Do evil: 'This post is sponsored by Google Chrome' SEO spam

Google Chrome
'This post is sponsored by Google Chrome' say a pile of spammy blog posts all around the Web. It would appear that it's one SEO rule for you and another for Google (GOOG). In IT Blogwatch, bloggers accuse Google of doing evil.

[Updated with note of advertising network response and other discussion]

Your humble blogwatcher (@richi ) curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Top 10 Photoshop Disasters of 2011...

    Claire Cain Miller reports:

Though Google is a household name, it needs to tell its story. ... It needs...the Chrome browser and the Google Plus social network to find...revenue beyond search ads. ... Google’s mission, led by Larry Page...[is] to pare down its product offering and make [its] products more attractive, intuitive and integrated.


The first ads for Chrome, aimed at frequent Web users, were online and discussed the browser’s speed and security. ... Google’s strategy has connected with viewers...because they would rather view a story than have products pushed at them.   

    Gregg Keizer adds Google browser market share data:

Chrome should crack the 20% mark either this month or in February.


Chrome has gained most of what IE and...Firefox lost this year, boosting its numbers by 8.8 points in 2011. Firefox...ended 2011 with 21.8%, a new low [and] will lose its second-place spot to Chrome in March if the two browsers keep to their...trend lines. ... (StatCounter [says] Chrome has already overtaken Firefox.)   

But Aaron Wall calls Google an "Orwellian...biased...dictator":

This Post is Sponsored by Google...[say] blog posts that equate Google Chrome to being the Internet & spread misinformation. ... [S]ome of those sites are paid posts and have live links in them to Google Chrome. ... [Some] link to the example businesses Google was paying to have covered.


The Orwellian things about Google using the above strategy to market Chrome: ... Google has a clear pro-corporate big brand bias. ... [See the] stupid hoops it forces smaller businesses to jump through in order to compete. ... Google polices how small businesses can even make income Google is doing the same thing.   

Danny Sullivan agrees, saying it's "Jaw-Dropping":

File this under “what were they thinking?”


[It] potentially violates Google’s guidelines against paid links. ... [Google] has been quite vocal that sponsored posts shouldn’t be a way for people to gain links in response for payment. ... And yet here, we see...Google’s sponsored post[s] doing exactly that.


Paid links drew much attention last year, after Google penalized JC Penney...Forbes and Overstock. ... Google even banned BeatThatQuote, one of its own companies...over the issue. In 2009, Google penalized Google Japan for its own search results...for 11 months.   

And Frederic Lardinois is sickened:

If there is one kind of blog post that makes my stomach turn, it’s pay-per-post. ... While there is every indication that these posts were indeed sponsored by Google, it’s worth noting that...[it's] possible, that somebody else paid for this campaign to paint Google in a negative light.


Google has also worked hard to ban low-quality content...but if you look at the results of this campaign, it’s clear that it’s not exactly buying high-quality posts either.   

Meanwhile, Josh Constine cuts to the chase:

The crux of the issue is that Google or its advertising firm Unruly has sponsored bloggers to...include a “Chrome for small businesses” promo video. ... Some of these posts purport to be reviews of Chrome and how it aids merchants. In reality, they...[are] garbage posts — the kind Google demoted in its Panda algorithm update.   

Update: There's links to the culprit's mea-culpa in my Google+ discussion


And Finally...
Top 10 Photoshop Disasters of 2011

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Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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