Anyone who is into link building knows that Google has declared a war of sorts on paid links, looking to punish both those who buy and sell them. Vanessa Fox has put together an excellent review of the “paid links war” as it unfolded in 2007.
With that review, she wanted to learn how the other three major search engines felt about paid links. At the writing of her post, Yahoo and MSN failed to comment. Ask did and their response was quite refreshing.
Here is what they had to say…
Trading links is a common practice on the Internet. Our primary focus is to distinguish high quality links from low quality ones regardless of whether they are paid or organic. We are not interested in penalizing sites that buy or sell links as long as the links are relevant and useful for searchers. And, we believe the ExpertRank algorithm is optimized to help identify quality links from those that would not contribute to the end-user experience.
If only Google be more like Ask. It is obvious that Google’s algorithm is not “smart enough” to find all the paid links where Ask feels that theirs is.
So instead of trying to make their algorithm better, they use their market share to bully webmasters into helping them to fix what they feel is a problem. Oh how I wish Ask could increase their market share from the 5% or so they currently hold compared to Google’s more than 50%.