Text Link Ads was acquired by an advertising agency, MediaWhiz, a few weeks ago.  That company, in turn, is wholly owned by an uber-boring-sounding private equity firm, Lake Capital.  OK.  So, why does this boring information mean anything to you?

It means a few things.  It validates that text link advertising, much to Google's chagrin, is an ethical approach to advertising.  I always believed this.  And I seriously doubt a "portfolio company of private equity firm Lake Capital" would purchase something that peddles unethical products.  This just adds to the credibility of the link advertising model.  MediaWhiz echoes this sentiment:

"Adding TLA's recognized expertise in text link advertising is a perfect fit with our strategy of creating one of the broadest platforms of online marketing solutions to meet the diverse needs of our advertisers," noted MediaWhiz co-president Yannick Tessier. 

Several other substantial companies appear to believe in the link advertising model as well.  Upon a cursory inspection, I caught the following corporations "red-handed" purchasing text links:

T-Mobile over here,

Office Depot over here,
Equifax over here, and
BizRate over here.

Of course if I found these so quickly, I would also surmise Google knows about quite a few of them, too.  Matt Cutts has been well-aware of link advertising for a long time.  In fact, I know that Patrick Gavin (of Text Link Ads) and Matt Cutts have met for lunch at least once.  I'd venture to say they didn't talk about his inventory; but I'm sure Matt has an account.

"Let's not talk about the links, OK?"

So if Google hates text link advertising so much, why does it still work?  Google could clearly be much more aggressive about it than they are. 

Ultimately, it's only a front.  Text link advertising is now normatively acceptable, as several fortune 500 companies are involved in it.  It's not in Google's interest to admit it's an ethical practice.  However, it is, and it now has an infrastructure built around it.  Google wants to sell more text ads themselves with their own advertising venues.  Who can blame them?  And Google likes to turn everything upside-down from time to time (as they did most recently with the pornography industry *not work safe*) — but text link advertising appears to be here to stay.

And now a private equity firm agrees, too.

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