Washington Post Selling Text Links?

Steve Rubel reported that the Washington Post launched a sponsored blogroll product that allows people to pay to be listed in the blogroll. You can see it live on the right hand bottom portion of the WashingtonPost.com web site. I dug into the source code to discover the blogroll is not using the search engine suggested nofollow attribute, which Google in particular pushes to be used for paid links. However, it is using some sort of JavaScript tracking code, that may or may not limit the PageRank and link popularity to flow to those sites advertised.

The code for a link that I pulled out looks like this:

<p style=”padding:0px; margin:0px 0px 2px 0px”><a href=”http://www.VivaLasVegasBlog.com” target=”_blank” onclick=”sa_onclick( ‘http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-adv/tracking/textlink/blogroll/’ );” style=”color:#0C4790; font-size:11px”>Las Vegas Travel</a></p>

I started a thread on this at our forums named Do Washington Post Blogroll Links Pass Link Pop?

I personally think that this link may in fact pass PR but I am not 100 percent sure. I am hoping Matt Cutts or someone else at Google chimes in on this.

It is also important to note that these links also rotate, which also can impact those hoping to get a search engine gain.

Postscript From Danny: And would someone please, please tell the Washingon Post that the stupid “Zap The Mosquito” ad that won’t shut up unless you hover over it is incredibly annoying.

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