Text Link Ads in 2010

May 6th
posted in

Originally Link Diagnosis was a fairly well received free link analysis tool. But since its launch its role in the SEO game may have quietly changed.

While surfing around the SEO space I checked out the iAcquire white paper, which explained that they own LinkDiagnosis. iAcquire, which claims to be a corporate link building tool, apparently states that they use your research to service their clients. See the following image from their report!

John Andrews has warned against using tools for link builders by link builders, and highlights some of the related dangers

Now a well know link building service provider is offering a tool for managing link building. Part of the pitch is that only a professional link builder really knows how to build a good link building tool. I don’t disagree… but I do think the last person I want to share my link building activity data with is a professional link builder.

Just think of how valuable your link building activity data would be to someone in the link building business! That service will aggregate a vast database of places people get links from, people (webmasters) contacted for linking purposes, and perhaps even the costs of links negotiated. Wow… what a great resource for a professional link builder to data mine.

Is iAcquire Text Link Ads 2.0?

After selling Text Link Ads to MediaWhiz, it appears that iAcquire might be TLA 2.0.

Consider the following:

  • It is using anonymous domain name registration and the website doesn't list any names, which is weird for a site which claims to be founded by an elite group of SEOs experienced in serving big brands (as big brands would probably want to know *who* they are working with)
  • It is recommended by Andy Hagans on his personal site, and Andy generally wouldn't recommend anything without being paid to do so (after all, right after the link Andy wrote "I don’t plan to actively blog on this site or anything, but I want to use it to link to the existing projects in which I’m invested.")
  • the angled blue design on ReviewMe & LinkDiagnosis look similar, indicating that perhaps the same designer may have been involved in both projects, or that at a minimum the later was inspired by the former
  • on CrunchBase it states that at least 1 former TLA employee is involved with the project, as referenced in the following image quote

The TextLinkAds brand and website were crushed by Google, and yet many of the people involved with it (who sold it off right before it got penalized) have gravitated to a new brand of link brokering, whilest the old site remains penalized.

How long before Google starts honing in on this segment of the web the same way they honed in on the Text Link Ads network? If you are using a free tool to hunt for linking opportunities and the company that owns the tool is using your labors to hunt for link opportunities as well, are you perhaps wasting some of your time? Are you competing against yourself by handing tons of data over to websites with strong domain authority which only need to replicate a few of the links you get to beat you? Might it make sense to pay a few pennies to use something more trustworthy which won't harvest the fruits of your labors and use them against you?

Take a second look when looking at a lot of the free stuff online. Something that at first glance seems altruistic might have ulterior motives and hidden costs which only appear later, when a brand new competitor comes out of nowhere! And it is even worse when you are funding them with your market data and ad Dollars.

Published: May 6, 2010

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Comments

May 6, 2010 - 2:42pm

Take a second look when looking at a lot of the free stuff online. Something that at first glance seems altruistic might have ulterior motives and hidden costs which only appear later

Can't agree more. Just look at Gmail, Google Docs or Facebook.

May 7, 2010 - 3:45am

"Might it make sense to pay a few pennies to use something more trustworthy which won't harvest the fruits of your labors and use them against you?"

How can you be sure that the paid services won't use your research and link partner details ?

I think the only solution is to build your own tools, like seomoz linkscape, majestic seo tools etc, have done.

May 7, 2010 - 2:05pm

You can't be certain that paid services will not steal your data and work against you, but you can use them from companies which at least do not publicly share that they use your own work against you. :D

Also, you can work with services owned by some of the larger companies which don't have as much incentive to work against you. Like Compete.com gains nothing by doing any additional aggregation of what its paid customers are doing. And Yahoo! offers an API for their link data, so they don't even know for certain who is pulling the data - and they don't sell a link building service on top of your labors. ;)

May 12, 2010 - 7:47pm

Thanks Aaron :)
Quite true, it would really annoy me if they did that !

Can Compete.com be used for checking backlinks ? I tried their site, just can't figure out how to do this.

What is the difference between siteexplorer and the yahoo api results ?

May 12, 2010 - 7:50pm

I am sorta behind today and don't have time to dig in and provide in depth answers to your questions...though I might get to them in a couple days.

May 11, 2010 - 3:07am

I used this service until I discovered a serious bug with it that makes it data inaccurate.

What I don't understand is ...

"If you are using a free tool to hunt for linking opportunities and the company that owns the tool is using your labors to hunt for link opportunities as well, are you perhaps wasting some of your time?"

How are they using my labors? I have yet to find a link using link diagnosis that signals a page where I can also get a link so I don't really understand how my activity is helping them?

May 11, 2010 - 7:04am

They already publicly admit to harvesting your data. So what aren't they telling you? Why do they deserve any trust at that point?

You might look for certain kinds or types of queries or pages viewed by a certain person.

They could also see that lots of great link sources came from IP address xx.xx.xxx.xxx ... and then look for additional pages or sites browsed by that IP address.

They might also assume that you sometimes look up your own site for comparison purposes...and then have some spider or low waged worker look at any new links to domain x. etc.

The possibilities are endless!

May 12, 2010 - 4:14am

Thanks Aaron

I like the idea of the LD service because it gives you a quantifiable marker (i.e. a number you need to beat in terms of inbound PR power - a simple goal) for understanding what you need to beat your competitors in the SERPS in terms of quantity and quality of inbound links.

As I mentioned this was great until I realised the data was inaccurate. I used the tool a lot before realising this and as I mentioned I never found one link (well... a good link, one that could pass good pr) that my competitors were getting that I could also get. I checked lots of other high ranking sites using LD and honestly could never find link sources that I could also leverage. Maybe I just suck at link building but I never found LD useful from that perspective.

I would be interested in paying for a tool that does something similar but more accurately, you rec OptiLink in the past - is this still the link analysis tool you'd recommend?

I'm coming to the conclusion that the only way to control inbound linking and get results is to develop/buy my own content network and maintain that - sad and expensive realisation. Paying for inbound links is just money into a black hole and most of them on offer are worthless - getting dofollow, inbound links with good pr is just really really difficult. Is that a realistic conclusion - buy/develop own content network?

Thanks Andy, I love your blog, its refreshingly honest.

May 12, 2010 - 6:04pm

My name is not Andy, but I do like self-hosted data resources like Optilink. MajesticSEO is pretty good. OpenSiteExplorer also offers a lot of data.

If you are feeling that you can't replicate any inbound links to competing sites and that building your own network is your only way to compete ... then to me that feels like an incomplete strategy.

May 12, 2010 - 9:45pm

Sorry Aaron, I think you know I know your name is not Andy, it was just a typing error on my behalf.

Thanks for your input.

June 11, 2010 - 12:01am

Aaron,
Thanks funny, I was actually looking for a link broker firm. I saw iAckuire and they look professional - apparently they only work with $2500 and up budgets, so I figure they have to be good... I also discovered that they have a label of something similar to Text Link Ads, it's called intellilinks (intellilinks.com). What do you think about them?

I'm looking for a company that buys links, or a service like text-link-ads, but something good that will not get me panelized in google... so far I could't find none...

Thanks!

June 12, 2010 - 4:27pm

Nice minimum rip there. :D

They pay interns a whole $9 an hour then mark that labor up significantly.
barretthonors.asu.edu/home/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Internet_Marketing_Internship_with_iAcquire.pdf

I say it is probably better to hire your own interns (and keep your data internal)!

July 22, 2010 - 10:06am

Hi, I am new, thank you for your post - it`s really interesting

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