Wednesday, March 9, 2011

MediaNews accused of selling paid links

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.


Anonymous said...

Are there any newspaper websites in the Bay Area whose core decision makers consider the reader before the advertiser?

Consider this: MNG's interactive is based in Denver. So, what are the chances that Singleton's yes men are even in touch with Silicon Valley reality?

It only leads me to presume these executives believe Google needs them more than they need Google. That quite possibly may be true. So, what's it going to take? How many requests do I have to make to Google to stop indexing Silicon Valley's major daily?

Some disclosure: I work at a competing news provider in the same market. I've notified Google about this practice many times since I first "caught" them doing this years ago. (See for yourself, five years ago: )

Anonymous said...

More of the high ethical standards we've come to expect from MediaNews and Dean Singleton!

Anonymous said...

i dont see what the big deal is, you have to be an idiot to ever click on those ads. buyer beware.

Anonymous said...

Who cares about what the UK or Google thinks about the practice. MNG continues to pay real reporters and columnists and puts their product on my porch every morning. I enjoy it with coffee each day.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed by the bias this website shows so often against the Mercury News and its sister publications and parent company. Amazing!

Lisa Klassen said...

Hey, Amazed ... MediaNews creates its own problems. Don't fault this website or anybody else for simply reporting what's happened over the years. If you don't like how MediaNews is portrayed in the media, get your company to clean up its act!