Are Links A Commodity In The World Wide Web?

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?

Although Matt specifically mentioned that Google has no problems with “paid links”, as long as they are in an unindexable format; ie. has rel=’nofollow’ or generated via JavaScript. Apparently, he just doesn’t want them to be riding the PageRank values of the linking pages.

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?

7 responses to “Are Links A Commodity In The World Wide Web?”.

  1. Vinod @ VinodLive Says:

    If every link becomes a traded one, it is a serious problem for the Internet.
    If every link is weighed for PR, it is a serious problem by Google.

  2. papajoneh Says:

    everywherw i go, the Google thing come up. They seem to be everywhere. Even company that wanna pay you for your review also has the google Page Ranking in their criteria. It seems that we will not be able to ignore google even if we want to. so i guess.

  3. cindy Says:

    Papa, Google is taking over our lives! 😀

  4. Wahlau.NET Says:

    i think there is a yes and no to it…somehow someone is buying and selling links but you are also able to get them free. basically it cost the websmaster nothing to put a link up, unless it could divert traffic away from your website.

  5. Thomas Says:

    Do away with the silly pagerank indicator in the toolbar and googles problem would be solved.
    However, they probably fear that then less people would use it (toolbar) and their market share could drop.

    The whole discussion about pagerank and paid links or gifted links is silly. Look around and you find too many websites that are optimized for pagerank and google ranking but they are not userfriendly or interesting to look at at all (content wise).

    If webmasters would concentrate more on how to make a good and userfriendly site instead of worrying what some idiot at google could dream up next – the internet would be a much better place.

  6. Does Text-Link-Ads.com Know Something Their Publishers Don’t? - HTNet Says:

    […] even funnier is the fact that these changes are happening when the issue of sponsored links is becoming a hot topic in the search engine […]

  7. John Says:

    The bottom line here is this…63 percent of all searches are done on google. if you want a chance at a top 10 or 20 listing in the organic search results then you will have to adapt to what ever google does.