TLA Changes Code, Says Refrain From Paid Links Text

As the PageRank issue fights on, the changes are taking place to combat the "paid link" issue in one way or another. Just yesterday I received an email from TLA talking about their new code that I needed to install to update my TLA account to the latest version. I only use TLA's on one blog right now, and it is a very off topic personal site, but I still had to log into my account and make the changes. The screen shot below is from the code upgrade and specifically says not to use terms that would show Google what you are doing?

Text Links Ads Suggests Not Using Paid Links

New Terminology: Don't Use the Term "Paid Links"

They are obviously trying to combat the Google paid link penalty in various ways, but still maintain their business plan and structure to keep paid links AND to still use the "do follow" principle.

The wording they are now using is quite clear. Use our product, but make it harder for Google to see what we are doing? The email I received (and I assume everyone else did as well) said:

By following the tips below you will make more money with our program.

  • Update your code today! Please login to your account and grab the newest version of our ad code and replace your current ad code. We have made improvements to our ad serving and updating your code will ensure top performance.
  • Our advertisers don’t like ad blocks that are titled “Sponsored Links” “Advertisements” “TLA” “Text Link Ads” etc. They prefer no heading but if you do use a heading please consider using an image not text and consider using something like “Recommended Sites”.
  • If you are using a “your link here” or “advertise here” “Text Link Ads” or “TLA Links”, link that links back to your listing at remove it.
  • If you currently have zero ads sold please note that single page ads sell better than site wide ads.

This is an interesting list of do's and don'ts. We are not to use "text link ads" or anything else that would make it obvious that this is a paid link? Well we know this from Google already, but I think they are going to have to overcome a lot more than that. My total revenue from TLA is $12.68 per month right now, not enough for me to tell Google to go stick it?

I emailed TLA a while back and asked why I couldn't change the links to rel=nofollow and posted their response in, What is With the rel=nofollow Penalty, and they were very short and said NO, period.

Why Should We NOT Use These Terms?

My first reaction to reading this was... if they have to tell me NOT to do something to use their service because it is in direct conflict with what another company wants, is this wrong? Well, it depends I guess. It depends on what company you want to ultimately do business with on a regular basis, right? I don't have a problem with optimizing something to work the best, but it sounds really close to gray hat, moving into black hat tactics.

This may be overstating the issue a little, but where do they stop? How far do they go to sell paid links without jeopardizing their entire business? I like TLA, but I have not been impressed with their ongoing tactics, and complete disregard for the current issue. Especially after receiving their response to my question about the rel=nofollow issue, I wonder how this is going to effect their business plan in the end.

Can We Not All Just Get Along (Google, TLA, and Bloggers)?

I would like to know why TLA can not come up with something that bloggers will readily accept for advertising on their site, and that didn't tell Google, here I am with a big bulls-eye on my head, kill my PageRank now instead of later? I know why of course, TLA wants to sell ads, and their advertisers want the "do follow".

Ultimately I think this is a loosing strategy for TLA and it will not win out in the end. If Google doesn't want to play, it will eventually kill TLA business unless they can find another way to move forward. Perhaps I am looking at this wrong, but I see TLA on the Titanic using a spoon to throw water overboard in hopes to float the boat.

TLA Code Updated, Now What

So, I have updated the code on my wordpress plugins, although I still have no sold ads on any site other than a niche craft blog. I used the heading "of interest" myself since I started. I never wanted to bring attention to any paid links anyway, I didn't need TLA to tell me that?

The bigger question to me is when do the bloggers start jumping ship. There are way more people than there are life boats, I wonder how many bloggers are going to want to risk their rankings in various ways by trying to circumvent Google by doing what TLA advocates? I guess there will be a balance mix of caution for now.

What about you or your company? Do you use TLA, and if you do, how have you changed your "text" for the ads you display?