Feeds

Lyrics upstart Rap Genius blacklisted by Google for Justin Bieber SEO scam

No search results for you

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Online lyrics site Rap Genius has been slapped down by Google after admitting trying to boost its search rankings by exchanging promotional tweets for hyperlinks from bloggers.

On December 23, the lyrics site posted on Facebook that it was beginning a "Rap Genius blog affiliate" program. Blogger John Marbach got in touch and was told the site would promote his blog with a preapproved message as long as he embedded links to Justin Bieber lyrics in his blog posts.

The aim was to build up a series of hyperlinks that would make sure that when teenage girls searched for the deep meaning in the androgynous Canadian pop star's lyrics, the number of hyperlinks out there would mean Rap Genius would be the first result shown.

Marbach made the email public and it caught the eye of Google staffers, who immediately began looking into the lyrics site's less-than-genius plan. As a result, the site has now been banished from Google search rankings and has suffered a catastrophic loss of readership.

In a mea culpa statement, Rap Genius' founders said that they had thought the promotional plans didn't breach Google's terms and conditions and that such quid-pro-quo arrangements were only for blogs that posted relevant articles. They also denied abusing keyword-rich anchor text links.

"We effed up," they said in a statement, adding, "other lyrics sites are almost definitely doing worse stuff, and we’ll stop. We’d love for Google to take a closer look at the whole lyrics search landscape and see whether it can make changes that would improve lyric search results."

The company's founders also included links to other lyrics sites that they claim also breach Google's terms and conditions. The Chocolate Factory is no doubt examining these to see if there are more websites it needs to ban. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.