Posted June 11, 2007 2:18 pm by with 113 comments

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As the debate over paid links continues in reaction to Google’s recent line in the sand it may shock many that Google is currently offering paid links on Google.com for the very reasonable price of just $1,995 – and as an added bonus you’ll also receive a free Google Mini.

Yesterday while digging through a competitor’s backlinks for a client I noticed a domain that seemed remarkably out of place: google.com. In addition to adding themselves to a large number of low quality directories, the competitor had discovered that if you purchase the Google Mini you have the privilege of contributing to their exceedingly large list of “customer success stories“. While many of these success stories are for established and recognizable businesses who sincerely appreciate the advanced search capabilities the Mini provides, others are undoubtedly as pleased with their new link as their new Google Mini.

  • HA. Nice find Scott. Why wouldn’t G Nofollow those. Hypocrites!

  • What’s the under / over on when they’re no-followed? 10 minutes after Matt reads this? 😉

    BTW Scott, I only see that as a PR7, I checked different datacenters, and they’re all showing the same…

  • Simon, I’d go with the over on 10 minutes and the under for an hour. 😉

  • Beautiful! Great find Scott! I see a PR7 as well but the point remains they are breaking more than a few of their own guidelines.

  • Scott, I’ve tried a link: search for a few of the companies listed on the customers stories page and don’t see a link from Google (Google directory not counting).

    Nevertheless, an interesting story.

  • Postoholic, where are you doing the search? If it’s on Google you should know that that’s about the worst information you could get.

    Check out the second result on .

  • woops… looks like my link to the Yahoo search didn’t work. Here’s the url to copy and paste: http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/advsearch?p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bilia.se%2F&bwm=i&bwmo=d&bwmf=s

  • SEO Refugee, I’m certainly not an SEO expert 🙂

    But is it incorrect to assume that if Google link: search does not show a link, then that means that Google does not count it as a backlink, no matter what Yahoo thinks on the subject?

  • dnn

    That’s good, but i don’t see pr8 link yet.

  • Yeah, that’s incorrect. Google purposefully only displays a small sampling of the links they count. For example, a Google link: search for my site shows about 244 links. However, if I log in to Webmaster Central, they show me over 11 thousand links.

  • I hate posts like this.

    You make it sound like these companies are specifically paying for the link, which is not really true now is it. I know of one company that’s missing, so this isn’t even a complete client list.

    Matt’s posts talks about links specifically: “paid links that flow PageRank and attempt to game Google’s rankings”.

    Since there are 100+ links on that page and the link text is the company name, it’s not trying to game the system, it’s just a list of happy customers. Take a look at Matt’s example of the paid links that they’re looking for:

    http://www.mattcutts.com/images/example-paid-links.png

    So while the list is huge and horrible from a UI point of view, it’s not like Google is specifically selling links.

  • Reuben, I had no intention of making it sound like Google was selling links – they clearly aren’t. This was more of a light-hearted piece of irony that made me smile when I saw it.

  • Reuben, this reminds me of a tactic ticket scalpers use. They sell a cheap coffee mug for 300 bucks and include 2 free tickets to some sold out game. Now granted, a Google Mini isn’t a cheap coffee mug but you certainly can’t tell me that those Google links are affecting the rankings. The only reason Google gave those people links is because they’ve purchased a product from them so really, yes, it is exactly like Google is selling links.

    If you say that wasn’t the intent then would selling links without mentioning PageRank or SERPs then be OK?

  • Your obv. missing the whole point Reuben. The fact of the matter is. X company bought something from Google, and is then given a link.

    Google has explained to webmasters to NOFOLLOW any link that isnt an actual VOTE for that site. These sites wouldn’t get a vote if they had not BOUGHT something from Google. Google is being a hypocrite, end of story.

  • Scott – thanks for the clarification – I guess my reaction was inclusive of some of the comments.

    SEORBlog
    Please don’t liken this to an illegal workaround like scalping…

    If they are affecting rankings, what term do you think they’re affecting? I’d guess the company name since that’s the link text. You think an organization that’s large enough to want to buy a Google mini isn’t going to be found for its company name if they don’t get a link from Google?

    Brian
    I’m not missing the point, I understand people think Google is hypocritical in the link selling, but the original intention of the vendor is to buy an appliance, not to get a link. The link is just a bonus and as I said, not every customer gets a link.

    A company site linking to its customers is not a bad thing, it’s a totally valid link. The links aren’t meant to be ads and they’re not intended to manipulate the PR algo so there’s no need to nofollow them. These links are in a totally different category to links that are primarily bought as ads.

    Do a search for “our clients” – are all those 254M results manipulating the PR algo and need to be nofollowed?

  • The link is certainly something of added value beyond the product being purchased.

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  • Great Catch. Nice article.

  • WebGeek

    Wow, $1995 for a lifetime PR7 link, without nofollow? Not bad. 🙂 Over 2 years, that would beat a rented link that costs $85/mo. Better than most paid PR7 link prices, wouldn’t you say?

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  • “What if a site wants to buy links purely for visitor click traffic, to build buzz, or to support another site? In that situation, I would use the rel=”nofollow” attribute.” -Matt Cutts 9/1/05

    We could always report it as a paid link 😛
    http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/how-to-report-paid-links/

  • LOL. Awesome! Let’s report it. 8)

  • I was think about getting a Google Mini for Marketing Pilgrim. 😉

    Nice scoop Scott!

  • Reuben, not to beat a dead horse 😉 but you say “If they are affecting rankings, what term do you think they’re affecting? I’d guess the company name since that’s the link text. You think an organization that’s large enough to want to buy a Google mini isn’t going to be found for its company name if they don’t get a link from Google?”

    Do you really think a link of this nature would only affect your SERPs for the anchor text? Also, what if I were California Mortgage Loans LLC? That would be some decent anchor text. Sort of like ABC Fine Wine and Spirits…

  • Indeed. Having a trusted, authority link can have an impact on the authority of the ENTIRE site. Its not merely a matter of helping you rank higher for your site name. It helps your entire site out as well as variations around your site name.

    Prime example. SEO Refugee posts here and obtains a PR7 homepage link to increase his ranking for “SEO BLOG” since his site name is SEO Refugee, he works in the anchor text, SEO Refugee Blog 😉

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  • It would be nice to get a link from the Big Daddy, even though its amongst 565 links.

    Thanks for the tip, Scott.

  • I believe this does count as selling links!

    Google should be worrying about all the adsense powered spam sites in its index.

    And I know many people who would pay 2k just for a link of PR8 from google, so it looks like a scalpers trick to me.

    I bet they mention that link when they are trying to make a sale for google mini!

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  • It’s indeed a great find. But do you know if some body signup for their service are they going to show that site surely ? I think they are not showing all sites straight forward. Only the industry leading sites might be on that list. But I must say finding that url is a big credit for you.

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  • Jimmy

    it is really cool! Google is Selling links, Any one can suggest me from where we can contact for the links. i need some High Pr links Pr7 Pr 8 Do contact me for this certvista (@) gmail.com

  • i’m shocked too 🙂 hehehe…

  • How can google sell links!? That is weird! Did they only make this PageRank system to make money?
    – William

  • had

    “Only $1,995”

    🙂 yes, it’s only 🙂

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  • That’s okay, I’ll just put it on my credit card.

  • This is really amazing, if google is selling links PR8 ones, Well i guess this all to gain the ranking in search engines thats all.

  • Nothing surprises me anymore.

  • i read this article
    its very expert

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  • I think this just shows that you can sell links on your page – so long as you charge $1995 for a product and give them a link on the site as well.

  • thanks.Superrr

  • Yeah, that’s incorrect. Google purposefully only displays a small sampling of the links they count. For example, a Google link: search for my site shows about 244 links. However, if I log in to Webmaster Central, they show me over 11 thousand links. great idea…

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  • thanks bebeim supeer… devam devam

  • thanks aq

  • thanks bebeim supeer… devam devam
    nedemek lan bu

  • teşekkürler canımm

  • eyw

  • o kadar para verilmez googla link için…

  • Videosz tenk yu canım

  • Thanks …

  • I’d like to buy a link there 😉

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  • I’d like to buy a link theremaybe

  • thanks

  • forum, forum sitesi, paylaşım, paylaş, eğlen

  • I don’t understand why it’s ok for google to sell links but everyone else cannot do it?

  • thank youu

  • All Google has to do is `nofollow` those links. They don`t, so what does that tell you?

  • An eye opener, just stumbled upon this post and digging further.

    On the surface of it the same story getting repeated.

    “And the story is I’m on the top and I wouldn’t let you go above me.”

    So in the end it is going be a duet, Google Vs. Microsoft.

    I’m watching how world is being shaped….

  • en yeni oyunları oynayabileceğiniz tek site.

  • Geoff, nowadays links from references with ` nofollow ` has not to sense for google

  • cep telefonu cep telefonları.. thanks ..

  • this seems interesting..

    I think the most interesting part, google makes this job unknown so we dont know exactly what is happening.. if google is counting or not.. is nofollow links work for something or not.. so there is always a hope 🙂

  • Allah razı olsun

    canerkus’s last blog post..Burj Al Arab Pictures 1

  • Good website!

  • thanks

  • eyw

  • saol canim

  • Good Job….Good Job!

  • Thank you.

  • Best regards. Thanks

  • this is very dis-heartening to hear. if they are policing the industry how can they themselves sell links?

    i have been hearing soo many great things about google, between all the free software they give away and their “green” datacenters….

    they better clarify these matters soon, because it can not be good press!

    StacyJai’s last blog post..Children and Strangers: Keeping Kids Safe

  • çiçwk göndermek için bu çiçekçiler sitesini ziyaret etmek gerekiyor veya online çiçekçiler den bu işi öğrenmek gerekiyor sizde çiçekçiler magazasi açmak için bize bir danışın

  • I’d like to buy a link there

  • Teşekkürler paylaşım için,denemek de fayda var.

    Sedat’s last blog post..Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English 4 – Teacher`s Book

  • teşekkürle hizmetiniz için

  • paylaşmak hayata huzur ve mutluluk katar mutlulkların en yücesi sizlerin olsun

  • Teşekkürler paylaşım için.

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  • Already working or just fixed?

  • böyle bi yardımlaşma olduğu için sizlere minnettarız

  • Greatest post to help us increase our Auto Insurance Search Engine for PR8 Link From Google Auto Insurance Search Engine

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  • How can google sell links!? That is weird! Did they only make this PageRank system to make money?

  • It looks like google contradicts it’s own statements and gives itself top priority when it comes to ranking high. It’s a monopoly that’s not fair.

  • teşekkürler

  • tşk

  • Thank you

  • What’s the under / over on when they’re no-followed? 10 minutes after Matt reads this?

    BTW Scott, I only see that as a PR7, I checked different datacenters, and they’re all showing the same…

  • Thank you for this page!! A lot of informations!!

    Greetings

  • thanku you

  • Thanks for the info

  • online çiçek siparişi Thankyou

  • I never noticed that change to the terms and conditions. It’s a good job you’re on the ball as it’s easy to get caught out by stuff like that. Thanks so much – Richard

  • I think not possible to find, or with “nofollow”…

  • Thanks

  • Hmm Only $1,995 ? 🙂
    Thanks

  • Do you think that it’s realy good thing to be placed in the list ?
    Probably for the 10 first postitions, but after…

    Telecharger Player’s last blog post..Twister Anti-TrojanVirus

  • nice

  • Oh my gosh! Thats a lot of money! If only I could aford that!

    Nice post! 🙂

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