I came across a site that is basically bribing their way to a better pagerank by giving away free samples of their tea depending on how high your site’s pagerank is where you place a link back to them. Pretty ingenious although I don’t know how proper it is with google’s search engine guidelines which states under Quality Guidelines – Basic principles:
Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
Whether it is within the terms are not, it seems to be working for them. Their main page is a PR6 which I would assume is pretty good for a tea company.
I see several reasons why this probably works well for them. They are offering a product that probably doesn’t appeal to many get it free and quickly delete the link people. If they offered a $5 gift card, they would be deluged with tons of links that would be taken down immediately upon receipt of the gift card. I assume that the tea sets won’t to appeal as much to that crowd although this must happen to some degree.
I’m not sure how long it takes to process the order, but assuming it takes a month, they get the link for a minimum of that amount of time. Surely a number of sites after putting up the link never take it down out of laziness or for some other reason. That gives them a permanent link for virtually no cost.
In addition, they send out samples of their tea and have the opportunity to hook you in as a customer. Even if they only get a few new customers from the promotion, it probably makes the campaign well worthwhile and covers most of the costs.