Google has announced it will be taking action to demote Chrome’s search rankings for at least 60 days, after its video advertising campaign accidentally breached the company’s strict rules against paid sponsorships and links.
The online search giant had commissioned Unruly Media to promote a Chrome video advertisement, across various blogs, as paid featured content. However, some of the blog sites weren’t too careful, and included links back to the Chrome download page themselves – not an prescribed part of the contract. The real problem arose when these hyperlinks were not given a ”nofollow” attribute, which Google requires paid links to have, when it conducts its trawling.
Essence Digital clarified Google’s role in the matter, that Google only agreed to buy online video ads on the blogs in question. The company later apologized to Google for causing the confusion.
"We want to be perfectly clear here: Google never approved a sponsored-post campaign. They only agreed to buy online video ads. Google have consistently avoided paid postings to promote their products, because in their view these kind of promotions are not transparent or in the best interests of users.
In this case, Google were subjected to this activity through media that encouraged bloggers to create what appeared to be paid posts, were often of poor quality and out of line with Google standards. We apologize to Google who clearly didn't authorize this."
The CEO of Unruly Media, Scott Button, elaborated a lot further, when he told the Guardian:
"A blogger, who we didn't ask to link to a Google Chrome page, linked to a Google Chrome page, and did so without using the nofollow attribute. Obviously they shouldn't do this in the context of a blog post that embeds one of our sponsored videos. As soon as we found out about it, we got it fixed. To be clear, we're not in the business of getting bloggers to write about products or link to advertisers' websites. We distrubute branded video content, and we pay bloggers (and big websites and app developers) when their audiences watch the videos. That's what Google paid us to do, and that's our business. The SEM angle is basically a red herring - it doesn't bear any relation to our business nor any relation to the objectives of the Google Chrome campaign."
A Google statement also responded to allegations:
“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.”
Source: The Guardian