I have been using both ReviewMe and Text-Link-Ads to monetise some of my websites and blogs. However two recent discoveries made me re-consider whether I should continue to go with them.
1. Text-Link-Ads Not Google-able
Text-Link-Ads is one of the biggest text-link broker. Site-wide text-links cost my advertisers around $25-$30 greenbacks a month here, and I get to keep half of it while TLA keeps the other half as commission. Not much, but a nice petty cash to cover all my hosting expenses. Thank you sponsors, although I cannot say I actually endorse the sites that bought links here.
The other day I googled their name and got a shocking response.
They cannot even rank with their own name, and they have to buy AdWords campaigns to get into the search result. It cannot be the case where TLA is not well optimised for search engines (they rank #1 on Yahoo! and MSN Live), especially when the very nature of text-link-buying is search engine optimisation!
Well, only one explanation makes sense to me -- Text-Link-Ads got sin-binned by the almighty G.
Let us not talk about Google's motive. It MUST have everything to do providing search users the best experience and has NOTHING TO DO with forcing advertisers onto AdWords. But now they have killed the chicken to scare the monkey, and it does make other webmasters running much inferior sites wonder, should I buy links to game the system?
2. ReviewMe Articles Become Supplemental Results
ReviewMe, whom I reviewed and earned a few bucks, is a paid review broker. Too scared to anger the almighty G with paid links? How about links right inside the content so the PhDs in the Googleplex will never detect?
So I was trying to search for the ReviewMe reviews I have written for Oz Bargain Blog. Here is what Google gave me:
Do you see what I see? Every reviews I wrote, ALL FIVE OF THEM, are in supplemental result! The above screenshot was taken last month before the recent PageRank change, and all above articles are out of supplemental index by now. But the fact that Google has identified all ReviewMe sponsored articles I wrote, and the rest of my site is indexed well -- that really scares me.
After all I have merely passed my engineering bachelor degree and I am clueless. The PhDs might have their ways to figure out the paid articles and penalise them accordingly.
So I quickly cancelled my ReviewMe account. No more paid review from me. So long, and thanks for all the fish. (Oh, the real reason could be that writing good reviews is just too time consuming and I am lazy, but just want to use Google ruining my monetisation plan as excuses...)