I’m loving this topic and the amount of real world examples I can showcase here are endless. I really appreciate big brands who get their hands dirty and respond to either true or false statements made against them in the real “social” world. I was sitting down this morning @Starbucks, doing my morning blog trolling and came across a very interesting topic. The post by Sam Rutley over at PushON, an awesome example of link bait, titled “Paid Links On The BBC?” has gone from bad to good for the BBC.
Whilst carrying out competitor backlink analysis for a client I noticed a number of high value links pointing from the BBC website, after further investigation it appears that the BBC/someone at the BBC
ismay be selling links in the footer of this page: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tv_and_radio/default.stm.
This is a serious accusation for any small or big brand to see come across their stream, but sadly you usually won’t find anyone responding. A company like the BBC has a huge number of websites within their umbrella, so I was overly impressed to see the BBC Sports webmaster, Lewis Wiltshire, respond intelligently and thoughtfully to the accusations.
The key to handling something like this is of course to be to the point, non confrontational because you’re representing your brand. The BBC should be thankful for having someone like this on their team, especially since reputation management is not Lewis’s job at all….the man is a sports editor!
The links in question are editorial, and the fact a site like that would link to interesting sites in the niche is awesome. While the links didn’t look “iffy” to me, I can see how Sam and other SEO’s might speculate that they were indeed evil paid links.
I don’t want to dupe too much of Sam’s content, but here’s the gist of what Lewis replied with in the comments;
I’m Lewis Wiltshire, the Editor of the BBC Sport website and therefore responsible for the pages you mention.
The first issue to deal with is the question you raise in your headline, and then again in your closing paragraphs. To suggest that the BBC sells these links to external websites, which as you rightly say would be against the BBC’s charter, is clearly a very serious allegation. It’s also totally untrue.
None of the links to external websites from the BBC’s UK-facing website are sold. All of them are editorially selected because we believe they offer useful onward reading for our audience.
It’s part of our public service remit to link to other websites, partly for the benefit of the industry and partly for the benefit of our users who trust us to lead them towards useful services on the wider web.
There’s a lot more discussion in the post and I highly recommend reading of all it, taking it in and learning a thing or two.
Read the entire post: http://blog.pushon.co.uk/search-engine-optimisation-seo/paid-links-on-the-bbc/