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Google Autocomplete - "scam" suggestions are back
Bobby Digital

 7:31 pm on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

OK, so my company has been plagued by a rather pesky "[company] scam" suggestion for some time now. We were thrilled on March 30 when we noticed (as did others in the search industry) that "scam" appeared to have been dropped as a suggestion for all companies across all verticals. You could not even get it as a suggestion by typing "[company] s-c-a".

However, on April 11 or 12, Google "de-blacklisted" the "scam" suggestion and it re-appeared for every company-related search where it had previously been found.

Does anyone have some info on this situation? Was it just a case of testing by Google? Were they frightened by the Italian lawsuit (on the heels of the legal action in France) that ended with a verdict against them on April 6? Something else? Any insight at all would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!



 7:45 pm on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I just tested this thoroughly early morning on April 11 and "scam" suggestions were still gone. And you're right, they are currently back. I've heard or read nothing about this new change. And it really does suck.

Google Suggestions are much easier to game than they apparently realize, for one thing. For another, it's standard research practice to search [compny name scam] just to test things out.

No one is asking Google to suppress actual search results - but suggesting the idea based on search volume is like character assassination.


 8:01 pm on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Still gone on my searches.


 8:05 pm on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Previous behavior for me was the minute I typed in the "sc" after a company name, all Suggestions disappeared. Now they don't and "scam" is on the list, although thankfully not #1 so at least Google Instant results aren't triggered.

Bobby Digital

 8:15 pm on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks, Tedster. I have observed the same behavior that you did.

You may be right on the timing. We actually did not notice the reappearance of the “scam” suggestion until April 12, but when I checked our analytics data, I noticed a significant spike in “[company] scam” referrals (we have numerous pages optimized to rank for negative search terms) beginning the evening of April 11, so I assumed that was when the change took place.

It is extremely frustrating to see the old suggestions back, to say the least.

[edited by: Bobby_Digital at 9:09 pm (utc) on Apr 14, 2011]


 8:23 pm on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I observed it gone on April 10 [webmasterworld.com...] but it could have been gone prior to that. I still don't see scam being suggested for most company names that I check, even for websites that have articles specifically discussing scams. Searching "example sc" doesn't yield a suggestion for me, even if example.com has a discussion or article about scams. However, I do see a person's name now being suggested with "scammer". This was not happening on April 10.

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