Financial Times Caught Helping Link Spammers With Hidden Links
from the sneaky,-sneaky,-sneaky... dept
In the past few months, there have been a number of stories where otherwise reputable sites (usually managed by a small group of people) were caught selling space on their site to various search engine spammers. From WordPress to Syndic8 to the Stanford Daily student newspaper — all have been caught doing somewhat sneaky things after being paid by advertisers who only want links from those pages to boost their rank in various search engines. In all of these cases, after some light was shown on what was happening, (and often after Google punished the sites by removing them from their index), the sites all agreed to stop the slimy advertising practice. However, what happens when a much bigger, more well known website sinks to the same levels? Perhaps we’re about to find out. Adrants points out that The Financial Times’ website is using hidden links pointing to some random website. The hidden link they’re using is fairly simple — they just made the text color the same as the background color. Either way, though, it’s a sneaky trick clearly designed only to boost the link recipient’s search engine ranking through underhanded methods. It’s both odd and surprising that the Financial Times would stoop so low — though, as one of the comments notes, perhaps this is just a rogue FT webmaster trying to help a friend or earn some extra cash. Either way, the question remains: will Google punish the Financial Times by removing it from their index the same way they punished WordPress and Syndic8?