Google Shows True Colors With BeatThatQuote Spam

Guidelines are pushed as though they are commandments from a religious tome, but they are indeed a set of arbitrary devices used to hold down those who don't have an in with Google.

When Google nuked BeatThatQuote I guessed that the slap on the wrist would last a month & give BTQ time to clean up their mess.

As it turns out, I was wrong on both accounts.

Beat That Quote is already ranking again. They rank better than ever & only after only 2 weeks!

And the spam clean up? Google did NOTHING of the sort.

Every single example (of Google spamming Google) that was highlighted is still live.

Now Google can claim they handled the spam on their end / discounted it behind the scenes, but such claims fall short when compared to the standards Google holds other companies to.

  • Most sites that get manually whacked for link-based penalties are penalized for much longer than 2 weeks.
  • Remember the brand damage Google did to companies like JC Penny & by talking to the press about those penalties? In spite of THOUSANDS of media outlets writing about Google's BTQ acquisition, The Register was the most mainstream publication discussing Google's penalization of BeatThatQuote, and there were no quotes from Google in it.
  • When asking for forgiveness for such moral violations, you are supposed to grovel before Google admitting all past sins & admit to their omniscient ability to know everything. This can lead one to over-react and actually make things ever worse than the penalty was!
  • In an attempt to clean up their spam penalties (or at least to show they were making an effort) JC Penny did a bulk email to sites linking to them, stating that the links were unauthorized and to remove them. So JC Penny not only had to spend effort dropping any ill gotten link equity, but also lost tons of organic links in the process.

Time to coin a new SEO phrase: token penalty.

token penalty: an arbitrary short-term editorial action by Google to deflect against public relations blowback that could ultimately lead to review of anti-competitive monopolistic behaviors from a search engine with monopoly marketshare which doesn't bother to follow its own guidelines.

Your faith in your favorite politician should be challenged after you see him out on the town snorting coke and renting hookers. The same is true for Googler's preaching their guidelines as though it is law while Google is out buying links (and the sites that buy them).

You won't read about this in the mainstream press because they are scared of Google's monopolistic business practices. Luckily there are blogs. And Cyndi Lauper. ;)

Update: after reading this blog post, Google engineers once again penalized BeatThatQuote!

Published: March 22, 2011 by Aaron Wall in google


March 22, 2011 - 8:32pm

Google has been hypocritical before, but this case really takes the cake. How much more blatant can you get?

March 22, 2011 - 10:12pm

I think folks who work on the internet, who make their living on the internet, and make the internet tick - forget that lay persons not only don't understand how the internet works, but they JUST DON'T CARE. So the brand damage is only done if people who care about link juice choose to not shop at those places because of it. I reckon that's about 286 people world-wide. Everybody else is busy caring about the minutiae of their day-to-day existence.

Not one single person has admitted to me that they won't shop at JCP any more because they scammed Google for higher rankings.

If you want to make Google notice, vote with your feet (clicks) - start using Bing.

March 22, 2011 - 10:25pm

When it hits mainstream media coverage I think the perceived idea of pushing that someone is a "cheat" of any type, or a "scammy marketer who doesn't follow social norms" indeed can have a lasting perverse impact on perceived quality.

If you think otherwise, consider the lasting blowback Belkin got for buying fake reviews on Amazon Mechanical Turk. That happened a few years ago & I simply won't buy anything with their brand on it. For some folks a similar impact happens when reading the "Google caught company x spamming" articles in the NYT or WSJ.

That page I just linked to had hundreds of other links. And it is pointing at this page with nearly 1,000 inbound links.

How many millions of people saw some of those articles? The brand damage is more significant than it may seem at a glance!

March 23, 2011 - 2:44am

You are covering one angle, the SEO angle. But as you know, Google has grown into much more than just a search engine. It is the new omnipotent company. They grew so big so fast, mostly because they had the momentum, and they promised to do no harm. We know it was all pure bs. But most of us are still in denial, especially those sitting on Google's shares. I'd be looking to sell in a not so distant future if I had any. Something tells me momentum could soon be shifting, or maybe not. But wait a moment... Who am I kidding? I'm typing this on my Nexus One. Let's be honest. Google knows everything about me, even when I'm jerking off. How can you defeat that?

March 23, 2011 - 10:24pm

Aaron is spot on when noting that major media sites are afraid to say anything bad about Google because they fear that G will "find" SOMETHING that is against their TOS and will ding them for it, even if the publisher had no idea that it was there!

8jef, I would BUY Google shares not sell. They are monetizing the hell out of local/mobile and that alone will contribute to consistent growth over the next 3-4 years!

October 4, 2011 - 3:08am

There is a lot of special-interest pressure within every big organization that informs the public and all these big organizations defend their own interests. Sometimes, it seems unfair. It's unfair or normal depending on your viewpoint. There is nothing special about Google. In any case, it is nice to see your side of the story. I wouldn't be here if I did not find anything useful in this.

October 4, 2011 - 3:29am

It is difficult to know every thing that's going on and I really appreciate to get the pieces from here and there.

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