Google Punishes Itself After Inadvertently Doing ‘Evil’


Google penalized its own Chrome browser's search rankings on Jan. 3 after a blogger-based marketing campaign was found to be in violation of the company's own search-rank rules.

The decision to demote Chrome's PageRank—the rating Google assigns to sites based on how many other sites link to them—came after bloggers Aaron Wall of SEO Book and Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineLand revealed a marketing campaign that paid other bloggers to create generic posts which linked to a video touting Chrome to small businesses, according to Computerworld. In its own guidelines, Google discourages webmasters from engaging in the practice of buying and selling links that pass PageRank, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. 

Essence Digital, the media agency hired by Google for the Chrome campaign, wrote on its Google+ page Tuesday, “We want to be perfectly clear here: Google never approved a sponsored-post campaign. They only agreed to buy online video ads. Google has consistently avoided paid postings to promote their products, because in their view these kind of promotions are not transparent or in the best interests of users. We apologize to Google, who clearly didn’t authorize this.”

Nevertheless, Google took disciplinary steps against Chrome's search rankings. "We've investigated and are taking manual action to demote www.google.com/chrome and lower the site's PageRank for a period of at least 60 days," said a Google spokeswoman in an e-mail to Computerworld. "While Google did not authorize this campaign, we believe Google should be held to a higher standard, so we have taken stricter action than we would against a typical site."

Google's corporate guidelines state “You can make money without doing evil,” and this apparently applies to committing inadvertent evil acts. This self-punishment was honorable, smart and, not incidentally, newsworthy.

     


Comments Off

Deals of the Week

Get $200 Off PR News' Digital PR Conference

 digitalpr2015-180x150_updated
Join us June 1-3 where you'll hear from top brands such as Walmart, Miami Heat, Verizon and Ritz-Carlton on PR and communication best practices for the next wave of digital trends.

Use code “200off” at checkout to save $200 on the regular rate.

Get $50 off PR News' Book of Employee Communications

employeecommunications-180x150

In this 5th volume of PR News’ Book of Employee Communications, our authors cover more than 45 articles on crisis communications, social media policies, human resources collaboration, brand evangelism and more.

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription

 

Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

Comments are closed.