While googling myself here and there over the past year or so, I’ve noticed that this site has gone farther and farther down the Google search results. I originally attributed this to the lack of frequent updates, which seemed reasonable.
Then I happened to log into Google Webmaster Tools and found out my site had been flagged for having ads that seemed like link selling. They had noticed, of course, my Text Link Ads at the bottom of my site.
After doing some research, it seems Google would prefer for those links to have a
rel="nofollow" attribute, if they had to exist, but this is against the Text Link Ads terms of service. Which makes sense, since having search engines follow those links is exactly why they sell them. However, this makes for poor Internet etiquette.
Google’s Matt Cutts (head of search spam at Google) even called TLA out specifically: