First I want to point out that we have a strict no-follow policy for all links we provide through SocialSpark.
If there were any no-follow violations on the Kmart campaign I can assure you they were unintentional. These six posts were done manually outside of SocialSpark but adhered to the same code of ethics. The only reason any of those posts may have had PR passing links is the blogger added them on their own accord without any instruction whatsoever. The only link provided to the bloggers was a DART link that does not pass PR. This clearly was not about SEO, if it was we would have told the bloggers where to link to and what anchor tag to use.
In retrospect we should have forced every single link to be no-follow, regardless of destination and we will do that in the future. We will do this not because I believe in the concept of no-follow, we will do this because bloggers fear Google.
I still believe the concept of no-follow is absolutely ridiculous. There is NO WAY Google can possibly determine paid links from unpaid links, even if you could where does it stop? I work for IZEA, they pay my salary. I link back to them solely because they are my employer. Should that be no-followed? What about parent companies linking to subsidiaries and brands? Vendors linking to clients? Bloggers who get “review units”, free trips, tickets, etc.
If you are going to try to enforce rules tied to “paid links” you need to look at the very fabric of all inks and the commercial relationship between sites….and guess what? You can’t.
Not only is no-follow a lost cause, it is also enforced sporadically and unevenly. When I mentioned TechCrunch using PR passing links to you (on several occasions) you reached out them personally, you didn’t penalize them. In your recent post you point out an article on RWW, a PR 8 site. Guess what? RWW passes PR on sponsored posts!!
What’s the solution? Should Google go slap RWW? NO. It’s a great site that simply linked off to some content that they felt was relevant, which is EXACTLY what the Kmart bloggers you called out in your post were doing. If you are going to slap the bloggers that participated with Kmart I expect to see the same applied to RRW- Publicly.
Don’t do it. It’s wrong. None of these sites should be penalized. These are all good bloggers trying to follow Googles rules.
Fix Your Algorithm & Take Responsibility
Here’s an idea. Instead of trying to enforce rules on bloggers and other publishers why don’t you fix your algorithm? Don’t blame the publishers. Don’t make publishers do things differently because your search engine needs help. Buck up and take responsibility, it is the ONLY way Google can win.
While IZEA has agreed to use no-follow it will never be used by the masses and you shouldn’t expect it to be.