A link by definitition is a connector. It connects two things together. The type of link I’m going to focus on in this post is the humble HTML link; specifically links that point to web pages.
Nowadays, there’s a whole lot of noise happening around links and linking. Web businesses that operate by brokering links are popping up almost on a monthly basis now. Heck, even Google is seemingly declaring itself as a Link Police.
I’m wondering, as mentioned in the title of this post; Are Links A Commodity In The World Wide Web? People are selling and buying them. At least one corporation wants to be a decider of the quality of links (QOLs?); with our help of course (or so Google says).
Signs everywhere on the internet seem to indicate yes. Links now not only have weighting values assigned to them by search engines, they even have monetary values assigned by link brokers. I’m starting to wonder if I’m right in being concerned about this. I mean, whoever I link to is my own business and regardless of whether I’m paid in some form or another (since I agree that links are a commodity, therefore a reciprocal link can be considered a ‘payment’ too).
Now Matt Cutts from Google’s anti-spam team wants us to report “paid links”. Well, it doesn’t help that the tool he recommends to be used is Google’s Report Spam form. Does this imply that “paid links” are all spam?
Am I wrong in thinking that this is actually Google’s PageRank problem instead of a “paid links” problem? Are netizens not only becoming guinea pigs for testing Google’s tools but now we have to accomodate its flaws and get punished if we don’t? And since when did Google became the de-facto decider of what’s the proper way to link to other web pages?