Recently, with mucho fanfare, TLA launched a new service called inlinks – designed specifically to restore freedom to the link buying industry – freedom from the prying eyes of the grand overlord Google, freedom from… well actually just from Google.
I, being ardently against the domestic terrorism that fear, uncertainty and doubt marketing campaigns embody, would hail this as … whatever the modern equivalent of ‘groovy’ is – I’m too lazy to look it up in the urban dictionary.
Then I logged in, and my world crumbled. Wow that was way too dramatic. Okay – actually my muffin crumbled, as my jaw slackened, and bits fell in my coffee. That was the extent of the crumbling going on. It’s a butterface. She’s got a beautiful front-end, a beautiful back-end, she’s beautiful all around, everything but her face.
So I searched Inlinks for butter. I’ll spare you the details, but if you haven’t seen the system yet, herein lies the rub: they return not a URL (obviously, this is a closed inventory), but the PR, Alexa ranking and … wait for it … waaaaait for it … a contextual snippet of the text on the page containing your keyword.
The gears in my neocortext start-a-whurrin, and I realize, heeeeeey, who’s pretty good at associating snippets of text with URLs? Goooooooooogle. So I grab a snippet, “hack” some quotes around it, query it into the Godosphere, and kapow, I have a URL. Correlated to PR and Alexa ranking, I’m quite certain I’ve found where my link would live.
This is a very automatable process. Google is rather well known in some circles for their ability to automate processes.
Now, some of you are realizing, perhaps I’m being overdramatic with all my talk of domestic terror and muffin crumbs, and no, Google is likely never going to query the inlinks database for the phrase ‘exoskeleton Christmas gifts’ or whatever it is you’re optimizing for this holiday season – But chances are they *will* query for ‘christmas gifts’, and the niche exoskeleton site you’d found will be exposed.
An yes, hopefully TLA would be able to know if their DB were being over-queried, or strangely queried, and lock it down, but regardless, if any one of us can track-back a snippet to the most likely URL, Google could find a way to do it en-masse.
Am I dissing inlinks? Hardly. I’m kept awake at night for fear of Google penetrating my feeble mind with satellite based brain-rays. I simply think inlinks could be refined a little. They could either not provide a snippet for searches, or they could present the snippet as an image, and the inventory would instantly become much more closed, as it is intended to be.