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New York Times Continues Paid Link Outing Stories, Looks At Online Flowers Industry

Over the weekend, the New York Times published a story called Trying to Game Google on “Mother’s Day Flowers”. Yet more big companies got outed for buying links, but this time, Google didn’t say the links had helped.

The story covers how top web sites that rank for search terms related to online flowers sales also appear to have purchased links. The names large brands such as Teleflora, FTD, 1800Flowers.com and ProFlowers as doing this.

The reporter sent a list of 6,000 links (apparently paid links, though this isn’t clear) that these companies acquired over a month’s time to Google. Google replied that the links had virtually no impact on the rankings of those sites. No impact to boost or even degrade the rankings of those sites.

Google told the NY Times:

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.

Google added in this statement that they do not always penalize for paid links but rather ensure those paid links have little to no effect on the overall rankings.

When the NY Times exposed J.C. Penney for their link schemes earlier this year, J.C. Penney received a harsh manual penalty. But when it comes to hurting these online flower retailers, the week prior to Mother’s Day, Google did not lift a finger – at least not yet.

I personally love the statement from Teleflora saying that its “corporate policy is to not pay for any links that would violate Google’s guidelines:

After closely reviewing the Teleflora links you provided, we believe we are in compliance with Google.”

Oh, so they have a policy to pay for links that do not violate Google’s guidelines? Aren’t all paid links against Google’s guidelines?

For more of our coverage on paid links, paid link penalties and Google even penalizing themselves for links – see our stories below.

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