It's been a few weeks since Google's Matt Cutts publicly announced the demise of the link networks (remember Backlinks.com and Anglo Rank?). But Cutts revealed via Twitter the latest recipient of a penalty is French link network Buzzea.
After Cutts announced the penalty, Buzzea wrote an open letter talking about what they feel is an unfair penalty and the future of the site.
Buzzea took issue with the fact that Google classified them as a link network, and insisted their content was quality with natural links. However, they have asked all their bloggers to nofollow all the links on articles they created for Buzzea clients, which those bloggers should do immediately.
Buzzea took exception to the fact that they were targeted in what they see as an illegal an abusive decision (via Google Translate):
We sincerely hope that the sanctions will be limited to our company. It would be truly unjust that thousands of bloggers and advertisers suffer from this illegal and abusive decision.
They have stated they are planning to close Buzzea network as of January 31.
Buzzea at one time boasted nearly 5,000 publisher sites enrolled that were publishing sponsored blog posts, and claimed 90 million visits and 14 million unique visitors per month.
Those who participated as a publisher or advertiser with sponsored posts will likely see an unnatural link warning in their Google Webmaster Tools accounts within a week or so. Bloggers should remove or nofollow all Buzzea related links immediately, and webmasters who have purchased sponsored posts should disavow those links immediately as well.
The fact that Google is targeting French networks shouldn’t be a surprise, as Google had posted a warning in French last month specifically warning about buying and selling links, including as sponsored posts and advertorials.
Cutts also hinted that they are going after more international spam and plan on taking down further non-English link networks, and Germany seems to be one country Google is likely to target.