I have just signed up for a new service (currently in beta testing) called Text Link Warehouse. The concept is simple. You paste some code at the bottom of your web pages, Text Link Warehouse sells text links to other publishers, and you and TLW split the revenue.
To publishers, the appeal is simple. Anything that will add a source of monetization to your site without causing you a whole lot of headaches and work is a good deal.
To advertisers, the appeal is having lots of text links pointing to your new site, speeding up indexing (hopefully) and boosting traffic.
There’s the Google PageRank issue.
Lots of people are under the impression that a high Google PR is a super great thing to strive for. I personally haven’t seen PR correspond to revenue or traffic, but the fact is that people will pay for high PR links. They won’t pay, at least not much, for low PR text links.
So, one question that needs to be addressed by TLW is whether advertisers will be able to buy only high PR links, or whether they just buy impressions… and the related issue of whether publishers will get extra revenue from their high PR pages or they’ll just get a flat rate per impression.
This, actually, is a vital issue, since if it’s not handled well, and publishers can get more from selling their own text links on their high PR pages, then they’ll only list their low PR pages on TLW, which will make the service less attractive to advertisers, which will lead to fewer buys, and less income all around.
The second issue that needs to be addressed is how much control publishers will have over the ads displayed.
Google has made clear that it will be penalizing sites that link to ‘low rent’ areas of the web, which means that it could seriously hurt your site to link to online pharmacies, casinos, and many of the other types of sites that would be common advertisers for TLW.
Also of concern is the issue of the service leaving a fingerprint… since Google frowns upon buying and selling text links.
While I’m interested in how this will work out, and may add many of my higher traffic and high PR links in the future, right now I’m only going to play with TLW on this blog.
Stay tuned if you want more unbiased, common sense reaction once the links start showing up.