Why buying links is similar to covert advertising

30 Sep

Covert advertising is a form of advertising in movies or tv-shows that doesn’t need disclosure during or near the product placement, but works under the premise that it’s a natural part of the work. Mentioning the advertiser in the credits is advisable, but not mandatory. This makes Covert Advertising -if done correctly- quite hard to spot for the movie critics, but this also makes it a very efficient way of advertising.

Heineken placement in James Bond movie

Buying links is like covert advertising. If you do it the right way, it adds value to both the movie and your brand. If you do it the wrong way, it not only makes the movie look bad (themovie can get bad reviews from the critics as well), but it might also harm your brand.

Have you ever been watching a movie and saw a bad actor drinking from a soda can with the brand pointing towards the camera in a very unnatural way? Did that make you think “OMG, that’s frikkin’ bad. Why didn’t they make a regular ad in stead of this unnatural crap”? Well, that was like a bad paid text link.

Have you ever seen a movie where the main character was drinking a soda with the brand pointing to the camera and thought “Hey, I’d like a drink just like that as well!”? That was like a good paid text link.

Make sure that you don’t make your covert ads too obvious. Although Google has been busy penalizing multiple directories (which used questionable tactics), their Paid Link Detector is still far from perfect. If they can’t even figure out how to spot websites that buy thousands of text links (or sell them), buying links as a link marketing strategy will still help you to achieve top rankings. But keep in mind that there are no companies out there that only rely on covert advertising, it can only be successful on the long term if you mix it up with other tactics.

3 Responses to “Why buying links is similar to covert advertising”

  1. william October 1, 2007 at 7:01 pm #

    The question is, what value does buying links add to your customer? The practice of buying links is exactly what gives SEO a bad name. Many people believe it is just the cost of doing business on the web, but that doesn’t excuse the practice. I have to believe the great sites out there don’t need to buy their links.

  2. Wiep October 1, 2007 at 7:12 pm #

    Buying links not only adds value in link juice, but also provides direct traffic. Some websites need a little push to link to your website, or request a reviewing fee. I don’t see why this makes SEO look bad. Do you look the same way at companies that use covert advertising as a marketing tactic?

  3. Brandon Drury October 7, 2007 at 4:15 am #

    I’m sure that Google has an AMAZING paid link detector. The problem is not in analyzing the trends in the code of agenda based links. The problem is in choosing how many innocent casualties are acceptable.

    I’ve spent all summer writing the Paid Link Detector at Text Link Center. It is far from perfect also. However,there are VERY clear signs of paid linking. I think most of us are so close to the SEO world that we can’t see it.

    I think Google is being VERY careful not to go hardcore all at once. I think Google could turn the text link industry upside down instantly, but I think there may be other factors in their algorithm that may dramatically suffer. Google would rather be slow and deliberate as it tweaks it’s algorithm. If their results lose their quality, people will move on to Yahoo and MSN.