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Monday, April 29, 2013

Google Hits Mozilla With Spam Penalty

Posted by @ 4:43 pm
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It seems even Internet browser aren’t safe from Google penalties…

Recent reports say that Google has dished out a penalty to Mozilla.org, the nonprofit site of the organization that provides the Firefox browser. The penalty was for web spam originating from the site, here’s the message the Mozilla team received from Google:

Google has detected user-generated spam on your site. Typically, this kind of spam is found on forum pages, guestbook pages, or in user profiles. As a result, Google has applied a manual spam action to your site.

This is due to the comments received on the site from users (similar to blog comments), so it’s a timely reminder to bloggers and forum owners to ensure your comments are cleaned up.

But here’s where the penalty get’s tricky…. we have learned that all of this fanfare and action was over one specific page. Yes you read that correctly; the spam issue was on one page and although that single instance was significant at 12MB of user generated spam, many are wondering if this muscle flexing by Google was really worth the effort or if it was simply for show.

Google’s John Mueller has weighed into the discussion stating that in these cases, Google tries to go as “granular as possible with our manual actions.” So in this case, Mozilla is not fully penalized, just the sections or pages that have this spam on it.

He also shared this advice:

For these kinds of sites, it may make sense to allow the community to help with comment moderation (eg. allow them to flag or vote-down spam), and to use the rel=nofollow link microformat to let search engines know that you don’t endorse the links in those unmoderated comments.

Could this problem have simply been solved by notifying Mozilla of the infraction as this issue was only on one page? Yes, the problem was significant but many are now wondering if Google went far beyond normal measures. Mozilla really should have taken care of the problem long before the spam reached 12MB of user generated comments. That amount of spam seems extreme by any measure.



Courtney Mills Courtney is an online marketing and communications specialist at ineedhits - a leading search engine marketing firm with over 16 years experience. Courtney has been living and breathing online marketing for over 5 years. She specializes in web and communication marketing, while providing news and opinion to online marketing communities.

View Courtney Mills's profile






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