The New York Times has come up with yet another paid links story. The daily published a story that reveals some popular online flower sellers, that rank on top of search results, allegedly purchased links. The article called Trying to Game Google on “Mother’s Day Flowers” named FTD, Teleflora, 1800Flowers.com and ProFlowers which are well known names when it comes to online flower sales.
The reporter sent 6,000 links which were supposed to be paid links, a rather huge number, to Google. According to the report, all these 6,000 links were acquired by the companies within a month. However, unlike the reactions shown in previous paid link cases reported by the NY Times including Forbes.com, Overstock (penalty lifted recently) and J.C. Penney, Google said that the links in question didn't affect the rankings of those sites. Google said,
“None of the links shared by The New York Times had a significant impact on our rankings, due to automated systems we have in place to assess the relevance of links. As always, we investigate spam reports and take corrective action where appropriate.”
It is notable that the previously outed companies in cases of link schemes had a different fate. Google penalized them and made sure they paid for their transgressions. However, the story is interestingly different this time. Equally interesting is the comment from Teleflora that says their company's “corporate policy is to not pay for any links that would violate Google’s guidelines:”, and that “after closely reviewing the Teleflora links you provided, we believe we are in compliance with Google.”
Has there been such a policy all the while? That you could pay for links that actually does not violate Google's guidelines? Don't paid links, as in all paid links, always violate Google guidelines?