Interview with John Lessnau

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Recently, I had a conversation with John Lessnau, a text link advertising maverick who was responsible for launching back in 2003. He had some interesting things to say about the current state of text link advertising, Google's measures to stamp it out, and the future of the industry in general.

Incidentally, John tipped his hat a bit by revealing some of the inner workings of his new venture, This new portal, which went live on May 1, allows advertisers to place relevant and targeted text links directly into the body of preexisting content. The process is automated, which is a step up from the manual context links that some webmasters now offer, and both publishers and advertisers will have a login and admin panel that will display key information regarding the links that have been placed via linkXL.

Here's a transcript of our conversation:

HG: Hey John! Why do you think that Google has taken this latest step to specifically target paid links (text link ads)?

JL: The paid link economy cuts into Google's AdWords/AdSense revenue stream so they will do and say whatever they can to stop any threats to their market share, up to and including, statements telling webmasters how to code and monetize their websites.

HG: Why do you feel that contextual text link ads like the ones offered on linkXL are worthwhile for an enterprising webmaster?

JL: It's really quite simple. We allow webmasters to buy and sell text links that will actually help the search engine algorithms identify what a website is about unlike clumps of unrelated links in the footer of a website, which is what you typically get with traditional paid links.

HG: Do you expect Google to either implicitly or explicitly endorse this contextual link service that you and some of the other text link ad portals are now offering?

JL: That will never happen because our service has the potential to become a major competitor for Google's AdWords and AdSense products.

HG: Thank you for time and your honesty, John!

JL: You're welcome!

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A Brave New World: the Current and Future Status of Text Link Advertising
Contributed by Hugo Guzman
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