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The Googletron will not be pwned!

From Search Engine Land:


As News Publications Experiment With Sponsored Content, Google Says Keep It Out Of Google News

News publications having “sponsored content “deals are on the rise, and Google’s apparently concerned enough that it’s issued a warning today that publishers should keep such content out of Google News.

In a post today on the Google News blog, the company writes:

If a site mixes news content with affiliate, promotional, advertorial, or marketing materials (for your company or another party), we strongly recommend that you separate non-news content on a different host or directory, block it from being crawled with robots.txt, or create a Google News Sitemap for your news articles only.Otherwise, if we learn of promotional content mixed with news content, we may exclude your entire publication from Google News.


So what’s Google all kerfoogled about? Just this:



Problem is, that Wireless Changing Healthcare link isn’t editorial content, it’s advertorial content, compliments of the Post’s new Brand Connect service.

Except it’s not at all clear that what you’re linked to is an ad in sheep’s clothing.

Judge for yourself:



Google has good reason to be concerned. The more this kind of stealth marketing jumps the advertising/editorial fence,  the less credible Google search results become.

Fair is fair: Google has done a reasonably good job keeping its search results separate from its ad results.

Representative sample:



If Google can’t continue to keep that basic level of separation, look for more and more people to separate themselves from Google.


John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
John R. Carroll has 303 post(s) on Sneak Adtack