A series of blogs used in a cross-linking strategy to boost the Google page ranking of three porn sites run by adult site operator CyberQuest was the unauthorized creation of an affiliate, the company said Wednesday.
Read the rest of the article on Wired News.
It's always convenient for companies that get caught trying to spam or boost their Google juice to blame the affiliates. Plausible deniability indeed...
I dunno about other marketing companies, but in the rare instance that we use affiliate relationships for things like co-reg and CPA, affiliates have to sign a contract that states, among other things, that they won't use any unapproved media to generate leads and sales. Why can't everyone do this? Because they like to be able to blame affiliates when they get busted, that's why.
I really dug the PageRank concept until it spawned this crazy business of creating bogus links and spam with the goal of boosting one's PageRank. Someone should do a study to determine how much detritus is out there on the Internet for this sole purpose. There's comment spam, bulletin board spam, phantom links, phantom redirect pages, guestbook spam - all of this stuff can boost PageRank, and it probably wouldn't exist if Google didn't exist.
Not that I want to slam Google, but isn't there a better way to determine relevance other than measuring inbound links? And shouldn't Google perma-ban folks who get caught doing this?