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05 Jan 12 Google relegates Chrome home page after spam criticism


The sponsored blog postings were commissioned by Essence Digital, a
London-based digital marketing agency. Google said it had never approved the
campaign and that only one of the sponsored blog postings improved the
Chrome home page’s PageRank.

“Google have consistently avoided paid postings to promote their products,
because in their view these kind of promotions are not transparent or in the
best interests of users,” Essence Digital said, apologising for the
sponsored postings.

According to Search
Engine Land, a leading blog
about the web search industry, Google’s
self-punishment has had a dramatic effect. The Chrome home page is now
ranked as low as 73rd in a search for “browser”, for example. It was
previously ranked second in searches for the term.

The strict action comes as Google is under regulatory scrutiny by the European
Commission for allegedly using its dominance of web search to promote
secondary products.

Article source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/8995070/Google-relegates-Chrome-home-page-after-spam-criticism.html

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05 Jan 12 On its way to No. 1, Chrome’s rep stumbles


Google

As 2011 ended, Internet Explorer preserved a precarious perch as first-place browser, yet Chrome was the only one that made such a big gain that becoming No. 1 some time in 2012 looks like a good bet. But its ascent won’t come completely clean: Google is reported to have paid bloggers to campaign for the browser, and the search giant has subsequently knocked itself down in page rank — as a self-inflicted punishment.

StatCounter’s global stats from December 2010 to December 2011 shows that of the top five browsers, Chrome is the only one that rose in usage, while IE and Firefox lost market share and Safari and Opera remained steady. Chrome began 2011 at 15.68 percent and ended it at 27.27 percent, while IE began 2011 at 46 percent and ended it at 38.65 percent.

StatCounter

(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

The Dublin, Ireland-based StatCounter was the same web analytics company that showed Chrome 15 overtaking IE 8 for the top browser spot for one week late in 2011.

In the U.S., StatCounter’s stats show Chrome began 2011 with 12.67 percent of the market, but ended the year with 18.73 percent. IE began 2011 with 48.38 percent and ended it with 48.26, with only one spike to 50.66 percent in November before reverting back to its constant just below half. Firefox still stands between IE and Chrome in the U.S., but just barely. It ended the year with 20.15 percent, but it began 2011 with 26.38 percent.

NetMarketShare’s stats also show IE still on top at 51.87 percent at year’s end, but that’s after it began 2011 at 58.35 percent. Chrome began 2011 at 11.15 percent and finished at 19.11 percent. Firefox and Opera went down, while Safari made modest gains that still kept it below 5 percent.

In an informal poll of about 6,200 votes in mid-December, msnbc.com readers revealed a preference for Chrome, with 41 percent telling us that’s what they were using. Firefox came in second at 34 percent and IE third at 20 percent.

But even if Chrome does close the gap on IE and become the world’s top browser this year, it does so at a cost of its own reputation.

Google begins 2012 under less-than-ideal circumstances, under a cloud of controversy, as sites such as Search Engine Land spread the word about an unauthorized pro-Chrome campaign that rewarded bloggers with payments. 

Google has imposed a penalty on its own browser by demoting Chrome and lowering the site’s PageRank for at least 60 days — which means it won’t show up so high, or even on the first page, of searches for “browser” — and explaining it in sort of simple language for the mainstream through Google+.

Nevertheless, this may prove to be only a temporary setback to the browser’s inevitable march toward the top spot.

More stories:

 

Check out Technolog on Facebook, and on Twitter, follow Athima Chansanchai, who is also trying to keep her head above water in the Google+ stream.

Article source: http://technolog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/04/9946713-on-its-way-to-no-1-chromes-rep-stumbles

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03 Jan 12 Google May Have Violated Its Own Paid Link Policy With Chrome Promo Campaign


Chrome Sponsored Link Campaign

Google appears to have paid bloggers to write about Chrome in a way that violates its own paid link policy, according to Search Engine Land. If Google applied a similar penalty to those it’s doled out to past violators, the Chrome download page would be removed from its search engine results for between a month and a year. Don’t bet on that happening, though. The campaign is another example of how Google’s diverse business can lead it to trip over itself.

The crux of the issue is that Google or its advertising firm Unruly has sponsored bloggers to discuss its browser and include a “Chrome for small businesses”  promo video, as first spotted by SEO Book. Some of these posts purport to be reviews of Chrome and how it aids merchants. In reality, they provide no details on Chrome features or how the browser can actually benefit small businesses. This classifies them as garbage posts — the kind Google demoted in its Panda algorithm update. SEL’s Danny Sullivan does a deep dive into several of the sponsored blog posts if you want examples.

It would be fine for Google to have paid for links to the Chrome download page if the bloggers used the nofollow attribute. This indicates to PageRank that a link was paid for and shouldn’t influence search rankings. At least one didn’t. If you really want to voice your discontent over Google sidestepping it’s own rules, you can complain about this sponsored post using Google’s paid link reporting tool.

The violation could have been an error on the part of the sponsored bloggers. Still, Google should have predicted scrutiny and been more careful with the instructions the bloggers received. Google’s wide footprint gives it plenty of cross-promotion opportunities. But as we saw with the Fingergate Google+ photo takedown issue, it can also make it hard for the company to consistently adhere to all of its policies.

Article source: http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/02/chrome-sponsored-posts/

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