Google.JP penalised – True penalty or PR masterstroke

by Peter Young on February 12, 2009 · 0 comments

For many of those in the industry the story of late has been that of Googles recent ‘pay-per-post’ campaign out in Japan, to promote Google in the Japanese marketplace. Unlike in much of the Western World, Google is not numero uno in Japan, instead that recognition goes to arch enemy Yahoo. However in their enthusiasm, Google appear to have tripped a rather important filter – which co-incidentally just happened to be one of their more contentious guidelines off recent years – that of paid links.

The furore centered around a ‘pay-per-post campaign’ with Cyberbuzz – A Tokyo based internet marketing company with many participants in the post referencing the Cyberpuzz campaigns. However again this is where Google failed to follow their own guidelines as not one of the links appears to contain the nofollow attribute highlighted by Google as best practise in these instances. A case of pot, calling the kettle black you may think…

Matt Cutts twitter post on Google.co.jp "penalty"

Matt Cutts twitter post on Google.co.jp "penalty"

However it appears Google have penalised the Google.jp with a -4PR penalty, as announced by Matt Cutts (first highlighed by Hobo-Web and Patrick Altoft). Call me a cynic, but one can’t help thinking that this is somewhat suspect, and nothing more than a PR masterstroke on Googles perspective. After all, in real terms it is unlikely to have any significant knock on impact. Most people at the end of the day, do not Google Google, however it will have a number of knock-on effects:

  • Significant Buzz – THere is already a lot of Google penalising themselves, and other posts similar to this one.
  • Linkage – The amount of linkage generated on this subject is likely to be significant. Not really that much of an issue for Google, however as many SEO related sites tend to have high PR, something to consider all the same

Given the speed of response, there is little doubt Google have been carefully monitoring this. Certainly a quick look at Matt Cutts conversation history in Twitter (particularly those from February 9th ), show that the WebSpam team at Google would have been aware of the issue and the level of ‘interest’ it was provoking within the industry. I would thus suggest the powers that be at Google would have therefore been aware of the impending PR issues and this is merely a direct response to that rather than the traditional penalty system.

Google.co.jp "penalty" references on Twitter

Google.co.jp "penalty" references on Twitter

Whether or not this is the type of noise the Japanese market want to hear is a different story – and to a certain extent whether this has even filtered through to the general public over there. Only time will tell on those.

However in my opinion is a brand reputation masterstroke.

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