JAWW (beta)

The ward is a factory for the Combine

Quod Licet Iovi

WordPress.COM Spams Search Engines …Why Not?

This is not exactly news already. But till this very moment I was repeatedly saying that I’ve never been able to see ads on the notorious Global Tags™ pages for myself. Now it’s changed, I do stand corrected in this post because That Girl was always right on money from the very beginning, Again, and again.

So, yeah:

Sorry, we don’t have any posts here with that tag

…but we’ve got plenty of Hot Nachos ads for you to click through instead:

click to see full sized image

On this splogshot you can see a typical WordPress.com Global Tag page linked from so called Mature .com blogs for many times*. Such “Not Found” pages contains ads only; they does not even link back to the originating blogs. But the funniest thing is that those pages said not even 404s (“Not found”), they’re full blown 200 (“OK”) and thereby indexed by the search engines.

That is why, in this moment, we can also see the following picture of the Google’s index**:

this image linked to Google search; see for yourself

Please notice the links right above and below the link in question: Adam was the first who noticed this horrific user experience. Also of note: this blank (well, except the AdSense and partner’s affiliated links) Automattic’s global tags page even outranked those Technorati’s ones, which do contain some bits of the actual content (linkbacks at the very least)!

I objected and reported this usability issue on multiple occasions both privately and publicly. It only resulted in closing forums threads where it happened. Finally, along with several other volunteers, Automattic banned me from the fora at all. That said, I got absolutely no doubts that Automattic is perfectly aware about producing links intended to manipulate Google’s PageRank algorithm. (Of course you are if such a link scheme is actually a cornerstone your company’s business model built upon.)

Since obviously such pages are “made entirely for the search engines, not for users” and “published specifically for the purpose of showing ads”, this is nothing but a direct violation of basic principles of Google’s “Webmaster Quality Guidelines“, as well as of their own “AdSense Program Policies”.

So, this is an intentional behavior intended to increase revenues via spamdexing (SEO gaming) the search engines (Yahoo, MS Live Search). I only wander why nobody from the legion of the SEO experts notice this? Are they also so deep down in the SE’s back pocket?

The only exception to this rule makes Andy Beard, who for the several times questioned Automattic’s spamdexing peculiar linking practice since the very inception of this link farm on WordPress.com.

well, yes, I know it’s actually another Matt and the Google Webspam Team who needs to be asked in the first place. but anyway, would the oncoming interview with Matt M On WordPress Weekly be a proper place to politely ask about all this mess?

ETA: I guess not exactly.

*) for the non-wordpress.com’ers: GT links are compulsory for all .com users. The price of opt-out and the only way to get out of this link farm is getting off the search engines altogether by marking their blog as Private.

**) yes, a ’phrase operator’, i.e. quotes, was used here for a clearness. but it does not matter too much — even without it said link still is ranked high enough to be on the first page.


6 responses to “Quod Licet Iovi

  1. that girl again May 16, 2008 at 16:10

    GT links are compulsory for all .com users

    In practice, of course, they don’t appear on VIP blogs even though it’s one of the terms they’re supposed to agree to when they sign up.

    Did you report the ads on the ‘Not Found’ page to Google? If nothing is done about this one it’s a fairly clear sign that Automattic have been given carte blanche to disregard Google’s ToS, or at the very least to play fast and loose with the spirit of it.

  2. Kissing Bandit May 16, 2008 at 20:35

    …it’s a fairly clear sign that Automattic have been given carte blanche to disregard Google’s ToS…

    Actually, premium publishers have a separate ToS and I’m going out on a limb to say that Automattic falls into the premium publisher category.

  3. Kissing Bandit May 16, 2008 at 20:37

    Just a clarification: many of the typical user ToS points are in effect, however, the premium publisher ToS is slightly more lax.

  4. Root May 31, 2008 at 19:16

    So: For all his alleged guruness Matt is really Google’s bitch? I wouldn’t invest a cent in such a broken business model. Where is the added value?

  5. Pingback: no published rule « JAWW (beta)

  6. options July 9, 2008 at 22:15

    I dunno, perhaps, the business model has changed recently — I can’t see a single Google ad on .com for a week or so…

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