There is a lot of debate right now about sponsored links. In fact, a certain search engine has decided to penalize web sites who are selling links (selling advertising) to other parties. I personally have decided not to publicly take sides on this paid link debate.
I strongly believe in online advertising. After all, most major search engines sell advertising on their own web sites in the form of Pay Per Click (PPC) ads, which is another form of text link ads. So, apparently ot all text link ads are bad. Text link ads are merely a form of online advertising.
If a search engine believes that paid text links or “sponsored links” (forms of online advertising) are getting way out of hand then perhaps the search engine needs to find another way to decide the relevancy of a web site–perhaps they need to change their algorithm.
Certain advertising networks have decided that in order to be fair, they require that paid links or paid posts (when a blog accepts a paid post by a sponsor) must be disclosed–the web site must disclose whether or not a link or a blog post is “sponsored” or “paid for”.
To “get around” this disclosure requirement while still making sure that a sponsored link or paid blog post is not penalized by a search engine, some web site owners have decided to take disclosure into their own hands.
In the spirit of this, I have come up with 14 ways to disclose that a paid or sponsored link or blog post has been paid for by another party–while making it nearly impossible for a search engine to figure out whether the blog post or link is really paid for.
1. The links that appear somewhere below are not sponsored or paid for in any way. The statement in the sentence prior to this sentence is completely false.
2. If you would like to know whether or not this blog post is sponsored please email the site owner and we will tell you.
3. The links below could be sponsored or might not be sponsored. In any case, choose the former and you will be correct.
4. The fifth, seventh, twelth, and nineteenth link that appears in the source code of this page are sponsored links.
5. All links in blog posts on this web site are not sponsored links. This web site does not contain a blog.
6. .tsop derosnops a si sihT … Read the prior sentence backwards and you will find the answer.
7. .knil derosnops a si sihT … Read the prior sentence in a mirror and you will find your message.
8. tsoP derosnopS
9. kniL derosnopS
10. sknil diaP
11. skniL derosnopS
12. Read the next sentence in a mirror and you will have the message I am trying to convey to you. .tsop derosnops a si sihT
13. Read the next phrase by first using a screen capture program and using the reverse image feature of that program… .tsop diap a si sihT
12. A third party has decided that there is some monetary value in this blog post, and some other business entity has decided to take advantage of this.
13. Send the domain name owner an email asking about whether or not some other company has put value on this blog post and the domain name owner will tell you.
14. If a search engine requires that you pay for a pay per click program then this blog post is paid for by another company. The prior statement is true to the best of our knowledge.
Of course, I do not actually suggest that you use any of these phrases on your own web site if you decide to monetize your website by selling advertising, just like a search engine does. Furthermore, now that “the jig is up” most likely some fanatical search engine engineers might actually program these statements into their code and make it a part of their search engine’s algorithm.
My disclosure about this blog post: This blog post is certainly not paid for by anyone, never will be, and is not sponsored. This blog post is actually meant as a joke because I believe that the paid link (i.e., online advertising debate) has gotten way way way too far out of hand. If you would really like to know how I feel, send me an email and I’ll discuss it with you.
Do you have a way that a web site owner could properly disclose that a sponsored link is in fact paid for while at the same time fooling a search engine? I would love to hear what you’ve come up with.