I received this following email last week via HubPages. How would you advise? Or, is it even against HP policy to sponsor a post on my HP "website" to some other blog? Thanks for any guidance on this.
I represent a popular leadership blogger looking to increase their online presence through the sponsoring of a post on your website at a generous rate.
This would simply involve you inserting a sentence within an existing or new article with a link pointing back to the sponsor's blog.
The link will only need to remain for 3 months whilst the campaign is active, then it can be removed. Please get in touch if you are interested.
Lisa Snowdon - Marketing Associate
As far as I know there's nothing wrong with it, Ms Dee. I know some writers here create hubs expressly to promote products and businesses for others--not from this site--for money. But I don't do it, so don't take my word for it. Just be careful who you deal with.
a simple search on Google brought up some interesting things about Lisa Snowdon-marketing associate
That's part of the same thing, really - if I were ever to agree to adding a link in return for payment, I'd be looking very carefully into the reputation of the person who's asking.
Please ignore this request. They are asking you to do something that both we and Google frown upon. Engaging in paid linking practices could threaten all the traffic you get from Google; clearly not worth it.
Ah yes. The exciting world of paid links, which directly violate Google's Quality Guidelines unless you tag them with rel="nofollow" (Hubpages' Amazon and eBay capsules do this automatically). It can hurt your Google rankings, yet people still do it.
Google penalizes paid links and DROPS pages that use them from search results, but first, it has to detect them, and in the meantime, the paid link buyer reaps the profits of backlinks (maybe). JCPenny and other famous companies have been caught with their hand in the paid link cookie jar and suffered temporary penalties before getting back into Google's good graces, while the smalltime business or website that's caught may NEVER again appear in Google results unless it scours the web of all its paid links and applies for reconsideration. (Ironically, Google Chrome's marketing department was outed for a paid link campaign, after which the search engine downranked Google Chrome in results for a few months as a penalty).
This has been true for years, but the recent Penguin algoritm update -- contrary to what a lot of people think -- was a new and aggressive tweak to Google's algorithm for ferreting out and de-indexing or penalizing sites that use paid links. The SEO industry has been awash with teeth-gnashing from many well-known
And upon whom does the penalty fall? Usually the paid link buyers: their sites drop in Google rankings, or, in extreme cases, their sites may disappear altogether from Google results -- search for them by name and you'll only find places where other sites refer to them. A huge pile of paid blog networks got deindexed early this year (the "Blogpocalypse") and caused much gnashing of teeth, and the sites they linked to dropped in search result rankings after all their backlinks went poof overnight. (See Blogger/work-at-home-mom PotPieGirl's The Sky Is Falling post which was a tiny fraction of the uproar at the end of March, when all of you should have felt "a great disturbance in the Force, as if a million paid backlinks cried out and were suddenly deindexed").
But what about the person who puts the paid link on their blog or website? I've mostly only seen secondhand warnings from reputable SEO writers that Google could penalize the payee, not just the payer, but here's one documented example: Forbes.com got a Google warning for paid links on its site and had to act fast to remove them. Smalltime writers and webmasters, again, don't always get the courtesy of a warning or wrist-slap that the big sites get (Google can afford to drop your hubber profile from Google's index, and who would be the wiser? Whereas there would be an outcry if Forbes Magazine disappeared).
Putting paid links on your hubs seems like easy money. Since so many traditional sources of paid links just got dropped from Google, those who relied on them are desperate to rebuild their lost links, and demand for our content real estate is therefore at a premium. But personally, as much as Google warns against paid links, I'd avoid offers like this. It might be a link to a website that's one of the ones caught with its hand in the cookie jar, using sleazy backlink practices like BuildMyRank.com, in which case Google may now have it on the "links from bad places" list. I wouldn't want to risk being associated with them, for fear the next algorithm change will come down even harder on both ends of paid links.
Mind you, if you're putting an affiliate link to a good, reputable website like Amazon.com, Google's not going to think you've associated your page with shady characters even if you fail to add rel=nofollow to the link. But I'd err on the side of caution, especially when it comes to sites that may be trying to crawl out from under a paid link penalty.
TL;DR: It's risky. I wouldn't do it.
Thanks Greekgeek for your post. I was going to drop Lisa a note. Now I wont. Another bullet dodged...
...but what if the site is a quality, reputable site which you might have linked to anyway? How is Google going to find out whether you were paid or not?
I certainly wouldn't participate wholesale in paid linking schemes, because it would be risky, as you say. But if someone ever offered to pay for one or two links which were relevant to my topic and their site looked worth linking to, I don't think I would knock it back. Not that anyone ever has (pout).
Wow, this is a hub of information here! Thanks for sharing. Well done and most informative!
I've had requests like these before. Some have gone so far as to offer a pittance of a payment AND ask that you turn the copyright over to them.
Just remember that you own your account on HP, what you write belongs to you, and your work is not for hire under terms where you compromise your integrity or violate HP's TOS.
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