Key points in launching a Global websiteMarch 5, 2009
Getting ready for SEMPO Asia TourJune 2, 2009
About 3 weeks ago, the news of Google Japan using paid bloggers to promote their new “hot new keywords” function on the top page took over the search industry around the world. (You can read my initial thought on the topic here.) What’s very interesting to me is that everyone has been spinning it as a “link-spam scheme”, and as a result, Google “punished” Google Japan by down grading the page rank from 9 to 5. (Yeah, that should really hurt Google Japan. lol)
Paid or not, the “word of mouth” campaign using blog has been quite effective in Japan. Many people are aware that some of the bloggers may be paid to write the review, and still welcome the information especially since being compensated doesn’t mean that they’d write something that are not true. Several surveys done in Japan show that people trust and value what they read on blog posts, and often time what they read has an impact on their purchasing decision or action. I assume that Google Japan’s marketing team simply considered it as a promotional campaign, and nothing to do with a link building. (like they need more links to the site… for what reasons?) Though it’s sad that Google’s marketing team wasn’t aware of their own regulations.
I think that a point we should be discussing here is to whether such promotion should be “punished” as a link spam or not. Sure, downgrading Google Japan’s page rank seemed to work well as an example of what would happen to you if you do the same. But, if Google really believes that such campaign is nothing but a link building, how come they don’t approach to the company who offers such service, and bloggers who receive compensasion for the blog post. In fact, none of the bloggers were “punished” in any ways, and now the marketing company, “Cyber Buzz”, became well known through the news. (As of today, CyberBuzz’s page rank hasn’t changed.) Rather than to pretend punishing Google Japan, Google should put out the instruction in using such promotion campaign, and take real action to show that they don’t approve.
On CyberBuzz’s website, they uploaded a comment that they don’t pay blogger to write an article. They only pay when a blogger upload (promotional items such as) “parts” or “videos” onto the blog. In any cases, I think this type of promotion service will grow in Japan in coming years. It simply works in Japan.