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page rank said in April 19th, 2007 at 4:37 pm

Just because someone is paying for a link doesn’t mean they are involved in “schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking”. Paying for a link is a way for property managers to attract potential owners/investors to their site which I’m sure is more important to them than increasing their page rank. And paying for links is the entire nature of the banner ad business. So just because someone is paying to have a link doesn’t mean they are doing it to increase page rank.

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Dave said in April 19th, 2007 at 4:48 pm

Google does not like it when sites sell links – read more here:
http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/how-to-report-paid-links/

I know that NARPM’s intent is not to inflate rentals.com’s web site rankings – NARPM is more interest in the money $$$ lots of money.

But NARPM should give members the link for free – that is the way I read their mission statement.

I am very certain that a link from the home page of the NARPM site is a powerful link. Google wants to give the small guy (me) a way to compete on a level playing field with Primedia.

I can’t afford the home page link – lets level the playing field so I can play with the big boys.

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page rank said in April 19th, 2007 at 5:08 pm

Once again though, not every sold link is designed to increase page rank and falls into the scheme category they are talking about. Even Google sells links…that’s their profit center! So obviously not all paid links are bad in their eyes, just the ones that involve schemes to increase page rank. You’re really stretching to apply that policy to what Naprm is doing.

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Dave said in April 19th, 2007 at 5:18 pm

You are correct that Google feels that not all paid links are bad – they just want you to tell everyone they are paid by placing a NoFollow tag on it. It is an easy line of code to add – only takes a few seconds to add it.

I don’t feel I am stretching this one at all – NARPM is all about ethics – so I think they should do the ethical thing and place a nofollow tag on the rentals.com link.

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page rank said in April 19th, 2007 at 5:20 pm

In case you missed it, Matt Cutts answers this very question down the page of the link you provided:
“there’s absolutely no problem with selling links for traffic (as opposed to PageRank). ”
I think that’s pretty clear.

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Dave said in April 19th, 2007 at 5:24 pm

If Rentals.com is really buying the link solely for traffic, they should have no objection to the nofollow tag. That is my point.

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PropertyGal said in April 19th, 2007 at 5:51 pm

The way I read what Matt Cutts is saying…there is no problem with selling links for traffic from your site, but you should (ethically) put on a nofollow tag. I have to say I’m with Dave on this one. I like Google’s concept. Give everyone a chance to rank well. The internet is….well…supposed to be a democratic and objective place to get information. And, for that matter, so is NARPM.

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page rank said in April 19th, 2007 at 5:59 pm

You’re still reaching. NoFollow is intended for links that the host site can’t or won’t vouch for. Here’s Matt Cutts explanation of no follow:
http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/quick-comment-on-nofollow/

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Dave said in April 19th, 2007 at 7:47 pm

I am not reaching at all – read the following from Matt Cutts here:

“As long as we’re talking about links, this seems like a pretty good opportunity to talk about a simple litmus test for paid links and how to tell if a paid link violates search engines’ quality guidelines. If you want to sell a link, you should at least provide machine-readable disclosure for paid links by making your link in a way that doesn’t affect search engines. There’s a ton of ways to do that. For example, you could make a paid link go through a redirect where the redirect url is robot’ed out using robots.txt. You could also use the rel=nofollow attribute. I’ve said as much many times before, but I wanted to give a heads-up because Google is going to be looking at paid links more closely in the future.”

Quote found on this page: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/hidden-links/

See how he says “I’ve said as much many times before” – I have heard him talk about this at many SEO conferences that I have attended.

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PropertyGal said in April 19th, 2007 at 7:52 pm

Umm….Okay, I was with you there for a while “Page Rank”….but I think Dave has put the proverbial nail into the coffin.

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page rank said in April 19th, 2007 at 8:22 pm

Well I guess that we’ll just have to agree to disagree. According to Matt Cutts:

“there’s absolutely no problem with selling links for traffic (as opposed to PageRank). ”

and

“Anytime you have a user that you’d trust, there’s no need to use nofollow links.”

So…selling links is ok. And if you trust the link then there’s no reason to use nofollow. Seems pretty clear.

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PropertyGal said in April 19th, 2007 at 9:15 pm

Ok…well… it seems to me that YOU are doing the stretching now, Page Rank. You are patching together two independent (and arguably unrelated) quotes together to try to trump what is so clearly spelled out in the paragraph Dave last quoted?. Moreover, your quotes come from discussions on unrelated topics (the first on selling “traffic” not page rank, the second on stopping spammers from abusing your blog). Dave’s quote, however, is directly on topic. Matt is directly answering/addressing the issue at hand (how to deal with paid links ethically, and the by-product effect on search engines). I still have to go with Dave on this one.

I also happen to agree with the policy Google is asserting. Level the playing field. Stop the “arms race” for good links. Thanks for bringing this one up, Dave!!

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Dave said in April 19th, 2007 at 10:18 pm

PropertyGal said it all for me – I don’t need to get the last word in. :)

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Timmy said in April 20th, 2007 at 6:53 am

Dave,

You guys have worn me out on the links topic! NARPM should provide the links free to their members and put the tag on the Rentals.com link. I wonder which CSI flunky “page rank” is?

How was the Denver NARPM Conference?

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Dave said in April 20th, 2007 at 6:59 am

Timmy,

The Denver conference was pretty good. I just wanted to walk around and introduce myself and see what was involved in exhibiting for the Phoenix conference in the fall.

Sounded like the booths at this conference were only $50, I should have gotten a booth so I could have meet more property managers – oh well – I have a lot to learn when it comes to selling my product.

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Kevin said in April 20th, 2007 at 7:19 am

I’m with page rank on this one. Narpm is free to sell links and if they trust them then they can display them anyway they want. This is America and Google doesn’t have a monopoly on who can and can’t offer paid links. If there are schemes to increase page rank, that’s an entirely different thing, but that’s not what Narpm is doing. They’ve basically sold Rentals .com a small banner ad. And just because you have a chip on your shoulder doesn’t mean you should try to scare Narpm to change things by throwing around allegations that they are violating Googles rules. Maybe you should try a more diplomatic approach and actually support Narpm by getting booths at their events and sponsoring things instead of just slinging mud. I don’t even see you listed as an affiliate on the Denver Narpm chapter website.

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Dave said in April 20th, 2007 at 7:39 am

Kevin (who might also be known as “PageRank” since he is posting from the same IP address),

I am trying to help NARPM out by complying with Google, pretty nice of me since I am not even a member yet.

Do I have a chip on my shoulder? I don’t think so when it comes to NARPM, but perhaps I do with Primedia getting an unfair paid link.

Kevin (Page Rank, Observation, Mike, Larry, Marcus, Alexa, Yahoo what every name you like to use today on your comments) why not use your real name? Are you purchasing links for your site and afraid to admit it?

I would not normally make information public about people that comment here, but I feel you are trying to sway peoples opinions by using multiple names on my blog.

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LOL... said in April 20th, 2007 at 8:27 am

$50 for a booth and you couldn’t figure that out before the conference…LOL! You’re right when you pointed out that Narpm is about networking, yet you’re not a member, you’re not listed as an affiliate anywhere, and you couldn’t even make a phone call to arrange for a $50 booth? If you want to succeed, you’re going to have to actually participate, not just get on a blog soap-box or turn to Google to make things easier for you. Your competition didn’t just magically get that banner ad, they earned it by networking, participating, and becoming so valued in Narpm that a banner ad became possible. The banner ad is a sign of the success earned from hard work, it didn’t create the success. You seem to to want to skip all the hard work and just go right to the level that it took years for your competition to achieve.

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Timmy said in April 20th, 2007 at 8:53 am

LOL-CSI Stoolie,

NARPM will take anybody’s money….they took yours!

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Timmy said in April 20th, 2007 at 8:56 am

LOL-CSI Stoolie,

As any vendor will tell you NARPM awards “Vendor of the Year” to the highest bidder which is CSI. They didn’t earn anything!

Value in NARPM = whoever coughs up the money this year!

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Dave said in April 20th, 2007 at 8:59 am

You are correct – I made a mistake and should have known that the booth was only $50. But I did support NARPM with my $115 entrance fee.

I have an engineering background – not a sales background so selling my product will not be an easy task for me.

I give Dave Borden a lot of credit for getting to know many NARPM members and creating the sponsorship that didn’t exist before that.

Using the compete.com data NARPM.org has monthly visits of 2,751. Just this blog this month should past 3,000. I feel I am participating – just in my own way.

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Wendy Frenzel said in April 20th, 2007 at 12:59 pm

Dave – Beginning in 2007 NARPM increased the dues and includes a link to all member sites vs. charging for the privelege to have NARPM link to your site. Same price either way but no choice in 2007.

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Dave said in April 20th, 2007 at 1:44 pm

Wendy,

I remember you telling me this a while back however I just looked at the site and I see the following:

“Affiliate Members may have a link to their website on the NARPM site for an annual fee of only $50.”

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Anonymous said in April 20th, 2007 at 1:45 pm

At the end of the day does it not come down to if people will pay for something then why not sell it?

NARPM would argue that they are not selling the link, they are selling the advertising space that comes with the package. That’s not unusual. Lots of web sites sell basic memberships and then additional packages including a photograph or a link for $X extra.

I understand this sentiment “I can’t afford the home page link – lets level the playing field so I can play with the big boys.” but why should the playing field be levelled? Reminds me of a joke:

Soviet farmer finds a lantern and rubs it, genie appears, offers one wish to farmer. Farmer thinks, says to genie, see other farmer Igor over there, he has a horse and I don’t. Oh says genie you want a horse? No says farmer i want you to kill Igor’s horse.

Why penalize primedia/csi for simply doing business? Seems that the right way to compete is to improve your own business, not take pot shots at theirs. As we enter a time when niche marketing becomes more the norm, maybe there are areas a small biz owner can do this more easily and faster than a large corporation.

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Dave said in April 20th, 2007 at 1:58 pm

If you are implying that I am the Farmer than I don’t want to kill Primedia/CSI, I just want to compete fairly with them.

I think if you have been a reader of this blog that you know that I do treat them with respect (although I do like to give them a hard time).

I am not giving up on this issue – I know that I am right to tell NARPM how to comply with Google’s guidelines.

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tim reed said in April 20th, 2007 at 1:58 pm

Why would you care what google thinks about selling links?? What are they the police of the internet and only they can sell links (which they made over $3 billion last year).

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Dave said in April 20th, 2007 at 2:04 pm

It is so easy for NARPM to tell their web designers to simply add the nofollow link to rentals.com link. It would take someone 2 minutes to add the tag.

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Anonymous said in April 20th, 2007 at 2:16 pm

In this vein:

If you are implying that I am the Farmer than I don’t want to kill Primedia/CSI, I just want to compete fairly with them.

You’d like them to stop doing TV adverts too? Or stop booking big boothes at trade shows?

The web is simply another tool and CSi are leveraging it.

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Dave said in April 20th, 2007 at 2:22 pm

Not at all, they can have all the TV ad spots they want – it helps me because it raises awareness in our market.

They can have the big booths too. That helps NARPM too.

Google wants a level playing field for all – on the organic listings this makes sense – when it comes to AdWords they can knock themselves out.

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Kevin said in April 20th, 2007 at 2:31 pm

Anonymous- PRM/CSI/Rentclicks- whoever you are,

Believe it or not most people to not like having to deal with large companies who attempt to dominate a market by buying out the major/minor players.

People like to have choices and are better off when a market has many viable companies competing for their business! Not a “family” of sites that one day will be all rolled into Rentals.com.

If Dave Borden didn’t take the money and run Rentclicks would of been a strong, profitable independent company for many years to come. Instead he pocketed the cash and today if you look at the Rentclicks site he is no longer even mentioned (not even as the founder). Pretty funny!

Trying to mesh companies together that hated each other (Rentclicks and Rentalhouses) cannot be easy to do. When Rentalhouses gave Rentclicks the business when they were kicked off Yahoo there was tension in the air to say the least!

Although I suspect a there is a high level of employee turnover at PRM/Rentals.com. and RC, RH and HRA will eventually fade away into Rentals.com.

I just do not think that CSI will be able to pull it off! Their history shows that they have failed miserably in the past (article below)

State Associations and NARPM will take all the $ that Rentals.com throws their way for as long as they can. But secretly they want other companies to survive in this market so that they will have a choice and they want competition so they have more bargaining power. Large PM’s paying &79.00 an ad per listing on the Family?

I don’t think so!

So keep things moving along Dave! You will be able to capitalize on CSI’s mistakes!

About.com Acquired by Primedia: Sin or Synergy?
by Barbara Quint
Posted On November 6, 2000

Primedia has announced its goal to dominate print and the Internet in its niche markets. It has made a number of deals recently with Internet and other media companies to improve its online position.

Primedia paid $690 million in stock for About.com. Initial negative market reaction led to a one-quarter loss in Primedia shares from their previous stock market value. About.com had no debt at the end of September and $133 million in cash. Its revenues in the latest quarter had risen by one-third over the previous quarter, and people at the company expected to see it make a profit by early next year.

In announcing the acquisition, Rogers compared the move to the Time Warner/America Online merger and said: “The Primedia and About merger creates the leading model for the integration of traditional and new media niche content and the resulting delivery of targeted marketing vehicles…

Turned out to be sin!

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Kevin said in April 20th, 2007 at 2:34 pm

Anonymous,

You can do TV ads…….just don’t bring back the stick man!

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Anonymous said in April 20th, 2007 at 2:35 pm

So the fact of the matter is that you don’t like the link because rentals.com may be (and lets be honest we don’t know the algorithm Google uses) getting a benefit from NARPM as a Google authority site passing page rank to them, but you don’t mind TV advertisements that are going to push the branding “rentals.com”?

People who see those advertisements are not going to be doing organic searches any more, they’ll be typing in rentals.com, or googling: rentals.com. Unless there’s some “forgotten people” in this nation, i don’t think that these advertisements are going to raise people’s awareness that you can find rentals on the web. I’m pretty sure people already know that. Any advertisements will push rentals.com AS THE place to find rentals.

Surely it would be better for you to engage on a link building campaign from authority or edu/org sites to rentvine rather than complaining about NARPM’s actions? Or thinking about the long tail of searches that people may employ to find your site on Google? Or looking at Yahoo/MSN as viable alternatives?

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Anonymous said in April 20th, 2007 at 2:44 pm

Kevin, while i’ll agree that there are always going to be a good number of people who “do not like having to deal with large companies who attempt to dominate a market by buying out the major/minor players.”, there are going to be a larger number of people who simply are looking for a place to rent and are not going to be worried about where they find that place on the web.

An analogy might be the demise of the corner store. Sure we all like the familiar mom and pop corner store, and we complain about “the superstore” coming, but then we figure out that “the superstore” has a larger selection and is more convenient.

When faced with a couple of websites, one offering 100 rentals in a city and one offering less than 5, which one is joe public going to use?

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Anonymous said in April 20th, 2007 at 2:45 pm

(By the way,just think of the content this blog is providing today…c’mon guys, work some more keywords in)

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Kevin said in April 20th, 2007 at 2:49 pm

Realtor.com has been advertising/branding heavily on TV for almost a decade as “the place to find a home”. And they are the “Official Site” of the National Association of Realtors.

Even so there are hundreds of successful sites in this segment. So much so that the folks who run Realtor.com started Move.com!

So you can advertise all you want CSI boy…..it is no guarantee that you will dominate the market!

It is certain that you will pony up a lot of $ advertising that will probably help the whole segment. So spend all you can afford! When your first quarter number come out in two weeks we will know if how much money you can afford to spend!

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Kevin said in April 20th, 2007 at 2:54 pm

There is a catch twenty two at work here. Once your number of listings gets to big in a metro area the advertisers (PM’s) do not get as good of response from your site. Once you combine all the listings from RC.RH, HRA and AG you have a big mess!

PRM did not think the rentals.com master site out very well!

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Anonymous said in April 20th, 2007 at 3:07 pm

Kevin

“number of listings gets to big in a metro area the advertisers (PM’s) do not get as good of response from your site”

Yes that’s a problem all sites have, even Google. Once you have too many listings of any type, how do you get people to “relevant” information and generate leads?

But is the user better served by 20 sites each with 5 listings in a city, or by one site that has all those listings and a myriad of ways to slice and dice the data set? Most people these days don’t go beyond the first page of search results, especially when searching for a commodity that’s well served by one of the sites in the top 3 or top 10 results.

At the end of the day, it needs to be about the consumer, else a web site will not succeed, no matter what site it is, or how well funded it is.

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Kevin said in April 20th, 2007 at 3:15 pm

Can you stop using “at the end of the day”. That has been run into the ground!

I do not want to advertise my home rental on a site that has tons of Apartment listings and so many housing rental ads that my ad gets buried….and I’m not going to spend $99.00 for a premier ad.

I will place an ad on a site that has decent traffic and I get lots of solid leads……and pay much less!

I do not go to Wal-Mart either….it is not convenient to me! But I’m sure you love it!

The consumer/ advertisers are better served by RC, RH and HRA being independent competing companies…….not part of the “take over the world” mentality of CSI!

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Anonymous said in April 20th, 2007 at 3:48 pm

Ultimately ;) where you spend your marketing dollars is your choice.

If $99 at one site brings you N leads and $99 over a number of sites brings you N leads then you are choosing the basket of sites over the one site for personal preference because surely keeping your listing current on one site is easier and less time consuming.

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Kevin said in April 20th, 2007 at 4:00 pm

I will pick the basket cases of sites….the great Family!

They have the stickman and that great sales manager at RH!

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Dave said in April 20th, 2007 at 4:46 pm

Wow, I leave my computer for an hour or so and there are a ton more comments – good ones too.

I really enjoy the conversation – I am glad everyone is passionate about this topic even if some are against me.

When I worked for an engineering firm I had the opportunity to talk with my fellow engineers, but when I quit that job and started working out of my basement I was starving for that social interaction. This blog has helped me feel a bit more social. Thanks.

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DaveIsSuchAWHINER said in April 30th, 2007 at 9:24 pm

Alright Dave/Kevin/PropertyGal…

I found this entertaining until you said, “…their [CSI] history shows that they have failed… in the past.” ..but then you site an article about Primedia. CSi had nothing to do with About.com, ever. That’s like stating that Mercedez will likely fail because the Chrysler Prowler didn’t take off. You repeatedly insist that you treat your competitors [Primedia] with respect but you expend all your energy bashing them shamelessly.

Websites are a collection of pages linked together using urls. Some of those links are organic links designed to navigate to a reference or valuable resource while some are links bought to gain the benefit of another site’s audience. Google’s entire revenue model is based off of paid links targeted to specific traffic. NARPM is a very targeted audience and it would be absolutely foolish not to charge $ for a link on their home page. If NARPM believes that Rentals.com supports their brand and image, then it is not necessary to place nofollow on that link. If it is an anonymous, unqualified link, (blog comment, 3rd party banner ads) then the nofollow helps to protect the reputation of the host and indicate to the search engines that the link does not represent the image of the host site. Rentals.com is a link NARPM can be proud to host and proud to be paid form they earned that right. Neither Google nor yourself have the right to proclaim that exchnging money for established business value is unethical. Unless gettin gpaid for links on a website results in the widespread death of baby rabbits, I believe websites should continue to earn revenue for their success and they should be expected to market their product just like every other kind of business has since the beginning of capitalism: by getting a booth at the dang industry show!

You also said, “…most people to not like having to deal with large companies who attempt to dominate a market by buying out the major/minor players.” You’d think, by that logic, that Walmart and HomeDepot wouldn’t be successful. Their approach is to provide more under one roof for a lower price then the competition. I, personally, hate Walmart. I like small stores that specialize in their products and offer choices and expertise. However, walmart has $5 prescriptions. Many businesses have gone under both trying to compete with Walmart and trying to supply Walmart. If one wants to compete with Walmart today, one must provide a more valuable service or product then Walmart can aquire. Perhaps you should carry your laptop down to Walmart, slap a “no fair” sign on the back of it and prance around the parking lot crying about how mean they are for selling $6 baseball caps. Or, you could stop trying to imitate, think about what the current market leaders aren’t offering and fill that gap. But, if you prefer, you can call them failures and losers and unethical and mean and unfair and wimper until your little blog loses its edge and fades out of shear bordom for the same, old, tired story: my competitors aren’t giving me a turn.

Its one thing to insult a company and site incomplete statistics to try to create a dramatic story but you’ve resorted to insulting the people who are a part of that company, members of the industry you choose to compete in and, believe it or not, people not unlike you (except that they spend their time working, not whining). They feel satisfaction in a job well done, are pleased when their clients are happy and they like to make money doing it. That let’s them buy things like cares and college for their kids and links from other websites.

Try, if you can, to return to the time when you actually spoke with respect for your industry peers rather then just saying you do while insulting them in the very same keystroke.

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DaveIsSuchAWHINER said in April 30th, 2007 at 9:26 pm

sorry for all the misspellings, its late

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Dave said in April 30th, 2007 at 10:43 pm

I’m sorry you think I am such a whiner.

I think you are in a minority however, because if you were to look at this poll I did here:
http://www.rentvine.com/blog/index.php/should-i-tone-it-down-a-bit/
You will notice from that poll that an overwhelming majority of people think I am not whining at all. In fact many of them said I should give me competition more of a hard time.

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Jim C. "Go Noles" said in May 11th, 2007 at 10:17 am

Hi Dave!

I used to work for Rentclicks so I have been curious how CSI would absorb Rentclicks and Rentalhouses. It was no secret that those two companies did not like each other so I have been watching from afar to see how things would work out.

It appears that not only has Dave left but Jason and Jonathan as well. It looks like the brain trust from RH….if you can call them that…….has won the war.

I would think things are going south for the last of the Rentclicks employees faster than PRM stock!

I should write a book!

Jim