After a detailed and embarrassing expose by Search Engine Land revealing that Google ostensibly violated its own practices regarding paid links and weak content, the search engine is flagellating itself to atone for the mistakes.
In an emailed statement addressing the allegations, Google confirmed that it was penalizing itself in search results for at least 60 days, taking “manual action to demote” the results fingered in the original post. In response to the outcry, Google said:
“Google never agreed to anything more than online ads. We have consistently avoided paid sponsorships, including paying bloggers to promote our products, because these kind of promotions are not transparent or in the best interests of users. We’re now looking at what changes we need to make to ensure that this never happens again.”
Anger about what many users see as a double standard has marked the controversy, as many smaller and less powerful sites have been punished more harshly for certain links and content deemed “thin” by Google.