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Google’s Jaw-Dropping Sponsored Post Campaign For Chrome

     
4:38 am on Jan 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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"Google’s paying to produce a lot of garbage, the same type of garbage that its Panda Update was designed to penalize."

[searchengineland.com ]
4:49 am on Jan 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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To give attribution to the source, Aaron Wall published the original article earlier in the day: This Post is Sponsored by Google [seobook.com].

I look forward to some official comment from Google. Right now it looks like the Chrome marketing team has no idea about the search quality team's very explicit guidelines. How on earth will they handle this one?
5:59 am on Jan 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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They are still trying to be subtile by outsourcing campaigns like this one instead of doing it "directly". I mean they have better tools, which could let them enforce people to install Chrome or use other of their products. Still they are not using them, at least not on full scale (yet)
6:23 am on Jan 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Right now it looks like the Chrome marketing team has no idea about the search quality team's very explicit guidelines.

This is sloppy work in the extreme, and a company getting bigger than China unable to co-ordinate it's QA and meet it's own guidelines.

How are they going to handle this ? With embarrassment I'd think. But apart from " looking bad" - i think it will be brushed aside.
4:41 pm on Jan 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I needed a good laugh today.
6:22 pm on Jan 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Just when I was Tweeting...

Regarding the Google Chrome campaign, I wonder which SEO Firm is getting fired by Google?


I see this appear in my Timeline...

Google: Yes, Sponsored Post Campaign Was Ours But Not What We Signed-Up For
[SearchEngineLand.com...]
7:05 pm on Jan 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This is more than entertaining it shows how easy it is to get caught in a bad advertisment scheme. I would have been probably banned for this type of activity and I realy hope Google sees how this can happen to just about anybody. Then again if I were Google I would say the same thing to pass the buck.

Wonder who signed the agreement and how they are trying to explain this to the boss who's A-- is in the hot seat, and if true shows just how poorly Google is run in other areas in the company.
7:38 pm on Jan 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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One of my blogging friends showed me a google sponsored post on his blog. Yes, it's happening.
8:18 pm on Jan 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Well if you go to the pages that were showing in the search "google chrome small business" the content has been removed from the pages. You can still see the cached version but the content has gone poof.
9:40 pm on Jan 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I guess the truth will always get in the way of a good story. Read the follow up at searchengineland as to what actually happened.
9:46 pm on Jan 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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update: [searchengineland.com...]

Google: Chrome Page Will Have PageRank Reduced Due To Sponsored Posts

We would not get the same treatment I think....
2:08 am on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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If you search "browser" in Google right now it's no where to be found right now. Looks like they did penalize themselves.

Really they probably had no choice with the FTC on their back.
2:22 am on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Google had no choice but to fall on its sword and downrank the Google Chrome page for a meaningful term, which they've done.

In what appears to be an update of the SearchEngineLand "update article" linked to above (I think I see the old "PageRank Reduced" title redirecting, but haven't checked that out carefully), Danny Sullivan discusses the consequences of the PageRank reduction and raises some questions that I'm sure were being discussed at Google today.

Google’s Chrome Page No Longer Ranks For "Browser" After Sponsored Post Penalty
SearchEngineLand
Jan 3, 2012

[searchengineland.com...]

To me, the bigger issue in this has always been the garbage content that was produced by the campaign, "thin" material that Google has fought to keep out of its own search results. I’m still trying to understand how Google failed to understand that the marketing companies it engaged with would produce this....

I find that it is almost a constant struggle with many clients, writers, and agencies to keep them from producing meaningless fluff.

Google may have to hire some good SEOs, in fact, to keep them from lapsing into the general low quality of the web. ;)

...It also raises the serious question that if Google can't keep track of its own rules, what hope is there that third parties are supposed to figure it all out?

I hate to write that, because the last thing I want is for a Google screw-up to be an excuse for anyone to do the type of "marketing" that Google did. But it's also true.
2:36 am on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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search for internet browsers on Google brings up an ad for Chrome !

I actually think that whole Panda thing has resulted in Google shooting itself in the foot. The next update should be interesting.
2:40 am on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This is hilarious , why would Google need to hire any seo's when they are the actual SE. And again they had to penalize them self just for the sake of the argument but lets see how long the penalty will last. Mine was 2 years.
3:59 am on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Here is a comment from Matt Cutts on Google+:
Sorry that it took me until now to comment on the situation... [plus.google.com]
4:13 am on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Do I misunderstand "algorithm" in thinking that this somewhat "manual" adjustment reflects poorly on the site rank zapping that Panda has placed on others "automatically"?
4:14 am on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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And by not using Chrome or Goo I've missed out on this little head game Goo has going with itself. How quaint.
4:24 am on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Do I misunderstand "algorithm" in thinking that this somewhat "manual" adjustment reflects poorly on the site rank zapping that Panda has placed on others "automatically"?

Panda is not a penalty, albo, it's the 10-month old quality assessment part of the overall ranking algorithm.

This is a manually applied spam penalty (for one link!) that Matt Cutts said will last for "at least 60 days".
12:37 pm on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Am I the only one who thinks this is a bit overboard?

In response, the webspam team has taken manual action to demote [Google.com...] for at least 60 days. After that, someone on the Chrome side can submit a reconsideration request documenting their clean-up just like any other company would.


That's just plain dumb.

Now the folks reporting on this want Google to do a sitewide penalty.

This is just so out of hand.

I'll admit, the campaign was garbage. I think the penalty is a bit severe. This is all just for show. We'll have forgotten about this before the week is over and Google will do something else to shift the focus.

For me, Google doesn't surprise me one bit. I think I've become numb to it all.

During the 60 days, the PageRank of [Google.com...] will also be lowered to reflect the fact that we also won’t trust outgoing links from that page.


Really? You don't trust links from your own company? What the hell are you folks doing to the Internet eh?
12:40 pm on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Sever penalty?

Its less than Google would have handed out to another
1:39 pm on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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according to that Matt cutts reply, there was only one post which linked back to google.
so a 60-day penalty is a bit draconian for just one link.
funny though

doesnt this whole thing show how silly it is to rely on links, though? why is that google chrome page any worse today, than it was last week, just because there are a few extra posts about it on the web? it doesn't make any sense.

this whole story has probably garnered chrome 1000x more press than the actual ads did, with stories all over the web. google are probably having a good laugh about it. the stories dont reflect badly on chrome at all. people are following the links to read the posts, and watching the video, and learning all about chrome. their advertising team probably all got a payrise for dreaming this up.
2:27 pm on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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The goodwill press they will get for penalizing themselves, planned or not... will far outweigh any blog posts about the video.
2:47 pm on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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nippi wrote:
Sever penalty?

Its less than Google would have handed out to another

Does Google normally penalize for 1 paid link posted (possibly) fewer than 500 times?

--
Ryan
3:11 pm on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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"it was only one link" is a bit of a fib, posts loaded with links were pulled and deleted.

In other news, paid content (including links) has evolved somewhat in one niche I pay close attention to, they haven't been nailed by google yet and I don't know if they ever will (big brands, high social bloggers). When this story broke, I thought it was somewhat of a confirmation that paid links wrapped in paid content are just fine if done creatively (and done by the "right" kind of folk).
3:42 pm on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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the whole paid links thing is crazy.

if google paid to have that video appear in the sidebar of billions of blogs, everyone would class it as an ad. it would just be another adsense video ad.

but because they paid to have it as a post, it gets classed as spam. is there any real difference between the two?
4:33 pm on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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So Google demotes Chrome which generates press on blogs and Chrome is now promoted more through alternative channels.

WIN WIN!
4:58 pm on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Matt Cutts said will last for "at least 60 days"

...and then no doubt, will be quietly restored. If only the rest of us could fare as well.

......................
5:23 pm on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I've helped sites with penalties who recovered that fast - especially when the issue was caused by a third party vendor. Then again, I've definitely seen sites who suffered for 3 to 6 months and longer. Sometimes they had a history of pushing the boundaries, but other times it just seemed impossible to understand.
6:36 pm on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Just to clarify -- if the sponsored link is NOFOLLOW then it should not be subject to penalty right? If DOFOLLOW, then yes, I can see that this could be a problem. But I'd like to understand what is and isn't allowed. This type of thing is rampant in my space, but some sites are insisting on nofollow while others are not.
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