John Chow has been penalised heavily by Google, for link-bombing. He is now far behind the first page for both “John Chow” and “Make Money Online” search terms. There’s also reports that Google will drop his PageRank from the 6 to 4, in the next PR update.
For several months now, John Chow had been aggressively pursuing a linkback campaign, where he would link to any blogger who writes a review of his blog, and links to him with the link text “Make Money Online”.
Google has been known for frowning on paid links, paid reviews and other forms of link fraud or “gaming the system”. Now, John Chow is on some 7th page of results for “John Chow” on Google. This is in addition for penalty for the result “Make Money Online”.
Apparently, folks at Googleplex were not very pleased with the linkback campaign. They have, however maintained that they do not rearrange the results manually to punish such fraud. They claim that their algorithm is smart enough to penalise such sites automatically.
However, this incident of JC makes me think twice about such claims.
Matt Cutts, the “voice of Google”, who was critical of Google’s policies like placing their own services Picassa and Blogger ahead of WordPress or Flickr in search results. Thus, one would expect Matt to speak the truth. Matt Cutts, has however repeatedly echoed what Google says about their results.
Of course, Google has the right to rearrange their results. They had been something of a revoulutionary in the corporate sector, with the motto “Don’t be evil” and the like. However, with this step, Google has gone back on all such promises. I personally agree with the dropping of JC on both searches, but this is more because of his evil methods.
Which makes me wonder – does Google aspire to be the next Technorati? Remember, Technorati attained notoriety for rearranging their “Top 100″ list of blogs, favouring some bloggers, while manually removing some others. John Chow was at the receiving end of that too! It was even criticised by the A-listers.
Now, Google, the search engine that we all love, seems to be heading the “Technorati way”.