Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sponsored Reviews: Paid Link Forum Review

Sponsored Reviews is a forum that webmasters can access to find paid link opportunities. Back in June, I wrote a review on Digital Point, perhaps the most popular paid links forum, and since then have had some requests to give my input on Sponsored Reviews as well. As I always do when discussing paid links, it is necessary to point out that Google is not a fan of paid links, and if you are overdoing it, there is some risk involved a la JCPenney and While we know that buying links at times can be necessary depending on the industry and particular keyword phrase one is trying to rank for, it is best to respect the process and ensure that the links you are paying for are placed on related (and quality) websites. With that in mind, let's discuss some of the positive and negative factors associated with using Sponsored Reviews.

An Overview of Sponsored Reviews

Let's start with a very brief overview of how Sponsored Reviews works. First, you create an opportunity for the writers that are members of Sponsored Reviews to bid on. You can set certain standards for the bidders, such as things that must be included in the post and where the links are preferred to appear within the content. Second, you create any number of link sets that you wish to utilize. A link set consists of three links that would appear in a post should one be written on your behalf. You can rotate link sets if you are trying to get anchor text for more than 3 keyword phrases at a time. After you post the opportunity, you will receive bids, and choose which bids to accept based on the offers that start coming in.

The Advantages of Using Sponsored Reviews
There are a couple of specific things that I really like about Sponsored Reviews. For starters, it allows you to set filter parameters for the sites that you want to comb through to try and find link opportunities. For example, you can filter by price, number of backlinks, language preference, or perhaps most importantly by the category or niche that you are looking for. Second, Sponsored Reviews displays each site and the majority of the information you would need to determine whether or not the site in question is one you would want a link from. You can view the number of backlinks the site has, the Google PageRank, and positive or negative reviews from past customers, for example. Why is this so important? Well, compared to Digital Point, where you may have to send a lot of private messages before you get URLs of the sites to properly analyze, all of that information is presented up front by Sponsored Reviews. In the end, it can save you a lot of time and make the link purchasing process more efficient.

The Disadvantages of Using Sponsored Reviews

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of using Sponsored Reviews is the fact that at times you can accept a bid from a writer, who then takes several weeks to complete the post. If you are trying to get a bunch of links in a short period of time, this could hold you up. Second, if you use Sponsored Reviews consistently, you have to expect that the standards for what sites you will accept bids from will have to be lowered as time passes on. This is particularly true for those in specialized industries, where there may not be a lot of bids from related sites that could really benefit you. Finally, a lot of sites that are bidding on opportunities will try and take advantage of those less experienced in the art of link purchasing. As such, prices can often be inflated, and that is something I recommend keeping an eye out for throughout the process. Nobody should pay $50 for a blog post on a PR1 site that has a weak backlink profile. Be sure to conduct the proper analysis of each site to determine best whether or not the price fits the potential value of that link.

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