Pay to play. Everyone’s heard the term—it means that in order to be part of something or to get benefits from it, you’ll have to make a sacrifice. So what if I told you that the benefits you received once-upon-a-time have come to a screeching halt, and what you paid for is now hurting you? Would you relinquish your membership? To that I tell you: you’ll have to pay again.
Not too long ago, directories were a great way to enhance your link profile. Plus, as long as they were “human edited”, you could put on the ol’ white hat (maybe eggshell depending on the directory) and move along. Now Google says directory submission through link buying is a no-go, and the directory overlords have heard all about it. The impending doom foreshadows a future where directory sites will be nothing more than parked domains and with people abandoning ship like it’s the Titanic. To no one’s surprise, this means directory webmasters are taking action to squeeze every last penny out of anyone they can.
It’s happening more everyday: link removal buttons are popping up right next to the standard “submit link” tab. From what I’ve seen, the charge is anywhere from half to full price of what you would have paid to post the link originally. With the way Google has been working to drastically update its algorithm with the user in mind, you can hardly blame webmasters for finding a way to make their investment last but a little bit longer.
Don’t get me wrong though; not everyone’s playing dirty. Some sites have the option to take the scenic route for free, with a projected 6-8 weeks for link removal. That may be a long time to wait if you have an unnatural link notice on your front door, but it couldn’t hurt to try and reach out to them before hitting that PayPal button or looking to the link disavow tool.
As my great Uncle Steve used to always say “you play with dirt, you are going to get dirty.” Unfortunately, now the sink is pay-to-play.
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