Mom blogger, Stacey Nerdin, woke up this morning to a nasty surprise; apparently, a paid campaign for Google Chrome that she participated in was being resoundingly thrashed on some sites – a few of them going so far as to call her site and other mom bloggers “garbage.”
As you can imagine, Stacey was rather appalled, and wrote this on her blog today:
If you’re reading this post, it might be because you were led to my blog via a site “exposing” the “scandalous” “wrong-doings” of a particular search giant.
Chances are you may have also had to close out pop-ups, automatically ignore sidebar ads (ironically published by the very search giant the site is looking to expose), wade through a ton of site self-promotion, and maybe even scroll past an in-post banner to actually get through the post to get to the link that leads to my blog.
And my site is being called spammy? Ahem.
In his post about this controversy, Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land complains at length about how Google violated its own “no follow” rule for links in this campaign, and goes on to say:
Google’s Garbage Content Campaign
That’s perhaps the bigger problem with this campaign, much more disturbing to me. Google’s paying to produce a lot of garbage, the same type of garbage that its Panda Update was designed to penalize.
He then goes on to link to a post by Mariah at Humphries Nation, a lovely (and rather typical) mom blog, as well as Telecommuting Mommies (posts have since been removed). He then argues that Google shouldn’t be using emotion in advertising, saying “perhaps Google’s ads need less emotion and more quality.”
(A small aside from me: Perhaps Mr. Sullivan is unfamiliar with most advertising? Have you ever seen advertising that didn’t play on emotion in some way? Just saying.)
In a follow up post, Danny Sullivan admits that it’s quite possible that the campaign didn’t violate any rules. But he sticks hard to the garbage statement. In her response to this issue, Stacey Nerdin closes her post by saying:
…why did I write [the post]?
Because it’s part of my business model to generate revenue, when I can, writing about products and services that I genuinely appreciate.
The post was written with good faith to share my thoughts on a product I use every day, and yes, I got paid for it.
That these sites deem what I wrote as garbage, that they deem ALL 400 POSTS written for this campaign as garbage, is not unbiased or newsworthy. It’s petty, inflammatory, and just plain rude.
When there was no story to their story, they got personal. And, frankly, I think it says more about what kind of garbage they are willing to post on their site than I am on mine.
UPDATE: Apparently, Google has penalized itself and reduced it’s own page rank results. According to Mr. Sullivan at Search Engine Land, Google has stated:
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.
Well, I suppose they walk the walk. Very interesting case.