Google punishes itself for lousy Chrome promo

Google punishes itself for lousy Chrome promo

Summary: Google has demoted Chrome in its own search results after an effort to have bloggers promote the Google browser backfired.

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TOPICS: Browser, Apps, Google
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When you search for "browser" on Google, you won't see Chrome until position 50.

Google has demoted its Chrome home page in results for a search using the keyword "browser" following an effort to have bloggers promote the Google browser that backfired.

Now, there is no Chrome ad at the top of the results or link to the Chrome page anywhere on the first page of results on Google. It's ranked in position 50, according to Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineLand, which first reported this news.

Google's statement, according to SearchEngineLand, is:

"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.We strive to enforce Google's webmaster guidelines consistently in order to provide better search results for users.

While Google did not authorize this campaign, and we can find no remaining violations of our webmaster guidelines, we believe Google should be held to a higher standard, so we have taken stricter action than we would against a typical site."

The demotion is a response to a campaign in which bloggers were found posting low-quality content related to Google Chrome in an effort to promote a Google video about King Arthur Flour. At least one of the posts had a hyperlink to the Chrome download page, which can help a site rise in Google search results through Google's PageRank algorithm. But paying people to include such links violates Google's guidelines.

"So far, only one page in the sponsored post campaign has been spotted with a 'straight' link that passed credit to the Chrome page," Sullivan writes. "It's also unlikely that the campaign overall was designed to build links. But my impression is that Google's deciding to penalize itself anyway with a PR reduction, to be safe."

About Elinor Mills
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service, and the Associated Press.

Topics: Browser, Apps, Google

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12 comments
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  • RE: Google punishes itself for lousy Chrome promo

    monopoly abuse by google anyone? do you think mozzila had the option to try something like this?
    beenman500
  • So 'search engine guru'...

    I'm just a little confused as to how this all came about ZD, Danny Sullivan was looking for "This post is sponsored by Google Chrome" on January 1st 2012 and came across a video ad campaign for 'King Arthur Flour' by Essence Designs, outsourced to Unruly Media for blog discussion and never approved for link or paid sponsorship, which had existed for 3 days. The video itself is noted for having over 20K views by December 12th 2011, two weeks after it was made public on YouTube.<br><br>The blogs themselves were all from Rage Rank of 3 or lower, mostly spamming referral programs, using poorly constructed copy which was rarely relevant to their other copy and funnily enough all using WordPress, and only one of which provided a link to Google Chrome - the damning evidence which has made Google follow its strict rules for placement punishment for the next 60 days, at least.<br><br>Danny called for Google to punish itself, as it does so often with people who try and bend the system to their ends (Unscrupulous search engine gurus and Black Hat marketeers usually), and it did- proving that no-one, not even Google, is above the rules associated with ranking.<br><br>My query is, knowing that Google could easily swap their logo for an ad for the day, add a subtle hyperlink under their search bar or make a massive April fools gag which will generate millions, if not billions, of views to increase brand recognition or promote a product; why did Danny, or indeed the many journalists who sensationalised the story across the internet, believe that Google was using cheap, ineffective, and never utilised before, marketing such as this?<br><br>I would assume that searching for a term on a search engine which is tied into a 3 day old underhanded advertising campaign which hasn't been authorised to provide sponsored links on New Years Day is odd enough, however the fact that Danny's bread and butter comes from being 'knowledgeable' about search engines and his 'advise' actually can be found on the blogs he mentions via their viral marketing, social media interconnectedness and even blogging platform of choice is reasonably suspicious I would suggest.<br><br>I would hope that any genuine investigative IT reporter would look into how this information came about, why it could even exist in the first place and whether there is intent behind this suspicious level of activity. That Elinor, would have made me happier than the torrent of calls for Google Chrome to be punished which sprang into effect yesterday via journo blogs rather than the trickle of queries and opinions from considered minds which, funnily enough, Danny links to and mentions in his next two post-script posts about the story.
    m0r1arty
  • RE: Google punishes itself for lousy Chrome promo

    Could the author of this article go back to school and once graduated, he could "try" re-writing it again?

    PLEASE!!!
    Cedaredge
    • RE: Google punishes itself for lousy Chrome promo

      @Cedaredge

      You can't be a very good reader if you couldn't see the gender of the writer.
      rfoto
  • RE: Google punishes itself for lousy Chrome promo

    How about GOOGLE getting it's act together and stop being a PIG!<br>Google is putting it's self in a position of the banks like "too big to fail'.
    GOOGLE is SLOPPY!
    Cedaredge
  • Not a big fan of Google

    You know I think Chrome browser is a very fast and good browser. But I will not use it.
    On principal I do not like how Google handles itself as a business model and how it continues to allow malware apps on its own store even though it has happened time and time again. That action alone causes me to question what is important to Google.
    jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
  • RE: Google punishes itself for lousy Chrome promo

    Now it's showing up at the top as an Ad. LOL
    jsmith2113
  • RE: Google punishes itself for lousy Chrome promo

    And nothing of value was lost.
    Loverock Davidson-
  • Looks like Microsoft decided to demote Chrome too (gee, what a surprise)

    Search for "browser" on Bing, and Chrome's homepage is hit #72. Well ahead of it are things like: Netscape (I kid you not, a link to Netscape's home page is #8); that the BOLT browser is discontinued; a specialized browser for autistic children; Orca; blog articles about people browsing in bookstores and grocery markets; etc. etc.<br><br>IE's home page is hit #6 in Bing. (I'm actually surprised it wasn't higher). By the time you get to the Chrome homepage link, you've read 4 articles on how IE9 use is growing faster than Chrome use. It's not until link #76 that there's an article whose main point is that Chrome use growing.<br><br>Search on Google for "browser", and IE's home page is hit #8, right in the mix with Firefox, Opera, Safari.<br><br>Hmm ...
    daboochmeister
  • Really?

    I just searched for "browser" using Google. The first thing is a Chrome ad. There are no browser specific entries in the first page at all. Things are back to normal, I guess.
    gak@...
  • RE: Google punishes itself for lousy Chrome promo

    This article, as written, is as clear as mud. My takeaway from this is that there was some campaign by King Arthur Flour to promote a video and Chrome got involved in a way that I can't begin to fathom and Google is punishing itself even though it had nothing to do with it and whatever was going on wasn't to promote Chrome anyway even though the headline suggests it was and... I'm completely lost.
    jgm@...
  • Only 60 days?

    Only 60 days? we have been penalized since last February because of the exact situation and our penalty hasn't been removed. This is double standard!!!
    hcancelik