Google not OK with Text Link Ads

A lot of people know it. Some blogged about it. Matt Cutts himself confirmed it.

Google hates paid links.

But our site is a testament to how Google particularly dislikes the paid text advertising program Text Link Ads or TLA. used to have a PR of 4 prior to the Google PageRank chaos that engulfed the blogosphere in late October last year. The commotion stems from Google ‘s move to slap sites that supposedly sold links with a PageRank penalty. This site, along with several other sites, lost 2 PRs. That is, our PR4 became PR2.

In response, we removed all links in the site that promote TLA and stopped getting direct paid link ads. We cannot totally disable TLA then because some ad campaigns were running during that time.

Google saw the change and upgraded our PR to 3. All’s well that ends well? Not really.

In early January 2008 — just a week or two ago — Google updated PRs again and, surprise!, this site’s PR has gone all the way down from 3 to 0. Yup Pagerank zero as in nilch, nada, nothing, none.

It is at this point that we decided to totally forget about Text Link Ads. We disabled the TLA InLinks Program plugin in the blog and stopped getting TLA ads.

Voila! Two days later after the change, this site’s PageRank was up again, but not just to 3 but to its original PR of 4 (see screenshot).

Pinoy Money Talk and Google PageRank

We can confirm that Text Link Ads was indeed the culprit for our PR downgrade because after completely removing all TLA’s ads on the site — and doing that and nothing else — we got our PR 4 back.

TLA does provide a nice addition to our Adsense income, but if we are to choose between Google and TLA, there really is not much of a choice. If only TLA can find a way not to violate Google’s Webmaster policies, say put a nofollow attribute to their links, then we’d willingly embrace them back.

For now, we are happy that this site’s original PR is back. Hopefully, the increased PR translates to higher ranking in Google search which then converts to more visits to the site which, in turn, boosts our Google Adsense income, replacing the foregone TLA earnings.

Wishful thinking but still… 😉

21 thoughts on “Google not OK with Text Link Ads”

  1. when Google started the PR downgrade last year, I already removed all TLA script on my blog since no one bought a link yet. I also asked them to totally remove my sites from their inventory. So far, so good. My blogs remained on PR4. 🙂

    1. Good for you, Marhgil. Last year, TLA was already suspected as the culprit of the PR downgrade. I can’t disable TLA in this site because we had campaigns ongoing during that time. But starting this month, I decided to forego TLA. Anyway Adsense right now is performing far better than TLA.

    1. Hi Dex, I visited your site yesterday and commented on the article. Thank you very much for featuring us! 🙂

      As for TLA, I would have retained them in the site if only their InLinks program plugin which we use in the blog uses a nofollow attribute. I checked and it doesn’t. That leaves me with no other option but to disable the plugin in the blog.

    1. Last year, Google has penalized some sites that use TLA but it did not affect a lot of TLA member sites. When Google updated PageRank in October 2007, several sites, including the big ones, got a lower PR supposedly for selling paid links, in particular, for using TLA in their sites. Our previous experience getting a PR 0 and getting a PR 4 back after removing TLA only goes to show that Google doesn’t really like Text Link Ads.

  2. For some bloggers, it’s definitely a matter of choosing between Google and TLA. Some prefer TLA over Adsense because they earn more, but I’d rather stick to Adsense than risk losing our pages on the search results.

    I think you’re doing great with the PinoyBlogero blog, Karlo. You do deserve that PR 4.

  3. Right now my google toolbar shows this page’s PR as grey.

    Personally I don’t like that Google can manipulate the market so much. If they had not created a situation where backlinks where so important to webmasters for ranking in their search engine, sites like Linkworth and TLA would not exist in the first place.

    1. Exactly, and Google does play God sometimes because they want everyone to live by their rules. But since more than 50% of online searches are done in Google and a lot of traffic for sites come from Google search results, webmasters can’t help but just follow what Google wants.

  4. I also had a similar fate. My blog used to have PR 4, now it was downgraded to PR 3. However, I still consider myself lucky because it only went down 1 grade. Many blogs have downgraded to PR 0. To avoid my blog having the same unfortunate fate, I’ve dumped the TLA inlinks script.

    I am hoping to gain my PR4 again.

  5. I reckon Google just hates someone having a “better” way to monetize their sites besides adsense. I think PMT did the appropriate move in weighing which channel is beneficial.

    1. True, it may be Google’s way of fending off competition in the online advertising arena. In our case, our Adsense income is way above our TLA earnings so we really don’t have that much of a choice if we are to choose between the two.

  6. Nice Articles you have there. Very informative. Bit, i have a Question:

    Will google penalized me for having TLA from Kontera, aswell? Cuz, i have Kontera running on my blog for the last couple of months, n i dont think this as affected my page rank at all. What do you say?

    Also, i few days back i got penalized for having ads, not from kontera but from Adbrite, because my traffic from google ( search engine ) drastically reduced. Although i have removed the code, but no luck yet 🙁 What should i do now??

  7. I was never approved by TLA. I even tried registering to it again thru a different email ad but when I submitted my site, they said: “this site has been submitted before and is pending approval”. It has been months since I submitted it. But good thing they did not approve me.

    Another thing with this, I had a friend who has a buyer for his blog for US$2,250. He also had a TLA on his website. Unfortunately, Google penalized his PR from PR 3 to PR 0 the next day when the buyer is about to pay him. The buyer did not get back to him after that PR downgrade by Google.

    Google is I think still the KING of the internet.

  8. I’m planning to sign up our news website to TLA for some earnings, but after reading this post about dropping PR once use TLA i had a second thought. Now, the last comment was march 2009, does this issue still the same as of present? Will there still be a a PR drop if i use TLA? Thank you

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