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Buying Links from Anonymous Publishers : Poyfickly Leegull

This is the story of A Quandary. And it’s all Google’s fault.

You need links. You already buy as many links as you can from Google, but you are tired of paying that middleman so you look out onto the web to buy direct from web publishers. An attempt to disintermediate Google, if you will. Of course, since Google is THE search engine and the defacto source of referral traffic these days, it isn’t easy to eliminate the Google middleman. It can be dangerous. Piss off Google and, well, the links might not matter any more no matter what price you paid.

So you proxy your link buying, just as you proxy your domain registration. It’s nothing unusual. Lawyers (registered agents) and corporations (legal entities) have been serving as proxies for business people for as along as we have had business people. “Poyfickly leegull“, as my distant Uncle Vinnie used to say.

So now your proxied link buyer discovers a perfect place for a back link, and notices the web publisher is also behind a proxy. What to do?

Well, you could have your agent contact their agent, and negotiate a deal, whereby the destination website is revealed to the linking web site’s publisher. Eventually link seller knows only that someone has commissioned a link buy to a web property. It could have been the web publisher, but it could have really been anybody (even a competitor might want to encourage certain linking to take place). As for the link seller, all we really know is somehow someone somewhere encouraged the publisher to place a link to a site. It could have been outright payment for linking, or there could have been some lobbying behind the scenes. No one really knows unless they follow the money. And, of course, proxies make it difficult (expensive) to follow that money. I don’t know who Google’s premium partners are, because Google won’t tell me. It would be silly for them to share that info.

This link buying all works swimmingly except when the anonymous web publisher doesn’t answer the emails sent to the proxied whois address, and doesn’t provide a “contact us” form. It seems silly to me that a publisher would settle for $4/day in AdSense earnings for a ranking web page, when she could earn far more with a few back links. It also seems wrong that a web publisher would have incentives to “hide” behind unresponsive anonymous proxies, but clearly it is necessary given the unilateral, economically all-mighty power held by Google. But what about that follow the money aspect?

What if the money you pay to anonymous publishers for links is actually supporting child pornographers or terrorists or, perhaps even worse, liberals!? Come to think of it, how much Google AdSense revenue is flowing to child pornographers and terrorists and (gasp!) liberals?

Seriously. This is all so silly, and it is all a consequence of the largest and most successful web company in the world refusing to yield to innovation and the emerging competitive marketplace we call the Internet. Come on Google, you’ve made a fortune selling links and controlling referral traffic on the web. Web publishers have had enough. We need to move forward. If you say we need links, we have to be able to use our currency to get them. Markets set the relative values of the various currencies, not Google. The days when Google could claim “good will” as the Internet currency are long past. They were flooded out by all those millions in stock option redemptions. You took the cash — why can’t anyone else?


  1. Jim Boykin wrote:

    Very Nicely Stated!

    Wednesday, June 13, 2007 at 3:46 pm | Permalink
  2. Very well put. I wish I’d said that. I guess Google finds that ‘Do No Evil’ is a tough mantra to live up to if you want to make money.

    Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 2:30 am | Permalink
  3. Ashley L. wrote:

    As a new student to SEO and SEM for my company, I’ve still got a lot to learn, but the things I have been learning are leading me to a more and more negative opinion of how Google seems to want to control the whole dang Internet! Don’t get me wrong, I still use Google and it’s got so many great tools and products, but come on – seems like they’re getting on a bit of a high horse.

    Looks like you feel pretty much the same way John (and sorry if I’m assuming too much). To quote Mr. Boykin: Very nicely stated!

    Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 6:59 am | Permalink
  4. Seriously, it almost seems as if Google is concerned about its own potential loss of revenue in it’s attempt to get people to “report paid linking” more so than they are concerned about the quality of the search results.

    If that much relevance is being placed on inbound links, then of course it’s a system that’s going to get abused, and to think otherwise was very shortsighted.

    Might we be forced to return to looking harder at (gasp!) the quality of the content as a way to rank a page well?

    Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 3:45 pm | Permalink
  5. You remember the old drug commercials: “I learned it by watching you dad, I learned it by watching you.” Google wants to be everyone’s daddy but doesn’t want to have to follow the rules.

    Sunday, June 17, 2007 at 5:48 am | Permalink
  6. What Google is doing now reminds me of what they did to SearchKing and Bob Massa a few years back.

    Massa was the first to come up with the idea to sell ads based on PageRank and the G-men tried to crucify him for it. A lot of SEOs jumped on the G-bandwagon and raked him over the coals. Now it seems everyone is basing their ad rates on a site’s PR.

    And now they want webmasters to rat on each other for selling links, when Google’s only interest is their own pocketbook. Time for everyone to wake up and smell the coffee.

    If you don’t have the time to track down all you own links, the trick is to find a network offering affordable links that has a good inventory of sites. And they are out there.

    BYW, I hear Massa’s still going strong. There’s a lesson for us all.

    Tuesday, June 26, 2007 at 8:32 am | Permalink
  7. Elliott wrote:

    Well, if you think about it, we did give Google the power they now have, so part of the blame can be put on us

    Monday, July 23, 2007 at 8:37 am | Permalink

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