The UK-based eConsultancy, which focuses on best practices for digital marketing and e-commerce, has accused three MediaNews Group newspapers of selling links on their websites to boost their page rankings by search engines. The paid links are featured at the bottom of pages on the San Jose Mercury News, Marin Independent Journal and Oakland Tribune websites under the headling “Featured Links” (See below). Such links, eConsultancy says, are a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. The links are for things like “Payday Loans,” “Psychic Reading” and “Private Jet Sales.” Patricio Robles of eConsultancy points out that this isn’t the first time a publisher has been caught selling links. But “in the case of MediaNews Group, there’s little more than a shameless ‘stick-a-bunch-of-links-in-the-footer’ approach, which in my opinion, reflects a total lack of respect for readers.”
|The bottom of the Merc’s main page.