According to Matt Cutts of Google, Internet marketers should avoid the unethical practice of buying links by paying a few pennies to the folks who complete tasks via Amazon Mechanical Turk and scoring free links from their efforts. Let me rephrase that: Google says it’s wrong to pay for other people to link to your website, but it’s totally cool to score hundreds or thousands of links – not by paying a professional copywriter to create an awesome resource for you – but by spending about 20 bucks for a handful of people to perform cheap labor for you with Amazon Mechanical Turk. Don’t believe me? Watch this video.
Yeah, I’m going there. I love to watch @graywolf get his panties in a bunch about paid links and sponsored reviews, especially in light of the proposed FTC regulations. I love it mostly because I agree with him. I’m totally in the “white hat” camp – anything I work on is done with Google’s rules in mind. It’s smart business. But yeah, I think their whole ruling on paid links sucks because of the glaringly obvious double standards. I do the whole no follow thing when I review products, but I wish I didn’t have to. I disclose when I’ve received products for free, and I’m pretty honest. I mean, look at my Zarbee’s cough syrup review.
I’d like to officially announce my availability for brand advocacy for products and services I already love. Since I already love them, there’s no conflict of interest that might arise from being compensated for promoting products I might not personally believe in. (I’m not into that whole fake thing. I’d like to protect my personal integrity, thank you very much.)
Before my introduction to the world of Internet Marketing, I had never even heard of a no-follow link. I’ve been blogging for a few years, so it’s not like I’m a complete Web noob. But as a blogger who just wanted a place to write about her son and her obsession with LOST, I didn’t even know the Google Webmaster Guidelines existed.
I’m not unique in this.