2 Self-Serving Active Links

We’re considering a change in one of our longest standing policies in terms of active self-serving links… and we’d like to get your feedback about it.

Currently: (See Editorial Guidelines section 2.f.) Your articles can contain up to (3) self-serving active links, and (3) non-self-serving links.

Proposed: Your articles can contain up to (2) self-serving active links and up to (2) non-self-serving active links.

Here’s are our research and current thinking why this must change:

  • Our ideal EzineArticles authors already only use (1) or (2) active self-serving links, so they will not be negatively impacted.
  • Members who write thin-content purely for the active link love will be negatively impacted…something that may ultimately be positive for our users & current/future members.
  • User feedback emails confirm that they think articles with (3) self-serving links looks “spammy”.
  • We want to continue to attract high profile expert authors and many of the highest profile of expert authors tell us they want to be seen in similar company. High profile expert authors almost NEVER include (3) self-serving links.
  • We are certain that articles with (1) or (2) active self-serving links will lead to increased syndication and use by ezine publishers vs. the (3) active self-serving link article. Think about this from the Publishers perspective.
  • Very high profile publishers do not take (3) active self-serving link articles seriously.
  • The collective credibility and perception of our site and our members will climb when the maximum active self-serving link limit is (2). More market trust = more market credibility and higher quality visitors referred to your website.
  • This is the natural evolution of our quality focus. Newbie competitor websites with no market credibility would have to offer lots of active self-serving links to make up for having a very low audience profile. Our high-traffic audience profile is the result of years of raising standards frequently. This is just another one of those standards that the time has come to raise.
  • It’s important to differentiate EzineArticles from spammy looking websites (you know exactly who and the type of sites I’m referring to).

Your thoughts?

64 Comments


1

I think it’s a good idea and will lend more credibility to our articles and to the site overall.

It’s good to know you’re thinking about constant refinements to the site.

Comment provided April 24, 2008 at 4:44 PM

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2

Chris,

Does this include the bio box? Your message wasn’t clear.

JF

Comment provided April 24, 2008 at 4:49 PM

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3
Jon Stout/Jon M. Stout writes:

Presently I never put links of any kind in the body of the article but I do include three self serving links in my bio box.

How would this affect me?

Comment provided April 24, 2008 at 4:54 PM

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4

Hi Chris

Does this include old articles? As some of my earlier article had three links. But most recent one have either one or two.

What do we do with old articles which had three links in the Bio box?

George

Comment provided April 24, 2008 at 5:05 PM

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5
Carl Pruitt writes:

I think you’re right on the money. The quality and regard for the user experience is what makes this site so valuable that the beneficial market effect of one article here draws beats 100 spread around to those less credible sites.

Thanks!

Carl Pruitt

Comment provided April 24, 2008 at 5:07 PM

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6

JF,

We’re only talking about the links in the article body & resource box combined… dropping the total allowed from (3 self-serving / 3 non-self-serving) down to (2/2).

We are not talking about the author extended bio.

Jon,

Upon this change going through, we would only be able to accept articles that have a maximum of (2) self-serving active links in the resource box.

George,

We do not “grandfather” old articles in on any of the new changes.

What this would mean: If you don’t edit any of your currently live and accepted articles, they will continue to have whatever active links you have in them. If you edit any of them, they will have to conform to the new policies.

Should this change go forward, I know two things for certain:

  1. We will not make it a retro-active change and that means all existing articles with (3) self-serving links will remain in tact and un-touched unless the author edits the article.
  2. We will give a time period window (a few weeks) where you’ll be able to submit articles with the current policies… so if (3) active self-serving links is really critical to your writing model, we’ll give you an ample opportunity and notice to send them in for review/acceptance.

All,

RESOURCE BOX is the concept located directly below the article body. Some call this the author SIGnature or Bio box.

To keep things simple, we call it the “Resource Box” because it’s where you give the reader RESOURCES they can use to learn more about you.

The extended author bio is separate from this concept and this is an account-wide author bio that shows up here: (random example: http://ezinearticles.com/?expert_bio=Lulu_Moon )

Comment provided April 24, 2008 at 5:08 PM

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7

Chris,

Yes, that’s my difficulty: I have rarely used the opportunity to include links within the body of my main article, based on advice you gave out when I first started writing articles; however I have always fully utilised the opportunity to include as many links as possible within my bio, not unnaturally.

It would be a fairly major task to edit almost two hundred articles and remove a link in each of them?

Will you consider an amnesty?

JF

Comment provided April 24, 2008 at 5:20 PM

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8

OK, read the “Grandfather” comment :-)

I agree with your proposals and feel sure that it will result in far more articles being picked up by external sources

JF

Comment provided April 24, 2008 at 5:23 PM

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9

JF,

Yes, I just confirmed that we would give link amnesty to existing articles assuming you didn’t edit any of your old articles.

BUT, should you edit an old article with (3) active self-serving links, for us to re-accept it, it would have to conform to the new link policy of the current time.

Comment provided April 24, 2008 at 5:23 PM

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10

Yes, understood.

JF

Comment provided April 24, 2008 at 5:38 PM

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11
Peter Francis writes:

Chris …

If more articles are picked up because of the lower active link count the net result for each of us should be more active links into the marketplace. Sounds like a positive move.

Peter

Comment provided April 24, 2008 at 5:47 PM

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12

Very good idea. I appreciate your ongoing effors to protect and build the reputation of EzineArticles. In doing so, you help to build the reputation and credibility of all your authors.

Thanks.

Comment provided April 24, 2008 at 5:47 PM

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13
Phillip Gwinn writes:

Concur with dropping the link count to two.

Are we allowed to have more links in the author bio?

High expectations normally elicit high rewards. Good call.

Comment provided April 24, 2008 at 5:51 PM

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14
Ron writes:

I think it will make the quality even better. Good idea.

Comment provided April 24, 2008 at 6:00 PM

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15

I agree that only 2 links is a good idea. EzineArticles is not a marketplace. I thought advertizing was what your website was for.
Now, I will go and hide before the brickbats start to fly.

Comment provided April 24, 2008 at 7:08 PM

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16
Michael Searles writes:

I too have yet to include links in the body of the few articles I I have submitted to date – also because I recall reading some advice here at your blog about not doing so in preference for leaving the resource box for this purpose.
Question though: I submitted an article related to PDF’s and wanted readers to have the link to the free Adobe Acrobat Reader download – and again I put that link in my resource box.
Is this an example of where such a link would be more appropriate in the body of the article based on your guidelines?
Michael

Comment provided April 24, 2008 at 8:42 PM

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17
Denise Daniels writes:

My comment regarding the possible change in self serving links: One of the reasons I was attracted to Ezine is because of your reputation for being a professional reputable site that considers content more important than using the site as a marketing tool. This is why I was very proud and bragged loudly to my friends when my first article was accepted, because I knew what type of reputation you had and I felt tha I was part of something great, which boosted my self esteem greatly regarding my writing ability. Though I have a lot to learn, I think that reducing the self serving links to 2 will not affect those who use this site for the right reason. Thanks for letting me chime in on this!

Comment provided April 24, 2008 at 8:44 PM

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18

I think if it looks less like a marketing piece and more like a well written informative article, the more credible it is. The more credible, the more likely people will want to know more and get you the clicks you’re looking to get.

Comment provided April 24, 2008 at 9:49 PM

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19
Codrut Turcanu writes:

I agree with this change, as long as you limit your
AdSense ads as well..

If you limit us, why not limit yourself as well?

If you require we use maximum 2 self-serving links, why not use maximum 2 ad blocks yourself?

If reader feedback tells links are annoying, just imagine how annoying the ads are looking like..

You’re currently having 5 blocks, wow, that’s too much.. from my AdSense experience, the less ads you show, the more you earn.

Do the math.

Cheers,
Codrut Turcanu – “Succeeding Against All Odds!”

Comment provided April 25, 2008 at 2:33 AM

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20
Basya Speshel writes:

I have no problem with dropping the self-serving links down to 2. I often find myself forcing myself to think of how to put 3 in my resource box, just to feel like I fulfilled my quota ;).

However, I strongly object to dropping the number of non-self-serving links.

One of my methods of gathering fresh content is to do interviews. If I only interview one site, my article is not approved, due to it looking too much like a press release/promotion of the interviewee. I often interview three relevant sites, and offer them the additional benefit of the link in the article, besides the exposure. Cutting down my non-self-serving link number to 2 will mean never interviewing more than 2 site owners for any given article.

Comment provided April 25, 2008 at 5:50 AM

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21
Lance Winslow writes:

I feel as if your editor’s poor judgement of what is a “self-serving” link is in question and of serious concern. In the past I have been livid for having articles turned away that supposedly had a self-serving link in the article, when indeed, it was merely a resource to verify the content of the article, yet the editor attributed it to being self-serving, when I had or have nothing to do with the site.

So, I think you should not make any more rules, because, it takes time for the editors to determine if the link is self-serving and they are wrong most of the time when they reject the articles, this has been my actual observation and it has detracted me from writing more articles, because it’s so arbitrary, no one can figure out what you are doing.

Additionally, I feel the editors are naive in the ways of the world, do not understand the intent of the subject matter, authors or even what it is that they do, much less care. Making more rules is wrong. It’s obvious that you are feeling a cash-flow crunch and want more revenue, and think if you take away the authors links, more people will click on your AdSense ads so that EzineArticles makes more money. I feel as if it is a falsehood and ploy to attempt to explain that high profile Ezine Publishers will like articles with less links than more links. Besides shouldn’t that be up to the author?

Further, if you are wondering why the highest producing authors get less hits on their articles here, it because you have buried their older content so deep in the number of links to get to them, that the search engines are not finding them. Plus, you have produced barriers to protect from scrapers, which inhibit the search engine spiders from going deeper. And the highest producing authors are getting ripped off blind here by scum-sucking content thieves, and your failures to do something about it, is causing problems with the search engines.

And on top of all this the economy is effecting the AdSense type companies, because those who purchase the ads are willing to pay less for the leads during tougher times and thus the bidding war for how much per click is effecting the revenue of those ad companies, and therefore you get less and they get less and the authors here are penalized even though they did nothing wrong.

Plus, you are upsetting authors here in the time it takes to approve articles, the arbitrary reasons for rejecting articles and the constant changing of rules, when you should be focusing on fundamentals, running your business, and not trying to nickle and dime or shortchange the authors by taking away the number of links, because sometimes in some articles it requires more links to explain your purpose.

Double or triple further, I can tell you that I take about 150 ezines now on all sorts of subjects and I see nearly all the many articles have links in them and so I do not buy this excuse for YET another rule here at EZ based on some theory that your top publishers want fewer links. So deny all that. Stop taking stuff away, without leveling with the reality, be honest, have integrity and tell us what is up, the truth, the whole truth, heard of it?

Comment provided April 25, 2008 at 6:45 AM

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22
Lance Winslow writes:

Okay, re-read my previous post, but take down the intensity level two-notches and think about it. You see, I love EzineArticles, obviously, I have 13,000 articles, 6-million article views 200,000 Ezine Publisher pickups, and probably a half-a-million back-links w/syndication, and I have at least one article in every cateogory here, which was not easy, that took a lot of studying and time.

So, know that I love EzineArticles, but also know that, I love it enough to want it perfect, that means for me the author and for the community, company and everyone else too. I guess, I am very adverse to more rules or restrictions now or in the future that might effect my endeavors, because if it becomes too restrictive, with too many rules, it will slip into the abyss of bureaucracy and mediocrity – that would be so unfortunate considering how far it has come.

Comment provided April 25, 2008 at 7:02 AM

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23

Michael S,

Don’t worry about giving people a link to the Adobe Acrobat Reader. It’s 2008 and you can safely assume the bulk majority of the world can open a PDF document. Better to direct your reader to your website if you want to give them a PDF document and then you can also give the Acrobat reader link if so desired.

Lance,

Show me another website competitor that has delivered 3 MILLION clicks to its members last month?

Your statements about the search engines not being able to find all of our members content. Sorry, you’re just flat not informed here… nor am I going to share the insane levels of efforts we do to setup dedicated resources of servers and full time humans to ensure every legitimate bot & human can surf our site for our benefit, your benefit and the benefit of all of our members & users.

You know what’s mediocrity? Thin crappy content and then 3 self-serving links. Heck, you’re not even the target for who we thought would be impacted with this change.

Comment provided April 25, 2008 at 7:46 AM

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24

Please, please, please reduce the number of links in the resource box and the article body. The credibility of this site, its content providers and articles will undoubtedly increase with the removal of unnecessary links.

And as far as reducing the number of adsense links… don’t consider it. Otherwise I should expect to pay to post to EzineArticles.com and not complain. The service you provide to authors and marketers is priceless and unparalleled. Labor, professionalism and excellence isn’t cheap. Want less ads for the site visitors? Introduce them to Firefox.

In the new era of many websites filled with internet writing crap, I applaud EzineArticles for constant innovation and continuously updating its’ original business model.

Comment provided April 25, 2008 at 8:45 AM

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25

Please continue. Difference of opinion is always very productive.

I basically agree with Chris, but also agree with Lance in regard to rules and restrictions.

We can also have a debate on what exactly is ‘thin’ content. Thin or thick can vary with varying subjects. Article on Credit can be loaded with information, but articles on soft subjects can have more insights than informatiion.

Comment provided April 25, 2008 at 10:20 AM

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26

Chris,
There are those who complain about the amount of ads on EzineArticles, but do they forget that this is a FREE source in which to reach the world?
Somebody has to pay the bills for Ezine. Sorry, I disagree on that one.
If you spend any time reading the content of other writers on Ezine or any other articles sites, I think that it will be apparent that some writers have one intent and that is to advertise their wares, the writing is incidental. It is a very thin attempt to “live by the rules” and still sell as many products as possible, along with getting the exposure that Ezine offers.
An AUTHOR would not choose that avenue.
I think you are very generous in allowing us to have 2 links in our Resource Box, but, if you give a kid too much candy, he will get a bellyache.
I suggest we writers say “thank you” and move on to the business at hand. EzineArticles is NOT a squeeze page.

Comment provided April 25, 2008 at 12:11 PM

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27
Lance Winslow writes:

I feel as if I have been attacked by Chris here when he says; “Heck, you’re not even the target for who we thought would be impacted with this change.”

That’s irrelevant because, the rules and restrictions here always effect me. And the rules and restrictions are not applied in the right way. I have had articles rejected for having my name in them, reference to one of my companies, when giving an example of management techniques (actual experience and case studies), as self-serving, which is bogus, when I am retired from those companies. I have had articles kicked back for having, “non-active links” in articles for reference, as “self-serving” by editors, just domain names XYZ.com that were not mine at all.

And all that occurred with the rule of “three-self-serving links” so, I do not believe that my comments are incorrect and you have thus called me a liar. Not such a good customer service attitude. So, if you restrict it to two-self serving links in the bio and article, and two-non-serving, then its going to be very hard to write a 1500 word article with references, an end note or two etc.

Regarding traffic, the total number of “click thrus” is irrelevant to the individual author’s business, the relevant number is how many did they receive personally? That number per article has gone down, not up. Fewer links in the bio or article, expecially on longer articles will decrease their usefulness, not increase it.

I believe the true arrogance is when someone brags about being number one, and loses sight of how they got there, who got them there, and how to stay there. Adding restrictions and rules, is what lawyers, bureaucrats and politicians do, and it’s always to help us, but it never does. So, is EZ now becoming SO BIG, that it no longer needs the people? Yes, I believe so, your actions are telling me to leave, but your comments are telling me why I should stay, which side of your mouth should I vote for today.

Oh my gosh, I did it again. I am so sorry, take that down a notch or two in intensity, I guess what I am saying is that I disagree and have so much ammo to back me up that I forgot I was talking to nobility here. My mistake please forgive me; I bow to your greatness and awesomeness, and your intellectual leadership and all those here who are kissing your royal rear without thinking this serious change thru. It seems in your haste to stop thinj content from messing up your site, you are making regulations that restrict everyone. So, my advice is to kick off the SEO for AdSense only authors, rather than making rules with unintended consequences.

Whoops, there I got all rev’ed up again and went into a tirade, I did not mean to do that, EZ articles has been wonderful to me, so, I guess, I need to tone it down? But, at least you know where I stand.

Comment provided April 25, 2008 at 5:01 PM

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28
Wink Jones writes:

I came, wrote one article, saw some of the absolute drivel written in my field from people who only wanted the links and basically left.

This actually encourages me to resume writing quality articles in my field. (diamonds and gems)

You have no idea how disheartening it was to see supposed experts writing absolutely wrong information just to fish people to a squeeze page or a page full of adwords ads.

I know that this will not stop that, but at least it might slow it down.

Wink

Comment provided April 25, 2008 at 5:45 PM

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29
Lance Winslow writes:

Wink,

Yep that total bothers me too, it makes me feel embarrassed to be associated in anyway with these folks, because to me, its the lowest form of business. In fact, I have “NO” AdSense Sites whatsoever, no AdSense accounts at all, no squeeze page game on any of my websites, no long sales letter games, I do not peddle trinkets on my sites or hype garbage. What I cannot understand is how these people even make any money? Or are they all hoping to find that one sucker born every minute? Whatever, I guess.

I just do not believe that rules and regulations to slow down or prevent these folks from coming here, should impact legitimate writers who have a little more integrity than that. And if I happen to have 3-links in or under an article for a legitimate reason, for the reader, then, why not. It happens, why limit the ability of the system to assist the reader.

I read articles from science magazines online and as the reader is reading the links to the references are right in the article making it easy for folks to look up the references, this makes the article more legit, not less, as it has references. It happens in my industry newsletter articles too. Why would we limit active links down to two + two, Then someday down to 1+1 and then one day down to 1 only, its seems this is what is happening here, because I recall when I first came here, there were not any of these restrictions.

Additionally, non-active links should be unlimited, as long as they are not in the first 1-3 paragraphs, but, I am having these types of articles kicked back. I believe my reader deserves to have proof of what I am talking about, references, especially with all the contrived BS and buzz marketing in the online article marketing sector today.

But of course, all my comments are pearls to swine, because, the law of unitended consequences does not pertain to EZ for some magical and unknown reason?

Comment provided April 25, 2008 at 7:20 PM

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30
Lance Winslow writes:

Again, I wish to apologize for being so to the point in this matter. I kind of went on a tirade there, I also apologize for sending “bad weather and storms” into EzineArticle’s region ruining the day with some severe thunderstorms. I will mellow out now, but the storms I sent in may take a while for all that hot air to dissipate!?! I must control my temper on this issue, I think.

Comment provided April 25, 2008 at 7:36 PM

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31

Hi Chris, Lance and Everyone!

I’m sorry because I had to disappear for being more than too busy interpreting dreams, improving my old site and preparing the new one, first of all! Everything together.

I have no time to read everything that everyone wrote in this thread, really! I only read a little bit of everything, so that I could have an idea about this discussion.

If I may simply give my humble opinion, even if I am repeating what somebody else already said: links are very good. You should increase the number of links, instead of diminishing our possibilities of development.

I may be wrong in many points because I’m basically ignorant concerning the Internet, but for what I’ve learned, Google loves links.

I’m thinking about making a resource box using also my blogs. I would like very much to include Everything in only one resource box, besides giving everyone my free ebooks. Now I’m only giving one because I cannot have ‚¬“so many links‚¬ in my resource box directed to my sites.

I could give to everyone my free audio ebook ‚¬“Courage‚¬, besides the free ebook ‚¬“Beating Depression and Craziness‚¬ in my resource box, and include my 5 active blogs, besides my 2 sites there, but this is too much! Why? Too bad that this is forbidden.

Wish it was allowed and I could simply do that without having to change my resource box each time and give only one part of what I could give to everyone, with one article!

Comment provided April 26, 2008 at 12:51 PM

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32
Codrut Turcanu writes:

Let’s not forget that EzineArticles.com is the king, so they’ll do whatever they want, regardless our ‘anti’ opinion regarding their latest self-serving links policy..

# Chris did not even bother replying to my adsense suggestion.. so I guess that’s a “NO” answer already.

# Patricia, you say we have to THANK EzineArticles.com ? what about them? they have to THANK us the writers too as without us, writers, they’re almost nothing.

Cheers,
Codrut Turcanu – “Succeeding Against All Odds!”

Comment provided April 26, 2008 at 1:17 PM

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33
Carl Pruitt writes:

I can understand the issues about having trouble putting in a link to a site that isn’t yours in the body of the article. I’ve had a little trouble with that in the past myself and finally just gave up on it.

However, I’m confused by the antipathy toward adsense. Much of the information we have available to us on the internet is only free due to adsense and other services like it. I don’t think it makes one a more valuable author per se because there are no adsense ads on your site. There isn’t anything wrong with commercialism or selling things or squeeze pages or anything of the sort. Personally, I consider commercialism to be one of the highest value human pursuits.

The problem isn’t really adsense on some sites, it is thin, useless content and sometimes that can be a subjective judgment.

The issue here is that Google is determined to make sure that what they index increases the value of their searchers experience. Chris is trying to make sure that this site fits into that framework and stays where it is in reputation with Google. There can be an argument about whether 2 links or 12 links or whatever is best for that purpose, but most of this other stuff is irrelevant. I honestly don’t know how this change would affect it.

The simple fact is that as long as EzineArticles stays high on Google’s list, authors will be naturally replaced whether we have one article or four million.

My own opinion is that all I need is to repeat my one link twice. Once as anchor text and one time straight up.

Thanks!
Carl Pruitt

Comment provided April 26, 2008 at 1:59 PM

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34

Chris thanks you, the expert author… Because Chris knows that without you; he and the entire EzineArticles team doesn’t have a job! :-)

All… This issue is all about providing a positive user experience and I know from millions of data-points of stats that the net effect of this proposed change will most likely be positive over time.

If we thought that this change would have a significant negative impact on quality original articles submissions, we’d move slower on the decision.

Comment provided April 26, 2008 at 3:17 PM

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35
Carl Pruitt writes:

That was the point I was inelegantly trying to make….we don’t have access to all the data from the outside to know which setup would be best. I just know the better the user experience, the better my articles do.

Comment provided April 26, 2008 at 3:24 PM

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36

A lot of all this distress could be eliminated if Authors would just write more articles and simply change the links they include with each article.
More articles, more links to display.
Duh!

Comment provided April 26, 2008 at 4:40 PM

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37
Stephanie Haile writes:

A very positive outlook overall. I agree with the two self serving links per article, EzineArticles is the tops!

Comment provided April 26, 2008 at 11:24 PM

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38
David Maillie writes:

Hmmm, I have to agree with Lance on this one and here’s why – The decision to drop 1 link is to provide better flow through to the adsense ads posted on EzineArticles. It also keeps a little page rank juice (in most of these articles and overall for EzineArticles this would be almost non material). So the biggest reason is the adsense money. And its just coincidental that the announcement follows Google and the rest of the PPC (Pay Per Click) industry in their loss of revenue by around 40%. Research has shown that click through to PPC ads is way down overall. This means that revenue by content generating websites, ezines like EzineArticles and other similar websites that depend upon adsense for their revenue has gone down. The quickest way to fix this is to drop a outward link or two. That way more people will flow through to the adsense ads and this will juice the returns. Being that the internet goes by quality, dropping or adding a link will have a negligable difference on the page getting more traffic or click throughs. This is inarguable. So, be honest, you want to cover your dropped earnings through adsense and the quickest way is to drop a outward link that provides you zero revenue. And the other side of the coin is that as adsense click throughs have dropped so have link and author box click throughs. It isn’t that an article is old and so it drops off or is archived too far back. What really is king here is quality. The highest quality articles will inevitably go to the top of the search – period. The others will fall away over time. Now, this doesn’t mean that your articles are bad. It just means that someone replaced them with what the Serps determined to be a better one (yes, I know the serps do not take plagiarism and content theft into account).
So, in conclusion, the end result is that authors will actually lose the equivalent of two links and the reason why is first the click throughs across the board have dropped 40% (both for adsense and anchor links) and add to this the loss of a link and authors will basically lose the equivalent of 2 links. Yes, the 40% from the drop in click throughs that already is occuring cannot be changed, but EzineArticles would be shooting itself in the leg by doing this as diminishing click throughs have already scared or forced many authors to find new and better outlets for their articles and energies. This is capitalism and EzineArticles and Chris Knight have every right to drop all three links if they so choose, but they must remember this is the internet and competition and new upstarts come from almost nowhere. Just look at the history of Alta Vista and Google (for those of you that don’t know, Alta Vista was at one time the king of search and Google was just an idea of two guys that could barely pay their apartment rent and then almost overnight Google was king and Alta Vista is in complete obscurity). And now look at the numbers of engineers at Google that have left to start their own internet startups. Many companies in EzineArticles place have actually found that it is much better to drop adsense and sell your own products – the increase in revenue in this manner far outweighs any gains you would make by dropping even all 3 links an author now has. I think EzineArticles needs to rethink their strategies as they may soon become irrelevant to another upstart if they don’t – and don’t think it can’t happen – it happens on the internet every day! I am not writing this from the perspective of an author that is worried about losing a link or two as I have already found better ways to get returns for ones creative efforts on the internet (I will not state the how and why here), but I am writing this for the sake of EzineArticles and its community as a whole. EzineArticles has hit a little hump in the road and how they handle it will determine how they fare and where they place in the near future.

David Maillie

Comment provided April 27, 2008 at 2:32 AM

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39
Martin Thomas writes:

I dont need more than 2 links in my resource box, absolutely no problems with this thread.

But WOW! We recently got our whole site rejected!

I looked at the editorial guidelines, scratched my head and I give up!

The editor said our actual website is a problem!

After over 2 years of membership submitting 400 articles and over 7 years being an EzineArticles.com reader, suddenly we submit 5 articles and the rejection reason is your site does not comply with EzineArticles ed guidelines.

This is not a site under construction and not an adult or hate site or any spammy stuff. (section f -ix – xv) Just marketing. Absolutely within the stated guidelines.

I write to make money!

You can all say it!

Say it with me….”WE WRITE TO MAKE MONEY”

I LOVE THAT CHRIS MAKES A FORTUNE!

I love that! He deserves to make over $1 million each and every day without lifting a finger!

And I dont care how distant your offer is from the front end as a writer, eventually, you have a funnel unless you are a hobby writer, in which case…(my condolences and sympathy)

I wont be pretentious and say I am about changing the world or anything, I am not that smart. I just want to make people aware of our offer and give ALOT for those few clicks I get collectively.

Yesterday we got all 5 new well written articles rejected because of not some simple and quickly fixable article problem, but our site is now a problem.

Chris, you are a legend, and if we ever me irl I am sure we would hit it off just fine. But where do us authors fit in? How important are we to EzineArticles.com?

I write to inform people about the amazing online marketing opportunity that anyone can do. I know many know about it, but many dont, who judges the validity of our 1000 hours of effort? If somebody had offered me this 10 years ago I would have kissed their feet! Teaching people how to market online is a pleasure and I get many gushing emails.

Whenever I get a EzineArticles article rejection, I am happy to comply…the article is done, it is well written and now needs publishing. Whatever issue you have with it, I am happy to comply…I want to move on to the next batch.

However, when you reject my proven business model as in this case, with a legitimate market, with a proven satisfaction level and obviously a legitimate level of value….I question my sanity!

Your editor is saying, after 400 article submissions that now, our business is not acceptable as a LINK!

Can you tell me why our site is suddenly now not acceptable? I would gladly speak to you by email as contacting an editor is impossible as you know.

Comment provided April 27, 2008 at 5:58 AM

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40

Martin,

First step is to contact out Member Support team.

You can do this via your membership interface… Upper right corner where it says “Contact”.

We have 2+ full time humans in Member Support to assist with issues such as this.

Comment provided April 27, 2008 at 7:26 AM

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41
Rebecca writes:

I never use links in the articles themselves and I’d be happy if the rule was no links within articles, and 1 or 2 links in the author bio.

Comment provided April 27, 2008 at 9:39 PM

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42
Scott OBrien writes:

I think 1 or 2 links is plenty and will have more credibility to our articles.
Scott OBrien – Google Me

Comment provided April 28, 2008 at 7:30 AM

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43

The CTR outbound for the benefit of our members has done nothing but sky rocket’d!… and we’re happy when our ideal members reap huge benefits!

For some, the average clicks and average page view per article has dropped; but that’s as it’s always been as each year the total content supply rises and demand rises at a slower pace.

ie: In 1999, with 10 articles you’d get the same success today that now takes ~100 articles.

We’re impacted by the same phenom. ie: We have to do more, keep raising the standards, and work harder to reap the same rewards that ‘less’ total content provided just years past.

Obviously it’s not just a quantity thing, but a quality thing. Quantity is brute force whereas quality is the leverage success multiplier effect. Brute force without quality is often when we see 250 word thin articles that have 3 self-serving links. It’s just not right and we’re going to do something about it.

Comment provided April 28, 2008 at 9:50 AM

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44

I am reading from the very begining and my humble opinion is we should stop at this point. All have some reasons and justifications.

Comment provided April 28, 2008 at 10:23 AM

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45
David Maillie writes:

Basically, there is a much deeper issue at play here. Its that the internet is over saturated with content and so great, quality content will rise to the top and poor quality rambles, thinly written articles and plagiarized content wil fall back where it belongs in the supplemental index. Google search keeps track of inbound links, references, stickiness (if someone is drawn to the website and looks at other pages or quickly clicks away) and more to measure the worthiness of a page of content. One super high quality, well written and researched article can easily give you better results than several thousand poorly or average written articles. There are some articles on the net that by themselves get more unique visits than all of the top 1000 authors here on EzineArticles put together! This is the theory behind linkbait – if you take the time to build it right, the masses will come.

David Maillie

Comment provided April 28, 2008 at 10:38 PM

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46
Matt Keegan writes:

These days, I prefer to offer only 1 or 2 links to my site and leave it at that. However, since outbound linking is a great way to build authority, I would consider having the option to link out to third parties as a big advantage.

No article directory is doing this — lead the way, Chris!

Comment provided April 30, 2008 at 11:56 AM

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47
Relationships writes:

Almost all people writting and submitting articles to article directories are for the most salient purpose — to get backlinks to their sites. If there is a genuine improvement in the syndication of the article by publishers and it is always welcome.
But unfortunately, it is quite difficult to have any valid proof even after any change, as most publishers would consider quality and relevancy of an article most important — it is also the sole purpose of publishing an article!
For me, I don’t think the proposed change is that important, whether to authors or to publishers.

Comment provided May 3, 2008 at 3:38 PM

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48
John Pandolfi writes:

I’m just happy to have my articles accepted. I rarely use more than one self serving link. But based on your study I think you have a valid point.

Comment provided May 5, 2008 at 5:21 PM

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49
Lance Winslow writes:

But the valid point negates the harm you will do to authors. If folks cannot have those links, article credibility and quality will suffer on various articles. Its a real problem, but making this rule will hurt good people and the bad people causing the problem will simply find another way to game the system. I think this whole notion is an exercise in rule-making, with massive unintended consequences. I am sitting on 67 articles right now and feel upset about this enough to not wish to post them. I will feel damaged by this rule and its just wrong.

Comment provided May 5, 2008 at 7:19 PM

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50
Lance Winslow writes:

In item #43 it appears that I am not a “normal or ideal author” and thus, it appears that what I have to say is unimportant, and irrelevant. I take issue with that, because writers are individualists, lumping them into “normal” or target market “ideal” authors is really pushing the envelope on acceptable customer service. ”

If you are not an ideal author, we don’t care what you think!”

Okay fine Chris, then turn off this blog or put a note on it, that says, “We only care what the regular authors or our ideal authors (biggest percentage) say, so if you are not one of them, don’t bother commenting, WE ARE NOT Listening!”

No matter what your reason or rational.

Comment provided May 5, 2008 at 7:39 PM

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51
Diane Raymond writes:

I think this is a good move. I agree that too many links make an article look like one big sales pitch and I’d hate to see the quality of your site compromised because of link-abuse.

Keep up the great work! I love your site!

Comment provided May 5, 2008 at 7:54 PM

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52
Lance Winslow writes:

Diane,

I positively agree that in some cases there is link abuse, but absolutely disagree that more links automatically = link abuse.

Leaving reference links is not link abuse, it helps the reader and gives credibility to the article. Just because some authors use the links for sales pitch only doesn’t mean that all links are sales pitches.

Comment provided May 6, 2008 at 12:57 AM

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53

Lance,

I think you meant comment #23, not #43.

The comment in question:

Heck, you’re not even the target for who we thought would be impacted with this change.

I think you’ve misunderstood me.

Let me make this clear:

I was making it clear that non-ideal members may be negatively impacted.

I was making it clear that IDEAL MEMBERS probably won’t care about this change and most likely would support it because they already don’t include 3 self-serving links in a 250-350 word article.

As a rule, I won’t publicly state who is and who is not an ideal member.

An example of a non-ideal member as we perceive it today:

Anyone who submits 250-350 words and includes (3) self-serving active links. Sorry, the content value to link advertising ratio is off.

Since you don’t do that from my recollection, you’re not a target for who we thought would be negatively impacted by this change.

Post this change, you’d still be able to include up to 2 self-serving active links and up to 2 non-self-serving active links… for a total of (4) links per article.

New rules can suck and for that, I’m sorry. Our feeling is that this change will be a net positive impact for the majority of our members & users.

Comment provided May 6, 2008 at 1:34 AM

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54
Lance Winslow writes:

Fred,

It is my contention that making this rule, will not solve the stated problem in the introduction of this Blog. The problem was to make Ezine Editors happy so they would fill that there was better quality content here, so they would browse more and thus, use more content, which is good for all concerned; EzineArticles, the authors and the Ezine Editors.

Further it is my contention that the rule is not fair to me. I, as an individual do not like unfair rules, or being punished because “tricket sellers” and for Adsense Ad website owners found a way to game the system here at EzineArticles. Those are my issues.

Other than that, I love EzineArticles…Obviously, 13,000 times over.

Comment provided May 6, 2008 at 1:42 AM

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55
David Maillie writes:

Instead of getting mad with each other or over new rules that were actually intended (from Chris’s replies above) to raise the level of quality articles and authors on EzineArticles, why don’t you guys all just learn the term linkbait. If you could write true linkbait even if it was only 1 article per month, Chris would be so happy as his readership and total pageviews would go through the roof! One properly written linkbait article can easily get 1,000,000 unique human pageviews (not just clicks which could be from multiple page views from tha same reader, computers, serps, etc…). Some have gotten may more. I bet if someone could write him 10 true linkbait articles on any topic he would be so happy he would probably buy you a car or a vacation! Chris knows what linkbait is and there might be only a handful, if that, of articles that qualify for this on EzineArticles. This is not to say that anyones articles are bad. What I am saying and so is Google, Yahoo, MSn and everyone else is that linkbait is to article marketing what enmass articles was to article marketing several years ago. Google has rewritten its algorithms numerous times and the only thing that stays constant is quality, not quantity. And linkbait takes quality to a whole new level. As the saying at all SEO and SEM conferences goes – you can have the crappiest site – even sell pet rocks or bags of dirt, but if you build true linkbait with an emphasis on quality, millions will come – not hundreds or thousands as with regular articles. Oh, by the way 200 or 300 word articles would never qualify as linkbait – ever. I hope to see some true linkbait from all of you as it makes the internet, EzineArticles and the world, for that matter, a better place. Chris already knows the massive power of true linkbait and would absolutely love to have some of it from you all. Now, that said, Chris, if you get just one linkbait article out of this and the other 2 or 3 posts I put in above you owe me a beer someday:)

David Maillie

Comment provided May 6, 2008 at 11:59 AM

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56
Sandy Shaw writes:

Whatever is a self-serving link??
I have read some of the comments and cannot work it out. How might this apply to the type of articles I write?
Sandy Shaw in Scotland.

Comment provided May 6, 2008 at 3:36 PM

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57

Sandy,

A “Self-Serving” active link is any link or domain or website address that you own or have a controlling interest in.

Comment provided May 6, 2008 at 3:46 PM

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58
Lance Winslow writes:

I personally believe that the label of “Self-Serving Link” is absolutely slanderous and it makes people think that they is something inherently wrong with pointing to your own websites, where important information exists that you would like to alert the world too. Self-serving is what Lawyers are. Self-serving sounds like a bad word, and thus, who ever thought of that word is self-serving, because they have labled others to make themselves look better. Indeed, there is nothing more self-serving than labeling someone else something evil in order to put yourself on a pedestal. I think we ought to stop using that “self-serving” word in this context, because everyone here is self-serving in some way, in fact this website promotes it to attract people. And this website itself is self-serving to limit “owner owned links” in order to make more money on click ads on this site. So, let’s dump this stupid “self-serving” label and call it “Owner owned links” or something like that. Because it makes me angry when someone calls me self-serving, when I am writing to get information out into the world.

Comment provided May 6, 2008 at 5:44 PM

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59

You have already EARNED the right to include a SELF-SERVING active link or 2 because you are the expert and you’ve shared of your expertise first in the article body.

I’m open to hearing what others think the link should be called if you don’t like self-serving… but it should be obvious what is meant to differentiate between self-serving vs. non self-serving.

Comment provided May 7, 2008 at 9:52 AM

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60

Why not call it a business-serving link or business link.
With your expertise, displayed in your article, your customer goes to your site mentioned in your resource box. You should have applied the links you want you customers to visit, there on your site.
Your site should be your “store” where people go to purchase what they want. After all, that is where you want your opt-in box to capture names and comments, whatever. After your article has invited your customers to come and visit your business site, there you finish your sales pitch.
Ezine is simply the “Welcome Mat.”
Is that oversimplification?
Pat

Comment provided May 7, 2008 at 12:44 PM

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61

Patricia,

“Business-serving link” could also mean either self-serving or non-self-serving… because someone might think that it’s a ‘business’ link to serve them or you or both.

If we didn’t make a distinction between self-serving vs. non self-serving, then just the word “link” would do.

“Welcome Mat”, eh? :)

Think of us as your “highly qualified traffic lead funnel”.

Comment provided May 7, 2008 at 12:51 PM

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62

My bad!
Didn’t mean to insult you Chris. I’m just a little ole grandmother, what do I know?

Comment provided May 7, 2008 at 7:31 PM

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63
Cindy Hartman writes:

I think it’s a great, strategic move to continue to display credibility to your site and the authors who contribute.

Comment provided May 10, 2008 at 3:20 PM

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64

All,

Thank you for your candid feedback. We’re built on your input and appreciate the time you’ve given us to help us navigate this issue.

After another 2+ weeks of contemplation and listening to your public and private feedback, we’ve made the hard decision to go forward on the 2/4 links instead of 3/6 rule.

You can read about it on this new blog entry:
http://blog.EzineArticles.com/2008/05/6-link-max-becomes-4-soon.html

I’m closing this discussion and any new discussion can continue on the above URL.

Comment provided May 12, 2008 at 3:26 PM

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