How horribly low have we sunk, that I’m not willing to link to O’Reilly sites without a rel=”nofollow”, because they are a bunch of low-life search engine spammers? X-bloody-ML.com, something that I won’t touch without a nofollow condom? This just sucks.I like what commenter hibiscusroto had to say to Phil in response:
I wonder if you’d pay for ad-free access to the O’Reilly sites? If you were in charge of the company would you still poo-poo the ads? And lastly, “punch the monkey and win a free X-Box!!!”So where’s the line in link advertising? Is it when it’s off-topic? A “Punch the Monkey and Win” banner is off-topic as much as a “Cuban cigars” text link ad is, so relevancy of the ad can’t be the criteria for which to judge whether the link ad is ethical or not. I think the line is here: Is the text link MISLEADING, DECEPTIVE or MISREPRESENTATIVE? Consider, for example, these cases:
- Setting the ad’s link text to some keyword-rich phrase that doesn’t accurately reflect the page that is linked to. e.g. An ad on SeacoastOnline.com proclaims “The North Face” but that isn’t The North Face!
- Linking the ad text to a landing page that is built for search engines and not for people. e.g. the “Discount Vacations” example in my last post.
- Hiding or obscuring the link so human visitors can’t see it, only search engines.
e.g. Doing a “View Source” on the home page of PRNewswire.com reveals these hidden links:
</noframes> <a xhref="http://www.icrossing.com" mce_href="http://www.icrossing.com" >Search Engine Marketing</a> <a xhref="http://sev.prnewswire.com" mce_href="http://sev.prnewswire.com" >Search Engine News Release Optimization</a> </frameset>