Are Affiliate Links Paid Links? Are They A Vote? Or Spam?

My fellow blogger Mike Murray already mentioned in his post “Matt Cutts and the Silly Firestorm Over Paid Links” here at the discussion that erupted at Matt Cutts blog and around the internet marketing community.

The infamous posts at Matt Cutts Blog
Hidden Links
How to report paid links

I entered comments to the second post that are in length a bit more than my average post length, so they are pretty long. The questions I have and had already for a while, since the discussion came up about paid links and at the same time the definition of what those are, especially the ones search engines don’t like got blurry as time progresses.

Matt did not answer my question if affiliate links are paid links and if links to sponsors are paid links. He did not answer that question in March either, when I asked the question “Is Google Thinking That Affiliates Are Worthless?“.

What happened to “a link is a vote” and “create websites for users and not search engines”? And what does Google think they are to tell me how to make business and with whom?

I don’t think that a link is a vote to begin with and explained why I think that in my post “A Link Is Not A Vote, It’s A Pointer“. I also think that Google will “bent” their statement “create websites for users and not search engines” a bit or remove it from the Webmaster Guidelines altogether. Remember their “Do No Evil” slogan? Well, it had to go when it was in conflict with their business. Tag: Google China Cencored.

Google’s inability to get a grip on spam, because of spammy paid links, even on holy and trusted .EDU domains and other authority site, lets that take dramatic steps to fix their problems. You might start believing that you can’t trust anyone anymore (or any domain owner in that respect). Forcing Webmasters via “pusher” and “scare tactics” to throw the baby out with the bath water for them seems to become an option, Google has less and less a problem with. It’s their heart that is under attack, their bare life. The value of their precious links to determine relevancy and ranking is deteriorating. Self defense so to speak.

Google is in denial and don’t want to admit it: PageRank is dead and NOFOLLOW will NOT Save it! . The smart Google engineers do not seem to be THAT smart after all.

I fear that this will have big impact on affiliates again and they will be hit the hardest. It does not matter anymore what you opinion is about a product or service you link to. If you get (may be) compensated, be it commission, endorsement, sponsorship, you name it, render your vote worthless for Search Engines. It’s probably a flat out lie, but Google gives a sh*t about your opinion, because it is not about that. Wait it is!

Anyhow, Phillip Lenssen’s parody of Google’s teleconference last Friday after the announcement that they are going to acquire DoubleClick for 3.1 billion came out at a good time.

I also believe that Robin Sloan was a bit overestimating Google capabilities in his flash animations that are prediction the future of the web. See EPIC 2014 and the updated version EPIC 2015. The destination pages open a new browser windows. If you have a problem with the links try this one instead.

Coverage of the Paid Links Discussion on the Web

About Carsten Cumbrowski

Internet Marketer, Entrepreneur and Blogger. To learn more about me and what I am doing, visit my website and check out the “about” section.

Twitter: ccumbrowski

5 Responses to Are Affiliate Links Paid Links? Are They A Vote? Or Spam?

  1. I have seen this before, Google pressures us to police ourselves, they turn us against each other for the sake of destroying any link matrix’s that might help the little guy get ahead in natural search. If we turn each other in it is less of a cost for them to attempt it, it will also increase their paid search as merchants run to them to fill in the void.It is easier and cheaper for them to turn us into their link task force as their bots can not read the truth behind a static href, how would they know it was paid for unless you squeal or unless there was some tracking or a click domain behind the link?

    I have never and will never turn anyone into Google.

  2. Fixing Google Web 2.0 Style II

    How to fix what is broken and not break what is not 
    This post is part of a series. See Part 1, Part 3 and Part 4
    Collateral Damage
    A change in policy would only result in two things. One, the people that traded links for the wrong reasons are SEO and…

  3. felix says:

    I would be very aware of all Googles regulations and not cross Google. I have made one mistake and my domain got banned from Google whithin a few days.

  4. Greg says:

    There is no reason why you can’t nofollow an affiliate link. Then you have no problem.

    This could even be more dangerous to Google….a rise in Affiliate links.

  5. “There is no reason why you can’t nofollow an affiliate link. Then you have no problem.”

    Except for being a liar. I don’t care if you don’t have a problem with that, but I do. Let’s nofollow any and every link and become all liars then, problem solved. Nobody will have a problem, not even Google, except for the need to work out a real solution.

    “This could even be more dangerous to Google….a rise in Affiliate links.”

    yes, Google would make a lot less money, because it would cut into their AdSense revenue.

    It will be terrible, imagine editorial created links by the owner of the website instead of random ads from every jerk who has $5 to open an AdWords account and $1 more to spend on Ads in the “content network”.

    If junk gets displayed, the webmaster is save, because he can say that he can’t control what gets displayed (what is true) and Google says that its done algorithmically and the they are constantly working on improving it (which is also true). So nobody is responsible except for the user who decided to use the internet.

    Brave new world.