Ah, sweet controversy is in the air and I just can't tell you how much I love it.
After commenting on Andy Beard's article about Pay-Per-Joke and reading one of his Stumbles about the same, I just had to laugh and finish something I'd wanted to start a few weeks ago.
First, let's get it clear: Google doesn't care about you. It's a company that has to pretend to care about you and many of you really believe it does because it provides an opportunity for the godless to feel as if they belong to something much larger and much better than themselves. I honestly realize how tempting it is to want to believe that Google is good or, in the very least, benign. But it isn't...
You see, when technology outpaces the consciousness of those who develop it and, most certainly, those for whom it is intended to serve, then we got a big problem here, folks.
Too Good to Be True?
Not too long ago, a company I'll call Pay-Per-Joke (not it's real name) came onto the scene. In the only nutshell that really matters, advertisers paid no-name, Q-list bloggers to write reviews about their sites for pennies on the dollar of what REAL reviews from REAL reviewers should cost. But ever the desperate bunch, many bloggers, who were starved from having believed in the Adsense dream, all went a-flocking to Pay-Per-Joke for their thimbleful of monetary goodness (note: I have to exclude bloggers like Andy Beard from such characterizations, as well as others of his level, who qualify as REAL reviewers. Even big fish get caught once in a while...).
And for those who can't already tell... the reviewee got not only a review of questionable quality but, more importantly, a quality BACKLINK surrounded by highly relevant, targeted keywords.
Now Wait Just A Gosh Darn Minute...
Now I might not be a rocket scientist, but isn't that a barely veiled scheme to sell links? Of course it was. After all a REAL review should be done by someone who actually USES a product or site, or lives and breathes the topic, and not by someone who just graduated from college and only knows how to research a term paper. In fact, it wasn't too long ago that I pretty much warned anyone passing through in, "Get Your Vaseline Out, Google Is At It Again (re: Paid Links)". I mean, why couldn't people see this coming? And do you notice I don't even use Pay-Per-Joke's real name on my blog? Coincidence? Because Google is ferreting them out with a vengeance.
When Knowing Too Much Can Get You "Killed."
Andy Beard has shared his thoughts-a-plenty on the Pay-Per-Joke matter even BEFORE his site was eviscerated because of it:
"Now I should point out that at this time Google is interpreting this as gaming PageRank. I personally feel this is the wrong interpretation, but then my own interpretation could be extremely biased. I have been penalized by Google, even though I believe I don't sell PageRank." (Andy Beard, "Pied Piper of [Pay-Per-Joke]". I don't want PPJ's name on my blog even in a link so I left the other links instead.)
There's no doubt in the mind of anyone who knows Andy that he's one of the most knowledgeable, well-informed sources about SEO but what he was up against, all the while, wasn't SEO - what he was up against was mechanics and a bit of psychology.
Andy has been "technically" right.
"Compensation in whatever form should be based upon the time involved, expertise, and possibly the size and influence of the audience, and not based upon any SEO benefit to a site or service being reviewed."
But corporations, whose main interest is their survival, don't always care about what is technically right (see: "Warning! Big Twitter Is Watching YOU!"). And Pay-Per-Joke was the equivalent of a "Pagerank hemorrhage on the horizon" and Google couldn't sit around and wait for Pay-Per-Joke to get their "ethics department" up to snuff. ;-)
PAY-PER-JOKE WAS A PAID LINK SCHEME, PERIOD.
The fact is, PPJ was a paid link scheme. I mean, let's just call things what they are. When I had once dipped my toe into the pool of black hat experimentation, I didn't pretend it was anything else. So why are people writing 8,000 posts about this matter? IT'S PAID LINKS AND GOOGLE DOESN'T LIKE THAT. And all the "technically correct" opinions about it aren't going to change the only fact that matters to Google because Google's primary interest is Google. It's not interested in people who unwittingly get caught in the crossfire, like Andy, or a bunch of starving young chickadees who were only guilty of chasing after what seemed like a really good meal.
In short, we're all losers in that one, folks. And, in my opinion, a crime has been committed... just not one that's on the books yet.
This article serves as my REVIEW of Pay-Per-Joke. Even though Pay-Per-Joke summarily denied my blog...
"Thank you for your blog submission!
Unfortunately, we are unable to approve your blog because it fails to meet one or more requirements from our Terms of Service. Specifically, blogs must not have any non-writing periods of 30+days in the past 90 days. After your blog meets the criteria listed in our Terms, then you may resubmit."
...they still fiendishly allowed me, as an applicant waiting for acceptance, to work on the first opportunity: a review about pay-per-joke.
So what I want to know is...
WHERE'S MY 20 BUCKS?!!??!advertising alexa blogging tips goog google marketing metrics monetization pagerank rating reputation management techmeme paid reviews paid links andy beard seo sem sam freedom pay per joke backlinks linkbait blogging make money