I saw a post on Andy Beards site about TechCrunch putting nofollow on advertiser links I thought I had seen them no follow for a bit but I wanted to follow up with Mike and ask a few other questions:

Here were my questions to him:

On Dec 30, 2007, at 3:28 PM, Jeremy Schoemaker wrote:

Hey Mike-

If you have time could you answer these questions I was hoping to do a post on it. I know many people would be interested why you are using no follow now on TechCrunch’s “thanks advertisers” posts. If you do not have time I understand. I know you are busy with holiday stuff.

TechCrunch seems to have fantastic ranks (as it should from its backlinks) in Google. Did that have a big influence in your decision to place the no follow attribute in the sponsors links?

Did Google contact you in any way about putting no-follow rel links on the sponsored pages?

Have you heard from any of the sponsors or had any sponsors stop advertising on TC because of it?



and his response:

From: Michael Arrington
Date: December 30, 2007 7:36:42 PM CST
To: Jeremy Schoemaker
Subject: Re: no follow on sponsors

Hi Jeremy, no, no one contacted us. We’ve been doing no-follows for a while. Just seems like the clean way to do things and be good Internet citizens. No pushback from advertisers. We’re actually increasing our rates on Jan. 1 and continue to sell out regularly.


By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

69 thoughts on “Michael Arrington on TechCrunch’s No follow Switch”
  1. Hey Man,

    Interesting post. Seems that being a “Good Internet Citizen” does pay off.

    What’s your take on the nofollow thing Jeremy?


  2. I think it’s a safer way to approach things and should be a standard now since Google is penalizing everyone that is selling ads.

  3. Good research, shoemoney. Although I doubt techcrunch was worried about getting penalized by Google.

  4. I think we need to stop worrying about pleasing Google and run our sites the way we want. TC looks like their bent over for ‘the man’.

  5. That’s quite interesting. Good idea as well, because they are technically getting free advertising on the backlinks.

  6. Good Internet Citizens? I think thats really not care about advertisers and kissing Google’s ass.

  7. I wonder what prompted him to do so?

    With all his sources and links in the industry it only seems logical to think that he does have some insider information, so naturally he wanted to protect part of his livelihood as much as possible. (read ‘livelihood’ as being indexed in Google)

    Obviously no one contacted him, that kind of information gets told to him on a daily basis! Perks of being in the midst of it all.

    I’ve never seen a thank you post to your advertisers ever Jeremy.

  8. I don’t think anyone would even consider placing “nofollow” on links without the influence of Google. Since when has it even mattered on outbound links?

    I’m so sick of people bowing down to Google and acting like it was just all friendly-happy-smiley goodness of their own hearts to be a “good internet citizen”.

    Either you nofollow and just admit you’re trying to keep Google happy (if that’s important to you) or you keep a decent link structure for those that are paying you a few grand to advertise.

    Google is basically just admitting their SE requires a lot more “hands on” adjustment than they’d like you to be aware of. Now they’ve recruited an army of secret police bitter webmasters to report others.

  9. Good Internet citizens?! Pleeeeze! The only reason they’re doing it is because Google is evil. I say screw Google! It’s getting really old having to bend to Google’s every whim when you’re trying to build a site or writing a blog. If Google keeps tweeking and messing with things it will spell their end or at least a backlash against them. I’m getting tired of all this trying to please Google crap!

  10. I am pretty sure that someone has…let’s just say convinced them to become “good Internet citizens” 🙂

  11. Wow, they are scared of the old Google slap. Guess they care about their SE ranking off google 😮

  12. This is basically a complete 180 from their position just a short time ago. Mr. Arrington can say what he wants but I think the truth is obvious (as reflected by the comments to this post).

  13. Yup, when you consider how much of a fuss they put up about it earlier, acting all coy about this new stance is just ridiculous.

  14. We can get pissed about it all we want but until enough people start speaking out about it to damage their reputation, they’ll keep plowing down this road.

  15. Remember back when Google said to create your site as if the search engines never existed? Those were the days…

  16. You doubt they were worried? Are you kidding? When you rank for as many terms as TC does, you can bet they’d be worried.

  17. And passed them the lube… but the truth is, standing up to them is much easier said than done.

  18. True, but on the other hand, their reaction is understandable since I am convinced that a “ok, we give in”-type explanation on their part wasnt’ expected 🙂

  19. Right but why go the other direction and try to act like it was their idea to begin with? I mean it’s not like their opposition to the nofollow wasn’t well documented. The way they are doing it now just makes them look even worse than if they had said “ok we give”

  20. Pffft.

    No follow is, and has been, the responsible thing to do. You don’t like it as advertisers who want more ‘juice’ from your link purchases, but it goes towards creating a better and more relevant web.

  21. Human nature, it just can’t be helped in certain cases. Sometimes pride keeps us from making the right decisions, than’s why, on a certain level, their reaction is understandable.

  22. “the responsible thing to do”

    ROFL. You act as if Google is a charity…may I remind you of their billions of dollars.

    Google complaining about no follow is essentially them saying, “hey, help us earn more money by keeping search results more relevant. our algorithm can only catch the stupid offenders with recognizable code so please do our work for us. And thanks for that IPO!”

    Doesn’t really matter…in a few years the entire first page of any query will return only Google-owned properties. We’re about halfway there.

  23. It comes with the territory if you are the most important player 🙂

    As a webmaster, if traffic from G is an important part of your business model, you can either comply or look into other sources of traffic. It’s just the way things stand.

  24. Yeah, it was also before they decided to stop trying to improve their algo and just scare people out of buying or selling links.

  25. What the hell is “responsible” about it? We’re not supposed to be doing Google’s job for them. Ads on the web were around long before Google became popular and they’ve never had a “nofollow” tag on them before. If Google doesn’t want those links to affect their rankings, it’s their job to detect and remove them, not our job to change the links.

  26. They were worried a lot. Matt said or did not say that they were violating Google’s TOS.

  27. How knows what they are really thinking? But I think they were worried about some penality by Google so they no followed their links. It was after their name was mentioned as a site that sells links that they reacted this way.

  28. Ben,

    I agree with you 100%. Google is getting way too much control over the Internet, and it ran just fine without them. But it seems now their grip is turning into a stranglehold on web publishers and they are beginning to rely on fear mongering as a way to maintain their status. Google is a search index… and should be nothing more.

  29. If your website does not depend on traffic from G, then not caring about what they have to say is something you can afford to do. If it does, however, that’s when things become complicated 🙂

  30. While interesting to hear arrington say it, it’s not surprising they’re doing the no follow thing.

  31. TechCrunch gets massive traffic from non Google sources, why are they worried about sending a little link love to someone who pays probably a hefty price to advertise on their site. I think it’s time to stop trying to please Google. If they were a “good Internet citizen” they would do what would be natural and nix the no follwo nonsense. No follow was invented for Google lest we forget that.

  32. I suppose “for a while” in startup talk is “since December 23rd” – the previous thanks post which was highlighted by PayPerPost in November which I grabbed screenshots from did not have nofollow. They didn’t change historical links, or links in editorial which were to advertisers.
    Why should they add them to editorial links? Well each time they slam PPP, it is a very convenient way to mention their advertiser TLA in the post, and often ReviewME as well.

    If you refer to Ted’s most recent post on the PPP blog, it seems Matt Cutts told him that Techcrunch were in violation. It is possible that Google didn’t tell them directly, but maybe Neil asked on their behalf (ACS do some of their SEO)

    Regarding other big blogs, Read / Write Web were already nofollowing the links.

  33. Yeah, it’s much easier to say screw Google when they are screwing you. But, when they are helping you pay your bills, its a whole other matter.

  34. It’s a vicious circle come to think of it, since, if G applies a penalty, your links will only have value as far as traffic is concerned anyway.

  35. If you’ve got the rep like TC had, advertisters prolly won’t care. Scary how Google can change things though

  36. Andy, you hit the nail on the head IMO. I think Arrington is trying to save face but to me it just comes across as dishonest.

  37. Right but that’s IF they figure it out. The truth is Google can’t detect nearly as much as they’d like people to think they can. By scaring people and intimidating some of the big dogs like TC, they won’t have to fix their algo.

  38. It’s possible that your Advertisers that don’t understand about the significance of nofollow links may be the kind that have bigger budgets so your Ad slots will fill up with these bigger spenders.

  39. I think major bloggers not usiing Adsense is the begining of a trend in the right direction.

  40. Indeed, intimidating users by applying penalties to a few important websites is an approach which can act as a quick-fix until they sort things out with their algo.

  41. Of course, given TC’s impressive traffic, I doubt they will have any issues finding advertisers 🙂

  42. I understant that google rules a lot ot the internet, but we shouldn’t worry so much about them but try to create our content and developo our sites normally.
    Actually, I think this comments include the no follow!

  43. If you create good content and have a resource worth visiting, then you will receive traffic from all sorts of sources so that you will not depend on search engines that much. But again, good site or bad, if you do not follow their guidelines and are detected, you will receive penalties…it all boils down to how important traffic from G is to you.

  44. Totally agree. Google will remove spam if they think it is affecting their advertising revenue. But try complaining about a completely spammy website that isn’t really affecting them at all and they don’t care one bit.

  45. I agree, people will most likely forget about this entire issue soon and I doubt that TC will have to lose as far as reputation is concerned.

  46. People may not like the paid links stance Google has taken, but once the hammer dropped, of course it is the smart thing to do. Like it or not.

  47. Even if search engine traffic is not important to your business model, let’s face it, if G tracks you down and applies a penalty, I doubt people will be willing to purchase this kind of advertising from you afterwards 🙂

  48. Yeah, it would be nice to see AdSense have to get more competitive and perhaps even tell you what % you’re making.

  49. @ Alan Johnson

    I don’t agree completely with you, because of the following items:

    1) If you are outdated and you are not found in Google because you have been penalted, there are many other ways to get back in google.

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