I’m just a little confused as to how this all came about ZD, Danny Sullivan was looking for “This post is sponsored by Google Chrome” on January 1st 2012 and came across a video ad campaign for ‘King Arthur Flour’ by Essence Designs, outsourced to Unruly Media for blog discussion and never approved for link or paid sponsorship, which had existed for 3 days. The video itself is noted for having over 20K views by December 12th 2011, two weeks after it was made public on YouTube.
The blogs themselves were all from Rage Rank of 3 or lower, mostly spamming referral programs, using poorly constructed copy which was rarely relevant to their other copy and funnily enough all using WordPress, and only one of which provided a link to Google Chrome – the damning evidence which has made Google follow its strict rules for placement punishment for the next 60 days, at least.
Danny called for Google to punish itself, as it does so often with people who try and bend the system to their ends (Unscrupulous search engine gurus and Black Hat marketeers usually), and it did- proving that no-one, not even Google, is above the rules associated with ranking.
My query is, knowing that Google could easily swap their logo for an ad for the day, add a subtle hyperlink under their search bar or make a massive April fools gag which will generate millions, if not billions, of views to increase brand recognition or promote a product; why did Danny, or indeed the many journalists who sensationalised the story across the internet, believe that Google was using cheap, ineffective, and never utilised before, marketing such as this?
I would assume that searching for a term on a search engine which is tied into a 3 day old underhanded advertising campaign which hasn’t been authorised to provide sponsored links on New Years Day is odd enough, however the fact that Danny’s bread and butter comes from being ‘knowledgeable’ about search engines and his ‘advise’ actually can be found on the blogs he mentions via their viral marketing, social media interconnectedness and even blogging platform of choice is reasonably suspicious I would suggest.
I would hope that any genuine investigative IT reporter would look into how this information came about, why it could even exist in the first place and whether there is intent behind this suspicious level of activity. That Elinor, would have made me happier than the torrent of calls for Google Chrome to be punished which sprang into effect yesterday via journo blogs rather than the trickle of queries and opinions from considered minds which, funnily enough, Danny links to and mentions in his next two post-script posts about the story.