Bloggers have been infuriated by Google’s changes to their PageRank system. In particular, Google is not ranking blogs and sites that participate in PayPerPost. Some site owners depend upon their page rank for advertising revenue… that is, some advertisers rely heavily on page rank, and if a site does not have one, they’re less likely to get advertisers.
Google’s PageRank is based upon a proprietary (i.e. secret) algorithm which calculates the rank based largely upon incoming links to site. It doesn’t just count links, though. It takes into consideration the quality of the site that links to your site. You get more credit for a link from a valuable site than you do from a worthless site like a link farm.
So bloggers are upset for being left out of the PageRank system if they’re using PayPerPost. They’re fighting back, and Izea (the new name of PayPerPost) has come up with something new. The new system is called IzeaRanks or RealRank, and they claim they’re going to have the “real” rankings: proving how much traffic sites get and therefore how valuable they are to the readers.
The thing is… I understand where Google is coming from. What good are paid posts anyway? So a company does a campaign where they pay 500 bloggers to write about their product. Does that mean that the product is popular among bloggers? No. It means bloggers were paid to make people think it’s popular. They’re paid to create buzz.
So why should bloggers who only write about things because they get paid for it get “credit” in the blogosphere? Is that content legitimate content? Not in my eyes. And apparently not in the eyes of Google, either.
I have some doubts as to whether or not this new ranking system will mean anything in the long run. I think they’d have to get participation from site owners very quickly if they are to survive. I’m not against this ranking system by any means. If someone can create a valuable tool to analyze web traffic and site quality, I say they should go for it. The market can decide whether or not the tool is legitimate or not.
But that doesn’t stop me from agreeing with Google on their stance against sites that post about topics because they’re paid to do so.
Note: I’m a paid blogger for AOL, posting on WalletPop, BloggingStocks and Luxist. We get paid per post, but our content is not controlled by anyone. Individual bloggers have complete editorial freedom to write about any and all topics that pertain to the particular blog(s) they write about.