the internet - you know, like a retail website.

It makes sense that all links within the pay-per-post review to be nofollowed because the whole review is not a valid 'editorial comment'. It would stop people finding a loop hole in the system by accepting a PPP for Site A and linking to Sites B and C - with the intent of passing PageRank to Sites B and C all along.


Anonymous said…
I guess everyone who ever wrote about reeses pieces in the movie ET should no follow all links within their pages since it was a paid product placement which is no different than a sponsored post. Or the Junior Mints in the classic episode of Seinfeld. Or every car that James Bond has driven or watch that he's worn, too, since they were all comercially motivated
Andrew Girdwood said…
No. That's silly :)

If you're part of a pay-per-post review exchange and you're asked to write about cars, mints or movies then you should nofollow your links.

If someone emails you with an offer of paypal cash in exchange for a review of a movie, car or mint (and one with a link for a bonus) and if you decide to accept the deal then you should nofollow the link.

In both cases you're being paid to write about and link to someone.

If you watch a movie and decide to blog about it, even if you link to the the products you've seen in it, then there's nothing wrong with that. That's not a pay-per-post review.
ted murphy said…
I think you should take a look at the response here.
But there are gray areas.

I do book reviews. I have done so many that publishers send me free books to review. Am I being paid?

I offer a free listing to Unix and Linux Consulting. They don't pay me, but the list brings more people to my site where I do earn significant advertising revenue. Are those "paid" links?

As part of my site (Linux and Unix techy stuff), I have a Links section that has links to resources other Linux/Unix techy types might find useful. Should those be "nofollow"?

It's not easy to know what Google's algorithm's might think of any given page.
Andrew Girdwood said…
There are some grey areas. I agree but I think they're navicable.

I used to do book reviews too. The publisher would send me a free copy of the book to review - it's common, in fact, that's the standard - and outside the whole SEO aspect there's a debate there as to whether that's ethical/encourages positive reviews.

Link sellers tend to be people who link to link buyers and use the same anchor text.

I think Google make the call based on a mass of data - if there's a lump of data which suggests, strongly, that Site A is heavily engaged in link buying then they'll take action. If there's a lump of data which suggests that Site B always seems to link to active link buyers - then google will take action. I don't think a link here or there will give Google that lump of data it needs/wants before reacting to the situation.
Anonymous said…
I guess utilitarianism is being applied. Greatest good for the greatest number! I agree that paid post should be no followed. But there needs to be some type of human element to it. I am glad to see that sponsored post/links/advertisements are now no follow, makes for much better content if you ask me, but there has to be some human interaction with the determination.

I just don't know where it is going or the answers to the best solution. I guess we will have to let the google police figure it out.
Anonymous said…
IZEA is whacked, as is anyone or anything that believe SEs should tolerate paid posts. IMO, that isn't a vote and is clearly not in the spirit of "normal linking" on which SEs base their algos so simply its unwanted manipulation and clearly the SEs HAD to do something. Note I do think paid links that are labelled as such are not manipulation and are definitely normal linking.

Paid posts are very possibly deceptive to users and possibly an issue the FTC needs to address. That other sites got slapped down in the process to appease a bunch of bloggers is the real issue!

If these bloggers pulled their heads out of their a$$ess long enough they would realize that Matt may have told them to "NOFOLLOW" everything so others that just happened to be on the periphery of the paid post don't get whacked as well. Read the guidelines and it's evident Google could penalize every link on the page where the paid post is located. End of story. IMO, for that reason alone Matt gave the "appropriate" response.

IZEA is pulling the same lame stuff every cloaker has been pulling for years. Confuse the real facts with lame arguments about how others do it including the engines. Well... truth be told... it's not a democracy it's a dictatorship... so deal with it and find another way to EXPLOIT users and diminish the confidence in those of us who don't put ourselves up for sale to the highest bidder. It's absurd there is even a paid posts debate!

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