Say what? Google breaks own policies for Chrome paid posts [update]
(CBS) - Google has found itself in a firestorm over breaking its own policies.
If you type in words "This post is sponsored by Google Chrome" an odd array of small blogs that feature posts with titles like: "Google Chrome Benefits Small Business," "Google Chrome Helps Small Business Find Success Online," or "A Bit About Google Chrome."
So, what's the problem? Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan reported that some paid posts included a promotional video and link to Google Chrome's download page. Incoming links affect a website's search engine optimization (SEO) and Google PageRank.
The move is puzzling because it breaks the company' own guidelines, which state: "Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines and can negatively impact a site's ranking in search results."
CNET obtained a statement from Unruly Media, who hosts the Google Chrome video.
"Unruly never requires bloggers to link to back to an advertiser's site. That's because we're in the business of video advertising not search engine marketing, so we couldn't care less about link juice. We don't ask for it, we don't pay for it, and we don't track it," Unruly chief executive officer Scott Brown told CNET via email.
The posts are prevalent among mommy bloggers, who were already put on the spotlight once, when the Federal Trade Commission required bloggers include full disclosure for payment or gifts in their posts. Just listen to some of the blog titles: "Humphries Nation," "Telecommuting Mommies," "Life as a CEO: A day in the life of a shore mom."
The surge of bloggers posting sponsored articles has been the bane of Google's quality control for some time now, so it's disconcerting that the company would put itself in the same pool of spammy content.
A Google spokesperson gave CBS News this statement via email.
"Google never agreed to anything more than online ads. We have consistently avoided paid sponsorships, including paying bloggers to promote our products, because these kind of promotions are not transparent or in the best interests of users. We're now looking at what changes we need to make to ensure that this never happens again."
Essence Digital, the advertising agency in charge of Chrome accounts, released a statement on Google+ saying, "Google never approved a sponsored-post campaign. They only agreed to buy online video ads."
Popular in SciTech
- Oops! The five greatest scientific blunders
- Apple's next iPhone may be coming in June
- Thousands online proclaim: Jahar Tsarnaev is innocent
- Zynga demands employees return stock or get fired
- 40 years later: Why the Endangered Species Act still matters
- Beam this up: Creating the sounds of "Star Trek"
- Alternatives to Google Reader
- Apple's iPhone 6 may have bigger screen, analyst says