Google banishes Rap Genius from search results after Justin Bieber 'link scheme'
In the latest display of its power over the Internet, Google has all but deleted Rap Genius by blacklisting the popular lyrics site for trying to boost its search rankings using Justin Bieber links
As a popular (or should that be once-popular) lyrics website has found out, Google is the almighty power on the Internet. And it is not to be crossed.
It all started when Rap Genius, a service that lets users look up lyrics and discuss their meaning, tried to bend the rules. The site posted a message on Facebook asking bloggers to become affiliates - if the bloggers promoted Rap Genius's Google ranking by linking to its coverage of a new Justin Bieber album, Rap Genius would promote their blogs on social media.
Google was not impressed. The exact details of how Google orders its results are a closely guarded secret, but the number of links to a site are a significant factor. The more links, the bigger a site must be, and the higher it should appear in its results.
So when Google discovered a direct plan to artificially boost the number of links, it blacklisted the site: now it was not on the first page of search results, or the second but buried on the seventh page. To Google - and all who rely on it - Rap Genius was dead.
Rap Genius’ traffic soon plummeted and Twitter filled with users asking why the service had been deleted from the Internet.
What had happened? John Marbach was one blogger who answered the call from Rap Genius. A response from one of the sites co-founder’s, Mahbod Moghadam, said that Rap Genius would promote his blog through social media, if he posted a series of links to Rap Genius pages containing Justin Bieber lyrics - the idea being that more links there are back to the site, the more popular search engines will think it is.
Mr Marbach, realising the call was an attempt to boost its rankings on Google and other search engines, blogged about the ploy.
The post soon caught the attention of Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team. He decided this went against Google’s policy for promotion through linking and promptly penalised the site.
Admitting their blunder, the Rap Genius founders have now written an open letter apologising to Google for employing the scheme, and claim that they did not know it put them at odds with the search engine’s rules.
They also decided to help Google out by doing an investigation into their competitors, alleging that many exploit similar systems - and worse.
“We effed up, other lyrics sites are almost definitely doing worse stuff, and we’ll stop,” the team wrote. “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 team now seem to be attempting to use the huge amount of media publicity that has come from the blacklisting to build their user base and get people signed up to the site.
“It's chill we are focused on people who sign up and come to the site direct,” the team recently wrote on Twitter.
Life & Style blogs
Kylie Jenner challenge: Bizarre lip suction device inspired by Kardashian sister goes viral
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Coachella Festival 2015: from Kendall Jenner to Alexa Chung, stars and festival-goers parade their boho best
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
$375 'peasant dress' enrages the internet
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 1 Kylie Jenner challenge: Bizarre lip suction device inspired by Kardashian sister goes viral
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor are reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
- 4 Bruce Forsyth backs assisted dying campaign: 'If I had Alzheimer's or dementia I would do something about it'
- 5 Giorgio Armani criticises the way some gay men dress saying 'a man has to be a man'
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...
£23500 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Essex based I.T solution provid...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: New exciting opportunity has ri...