Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Bad, BMW. Bad!

Ahh, this is a good one.

BMW's .de (that's Germany...) website has been blacklisted by Google, and removed from the uber-search engine's listings.

I've spent a good few minutes now trying to imagine why - as one of the world's most recognised automobile brands - you'd feel the need to do so, but those crazy Bavarians apparently concluded their site wasn't quite prominent enough and so engaged in something you might loosely want to describe as a hack. If you're one of those less generous types of people.

The trick is to create a webpage filled with car search keywords - such as 'neuwagen' (yes, that's right: 'new car'), one of BMW's pick. The preponderance of these cons the search engine into listing the site high-up in its rankings so it appears near the beginning of any internet search containing them. But that isn't the bad part; if it was this page that actually appeared to the "consummer" there wouldn't be a problem.

What bmw.de did, however, was write a Java command into the script that makes up this keyword page - known as a 'doorway' - that automatically redirects the viewer's internet browser to an entirely different page. Google regards this practice as a form of spam, and it's a violation of their guidelines concerning misleading users.

BMW has admitted the use of 'doorways', but refuses to accept this is a form of mis-information. But they're going to stay shut out of Google until they fix their sleight-of-electronics ways.

According to the blog that broke the news, ricoh.de are also likely to face the same action. You might think that a blog is nothing to take seriously, but this blog belongs to Matt Cutts, a Google engineer who has quite a reputation for revealing the ins-and-out of the big G. You can view his site here, where you'll find a graphical example of exactly what BMW was up to.


Links:

Ramping up on international webspam @ Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Google delists bmw.de @ bit-tech.net

www.bmw.de falls foul of Google @ Auto Industry


Picture from the bit-tech article.

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