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Foundem Claims To Be Whitelisted From Google Spam Penalty


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5 replies to this topic

#1 Michael Martinez

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 12:59 PM

I am a little upset and disturbed right now because in reading the claims made on this site I discovered that Foundem -- a UK price-comparison service that was penalized by Google for aggregating content for several years -- has been claiming to have been whitelisted from Google's spam penalty since last February. I have found numerous news stories mentioning this claim of whitelisting, but none of those stories were published on Search Engine Land, where Greg Sterling has covered Foundem's story many times.

Foundem has allegedly shared an email from the Google Adwords team with an update on the whitelisting request.

This is a very serious matter.

First of all, a known spammer is alleging to have been given a free pass to spam Google's search results. Everyone else, it seems, still has to play by the rules.

Secondly, we have been told for years that there is a WALL between Google organic search and Google paid search -- that neither side of the business is allowed to interfere with the other side of the business.

Apparently, that's not true, either.

Google needs to come clean on this matter and either change its policy so that ALL aggregators are allowed to compete in the search results OR they need to enforce their policy fairly and neutrally.

There are certainly, in my opinion, reasons for some businesses to vent about Google promoting its own content above search results -- but the solution is NOT to bully Google into whitelisting a site that is violating Google's spam guidelines. THAT is unfair and if that is the way Google is going to do business then they can count on me to call for government regulation of search results.

#2 smc_online

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 01:50 PM

I have never been a fan of "agregators" or third party webites that use "screen scraping" technology. But I don't see them going away any time soon especially when you have large organizations (i.e. Expedia.co.uk) giving them free reign via affiliate association. In addition to that, I find there are many businesses (which are negatively impacted by such sites) to be oblivious of the infringement or too naive to do something about the unfair use of their trademark brand or intellectual property.

PS - I second your motion. wink1.gif

#3 Jill

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 01:54 PM

Barry's picked up this story at SER:
http://www.seroundta...list-12835.html

#4 Michael Martinez

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 03:53 PM

Matt's Tweet to me implies that there is or was a legal process involved, so as Barry noted Google probably will not comment on this matter any time soon. That, however, just makes the whole matter even more problematic.

If Foundem really did age out of a penalty, that should be made clear. They claim they haven't changed their publishing process. Google really looks bad in this matter.

#5 Jill

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 04:35 PM

If there was a legal procedure maybe they had no choice?

Could it just be that they're now able to show up for their company name where before they weren't?

(I haven't read all the articles about it.)

#6 Michael Martinez

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 05:44 PM

QUOTE(Jill @ Jan 21 2011, 01:35 PM) View Post
If there was a legal procedure maybe they had no choice?

Could it just be that they're now able to show up for their company name where before they weren't?

(I haven't read all the articles about it.)


No, I tested some queries for product price comparisons. They were ranking in the top five for my unscientific sampling. I've seen a couple of news media references to queries where they now rank well, also.

I understand Google's need to protect the algorithm, but if they made an algorithmic adjustment to allow companies like Foundem to compete I should think it would be fair of Google to mention that. Otherwise, the whitelisting rumor will persist.




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