Banking from Backlinks – Destroying Credibility?

I’m not sure if this is a justified article or just a rant.  Not even sure if anyone will read it….so I suppose it is a rant then.

Anyway.

Hopefully I do not have to explain what a backlink is and how they can help your site rank or get more traffic.  If you do need an explanation, then this ‘rant’ will be wasted on you I’m afraid!

I was recently asked to write a small article for a website.  Give my opinions on the security of web browsers and my least and most favorite browser.  This was a journalist request for a popular website and something I do quite often, sometimes anonymously as I quite like writing.  Often though, you are asked to add your website and details so these can be included in the written piece – a fair swap, right?

The journalist gets their article and you get a citation/link/backlink to your site or, at least, your social media accounts.  In any circumstances it gets your name a little more known, especially when you are building up a brand etc.

After spending some time making sure I dotted the ‘I’s and crossed the ‘t’s I sent of the written piece.

It got accepted.

I was then asked to make a decision (I don’t like making decision at the best of times…let alone after only one cup of coffee).

  1. Have the written piece published with a reference back to my name and website (unlinked)
  2. Pay $70 for a link to my website to be included in the article.

I chose ‘1’ although I am sure many would choose ‘2’ on the premise that they get their website a nice juicy backlink.

And to tell you the truth, I was pissed.  Not in the UK sense drunk=pissed but the American pissed=angry.

I was asked to produce the piece and I did.  I was under the impression a link back to my site would be in place and not be offered in different forms after the fact.  And there in lies the difference.  I was not looking to pay for a link.  Not looking to create an article for a link.  I was asked to write an article and that article would include a link.

So here are the questions: –

  • Is it just common place to ask for financial reward in return for articles?
  • Is this increasing?
  • Is it acceptable?

I know the answer to all of the above is ‘yes’ in many people’s eyes – especially those selling the links.  It’s no doubt very tempting to get paid quite large amounts for including links in articles that have been written for you.

Win win!  You get a FREE article for your website and you get PAID to include a link!

So here is the real question:

Are paid backlinks in articles devaluing sites?  Their content?  Their standing?

Here is another question:

Is it so common place that people just take for granted that they need to write an article just for a paid backlink these days?

I personally think this trend needs reversing.

I work bloody hard to write articles and to try and get them published.  If you, as a journalist or webmaster, are wanting ME to pay YOU for what has taken me time and effort and you can’t even be bothered to properly refer back to the person who wrote the article, which is just good old fashioned manners, then good for you.

Me.  I would rather put in the effort and the time to write an article that deserves to get published for what it is.  And if that means being rejected time and time again then so be it.  At least when the article is published and properly cited, it’s done so without me having to dish out the dosh.

I’m sure many of you have your own thoughts on this and I’m always pleased to read them!

Rant over.

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