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    Why do big sites get away with selling links?


    I came across a thread on Reddit in the /r/BigSEO section with a person complaining that sites like Business Insider get away with selling links to other websites without adding the "nofollow" attribute to clearly marked "sponsored" content.

    The example given was this:
    Ninjas vs. Superbugs - Business Insider

    Would it be because they're only using a brand anchor text? But even then, this would still go against Google's guidelines on this particular issue which advises webmasters to do the following:
    Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link
    This seems to me like a clear violation of Google's guidelines, and yet there sites seems to be in quite a healthy shape.

    What gives?
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    If I recall, Forbes.com was penalised for selling links - Forbes is massive - so how are Business Insider getting away with this?

    *also, there doesn't seem to be a function to edit posts! Apologies for the double post.
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    so how are Business Insider getting away with this?
    Could it be they have enough authority, so the backlash doesn't hurt or really affect much?
    I'd assume unless their checked manually and then finding enough to hand out a penalty... seems logical they have some lead way on less authoritative sites.
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    The site may have had enough high PR links to cover up with these paid links as what Test-ok said. That could be possible. They know how much is enough with these paid links that they have plenty/more of authoritative/high PR sites than those paid links. Usually this is a matter of equation.
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    Originally Posted by Test-ok
    Could it be they have enough authority, so the backlash doesn't hurt or really affect much?
    I'd assume unless their checked manually and then finding enough to hand out a penalty... seems logical they have some lead way on less authoritative sites.
    I would assume it's because they aren't using rich keyword anchor text for competitive terms and possibly the fact they are linking out to other high authority sites as well? Either way, it's still a violation as the PageRank will spread throughout the IBM site to their product pages.

    Originally Posted by Traffic Travis
    The site may have had enough high PR links to cover up with these paid links as what Test-ok said. That could be possible. They know how much is enough with these paid links that they have plenty/more of authoritative/high PR sites than those paid links. Usually this is a matter of equation.
    Not sure. Forbes.com was penalised for selling links, and pretty sure they are much bigger than Business Insider.
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    Another thought... Google is fully aware of their selling links and is assigning ZERO value to those purchased links. People/Sites buying the links are paying for nothing and risking being penalized by Google. Maybe?
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    SEO aside for a minute, it is highly likely that "other" things are going on behind the scenes. A quick look at today's natural Google serps shows the [seemingly] favoritism toward the biggest players in many circumstances. It was never like that pre-panda/penguin. It might seem like a cynical viewpoint because it can't be proven but it is the sentiment among many in SEO these days.
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    Hmm.. Are you familiar with reporting sites that do not adhere to G's guidelines? It can also be because Forbes has been reported a lot of times by its competitors. That can still be a valid reason.
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    Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, publicly outed on Twitter, another link network that Google has penalized. Matt Cutts new trend is the share a link from the marketing material of the link network and then add a word or two to say the opposite, that Google caught you.
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    Originally Posted by SEO_AM
    Another thought... Google is fully aware of their selling links and is assigning ZERO value to those purchased links. People/Sites buying the links are paying for nothing and risking being penalized by Google. Maybe?
    I was thinking this, but it doesn't really set a good precedent. Don't know why anyone, especially big companies would risk doing this. I suppose they just don't rely as much on the search results as everyone else.
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    Many people believe last Google updates are done to hit small bussines and blog owners and to help big coroprations and webpage.

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