Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog

Paid Link Redux with Guy Kawasaki and Michael Gray?

Remember back in September when Michael Gray called Guy Kawasaki out about a blog review as an example of paid links that Google was willing to overlook?

Taking the cue from Google that they don’t care, Graywolf is helping get the word out about free copies of Guy’s new book Reality Check in exchange for blog reviews.

I find this interesting. And I have to wonder, will these bloggers end up getting penalized for getting compensated for the reviews, even though the person who wrote the book they’re reviewing is important enough to avoid the same penalties? Would disclosing the fact they got a review copy make them more or less likely to feel Google’s wrath? Will Matt Cutts weigh in on this?


7 Responses

  1. Hey QualityGal,

    Thanks for bringing up the question I know everyone is asking so I can answer it.

    Bloggers who provide reviews are NOT required to link to the merchant. They can if they want to but it’s NOT a requirement.

    We also let merchants know they should NOT expect a link at all

    Sorry for the link drops just wanted to be 110% clear. If bloggers feel like the review is an advertisement, they are free to use any of the methods google recommends for advertising links (ie nofollow).

    Like Google we fully recommend linking where it benefits the end user experience.

  2. That…didn’t….answer…the question. 🙂

    I don’t think it matters much of the bloggers nofollow the links or not. What matters is the perception by Google and whether or not paying people to review your product (which is what this does) is coloring inside the lines or not. A big name blogger may be able to use a service like this without consequence but what about someone without that reputation or authority? Is Google going to consider them a link seller and shine a spotlight on their site?

  3. well for myself or anyone else to claim that we know exactly how google is going to react to changes in market practices, would be presumptuous and an lie, because can’t with 100% accuracy.

    Merchants are advertising with so all links there are no followed, and google recommends using no follow in the case of an advertising link.

    If a blogger feels that being sent an item for review constitutes and advertisement, they are free to use nofollow. If Google decides to start penalizing people for doing exactly what they tell them to do in their guidelines … well … then … we’ve really got a problem don’t we.

  4. I find it incredible that this ranks as high as some of the other problems that Google needs to be addressing. How would Google go about deciding who wrote what for what reason in this case? I wrote a review about the book, but I was also one of the people last spring who helped him edit the book, and I wrote about it as soon as my copy came, since I’d kept my notes from back then. I hadn’t even realized it was being released the next day until I saw it on Twitter. Now, if Google penalized me because I got a free book, which I actually earned, would that be fair?

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