Text Link Ads on the Way Out?

There has been debate for quite some time about Google and paid text links. There’s no question that Google doesn’t like them, but it seems more and more likely that Google is actually penalizing sites for selling links. Greenllama.net itself got dropped from PR4 to PR1( the home page only, not the internal pages ) not too long ago, and I wouldn’t be surprised if text links were the reason why.

There’s such a huge market for buying and selling text links, and Google is basically destroying it with this decision. Companies like Text Link Ads and Linkworth will have to adapt, and quickly, or else things will go downhill for them in a hurry.

Google seems to be ok, at least for the time, with folks selling text links – provided that the “nofollow” tag is used. Since the vast majority of the benefit of such a paid link is the link juice, the value of a nofollow link is significantly less than that of a regular link. In other words, Google just shot a ton of webmaster in the foot – myself included. Last month, between TLA, Linkworth, and private sales, paid text links accounted for right about 30% of my total online income.

Quite frankly I think it’s a load of crap that I have to take a 30% pay cut to appease Google. At what point should I draw the line? Adsense is ok, text links aren’t. Affiliate links are bad, Adsense is ok. Are banner / image ads still ok ( i.e. the ad-size-of-the-day 125×125 button )? Who is Google to tell me how I can and can’t advertise and make a living? When does it get to the point that Google is going too far, and overstepping it’s boundaries? I think that point is now, and the the line has been crossed. The real question is what can we do about it?


  1. Tobsy said

    October 8 2007 @ 3:02 pm

    I’m not sure what way to go, but it should start with TLA, PayPerPost and all these others to stop basing income opportunities on a 5 months old link count.

    Unfortunately there is no reliable, ungameable way to rank blogs. At least none that I can think of.

  2. Jeremy Steele said

    October 8 2007 @ 8:25 pm

    Umm google isn’t telling you to do anything. Webmasters can do whatever they want to on their site, just as Google can do the same on their’s.

    I still think all of this nonsense could be avoided if they put a friggin “Report Spam” link next to search results though.

  3. Leroy Brown said

    October 9 2007 @ 7:15 am

    Google is forcing our hand. We have three choices regarding paid links now, and they all suck.

    1. Continue as before, face PR / traffic penalties. Lower PR reduces link value, revenue.

    2. Add “nofollow” to all paid links. Value of links drops, as does revenue.

    3. Discontinue all forms of paid links. Revenue drops to zero.

    All three scenarios end up hurting my wallet, which makes me not a happy camper. Google is indirectly pulling money from my wallet, even though it isn’t going into theirs. I wonder if this is just a big push to get advertisers back to focusing on Adsense alone?

  4. Empress said

    October 9 2007 @ 9:21 am

    I think it has a lot to do with competition. Buying and Selling text ads is competition to Google, and they’ve got the heavy hand to be able to come down on those of us who are looking to make money online – and are becoming more and more limited as to how we can do it.

    It sucks if they’re doing it this way.

  5. GettyCash said

    October 10 2007 @ 4:20 am

    All is about money, Google only want to increase their AdWord sales.

  6. Ray Dotson said

    October 10 2007 @ 6:54 am

    I’m wondering about the alternatives. Does anyone get any significant traffic from the other search engines? Some healthy competition here would take some of the sting out of google’s proclamations…

  7. Leroy Brown said

    October 10 2007 @ 9:33 am

    I think it is a bit of a veiled push back towards Adsense. I love Google as search engine, but I’m not a fan of some of their policies / decisions lately.

    As for other search engines, there really aren’t any. Looking at my search traffic, 90 % of it is Google on most of my sites. Even if your site doesn’t depend heavily on search traffic, Google is still king for any search traffic you do get.

  8. George said

    October 10 2007 @ 11:56 am

    Of course Google is trying to get rid of the competition, they are a business after all 😉

    First it was ebay and other affiliate links, now text link ads, what form of advertising is next to be labled as evil? They should just come out and say it…

    If you exclusively use Google to serve advertising to your customers we will rank your website high even if it’s a piece of ****. If you use any other form of advertising you won’t rank high. That’s really what they want to do… so why not just do it!

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    Green Llama is a place to learn about making money online. Any ideas or walk-through's I have, I'll post here for your enjoyment. I also do product and online service reviews.

    However, I tend to run off on tangets quite often. I call this part of the site 'random crap'. Basically I'll go off and post about whatever I want, just to keep things interesting. Have fun and stay tuned.