The name might not ring a bell at first, but a quick refresh of your memory will probably remind you. (opens new window)
So when Vitaliy contacted me about an interview, I couldn’t pass it up.
Here’s how it went:
Question: You had to know this conversation would get noticed, so why did you move forward with it?
Answer: As a matter of fact, it happened because of my absent-mindedness. I was under the impression that it was not a public Twitter conversation. I had no idea.
Question: Once you saw that iAcquire bought the link, was there any further investigation as to how long ago that was (given iAcquire’s “outing” and subsequent penalty they got from Google).
Answer: Well, they bought it two years ago. I tried to reach them directly, but they remained silent. That’s why I decided to reach T-mobile.com directly. Also, I got to know that we had been selling them a link just a few days before the issue.
Question: How did T-Mobile respond to all of this?
Answer: I was not able to get in touch with them after my Twitter epic fail 🙂 Actually, they sent me an email message with a request to call them. I did so but to no avail. Having left my voicemail message, I also emailed them back. Despite my email reminders, I never heard back from them.
Question: In your role as the SEO Manager at WebDesign.org, do you offer paid links?
Answer: We used to do it back in the day when it was not that big of a sin, but we’ve terminated that sort of activities and totally switched over to affiliate marketing.
Question: Are there any other offerings from WebDesign.org?
Answer: We stick to Google’s guidelines now and offer only services that don’t violate them, such as nofollow links, banner ads, affiliate marketing, etc.
Question: You mention managing your partnerships – has there been any negative feedback from other partners because of this?
Answer: Yes, we had to remove some long-term links and that caused some issues with our partners, but we were able to find common ground in most cases. It’s a very tricky situation, but you just need to act right in such cases.
Question: Any traffic numbers you can share in regards to increases/decreases for your site and/or sites mentioned?
Answer: After this issue became know to Matt Cutts and – I assume – other Google guys, we got a manual penalty (Unnatural outbound links). Our PR decreased from 6 to 3 and traffic dropped by over 70%.
Question: Overall, do you think this has a negative effect on your site?
Answer: Absolutely, it’s a very hard time for WebDesign.org, but I’m sure that we’ll be able to get back to normal. We already fixed all remaining issues and submitted a reconsideration request to Google. All in all, it helped to faster change our business model. Chances are, it’ll have positive impact on the overall evolution of WebDesign.org.
Question: What’s your personal take on selling links?
Answer: It goes without saying that nowadays it does not make any sense to build your online business on such a model. You can make use of all sorts of options out there, such as affiliate marketing, creating your own product, etc.
Question: Any other comments you’d like to provide?
Answer: Problem is, it’s hard to quickly stop selling links if you sold a whole lot of long-term links. It takes a lot of time and effort. That’s because all the people you hire depend on that income. Bottom line, you should create awesome content and avidly participate in affiliate programs that make sense to your target audience. That’s the way to go.
“Vitaliy Kolos is a search engine optimization manager. Coming from tech support background, he combines both his tech and SEO skills to achieve the best results possible. He’s currently with WebDesign.org.”
Thanks to Vitaliy for taking the time to respond to this event. So readers, what do you think about all of this?