Since when is listing a company on a web page who is part of a true partnership program, paid or not, considered selling links? Since never, that’s when. But some people like to make a stink about anything they can find.
Conversion Rater blogged about Google linking to companies who are part of a paid partnership program that Google has. They titled the article “Google Selling PR7 Links For $10,000!“. An obvious piece of bait to say the least.
A blog posting some link bait doesn’t surprise me. What does surprise me is Google’s reaction. Matt Cutts put in a work order in response to the blog post and within hours, the page containing the links is PR0 and no longer passes rank.
If the sites that are linked to from that partner page are not trust worthy enough to allow PR to pass, how are they trust worthy enough to be part of the partner program? Let us not forget Google links to many other sites and has many different partner programs. Some examples just from a quick one page search:
So is Google planning on nofollowing or PR0ing every single outbound link they give? If so, that’s a shame. Google either trusts these sites or they don’t. They need to make up their mind.