Webshots representatives, much to their credit, have promptly addressed concerns raised about sketchy search engine optimization (SEO) practices in my earlier post “Webshots.com & Seemingly Dirty Tactics or Overture Bug?”
The reason provided for the unexplained “sponsored ad” behavior…
1. Yahoo! (Overture) sponsored ads will display natural search results when there are a lack of paid advertisers.
2. Webshots code did not support linking these types of ads in all instances breaking the link to the referenced site.
Note: At the time of this post Webshots code has yet to be updated, but will be shortly to address this concern along with other scheduled updates.
Kudos to Webshots for taking on my question/feedback (albeit rough around the edges).
Fellow photographers, the lesson learned, if you see similar behavior on other sites double check that your site might be coming up through this natural search feed on Yahoo! (Overture) links and when in doubt contact the administrators of the site in question directly.