WordPress Banned by Google for Spamming

Matt Mullenweg and the other developers of WordPress, the blog software system used by OTB and legions of others, have gotten into trouble for trying to game Google. I’m a bit late to this one, having just seen the link at Bob Cox‘ place.

WordPress Banned by Google for Spamming (Slashdot, March 31)

WordPress, an incredibly popular Open Source Blogging system was found to be spamming google by inserting hidden links to junk content on high paying Adsense keywords such as mesothelioma and debt consolidation. Following Threadwatch picking up the story an anonymous Google rep appeared in the original thread admonishing bloggers not to use sneaky tactics to rank highly for “duplicate content” such as the 100,000 hidden articles on the WordPress site. The articles have now dissapeared from Google and it remains to be seen whether Google will ban WordPress outright as they tend to do when SEO’s and web dev’s pull these kinds of stunts.

Waxy has more here and here. To make a long story short, the WordPress home page was temporarily removed from Google but it didn’t affect any of the users of their software. It appears Mullenweg has come into compliance with Google’s TOS and is back in their good graces.

In a related note, the folks at Business Barn LLC are in the business of creating link farms at prominent sites and paying inordinate sums to sites for the privilege. I was approached by them on March 10 and offered $300 a month to give them access to a subdomain on my site, info.outsidethebeltway.com. Others were approached as well, with some, including Rob Portl and Ed Morrissey, accepting. Steven Taylor and Rick Richards turned it down immediately, sensing it too good to be true. I was sufficiently skeptical and asked enough questions about it that they ultimately withdrew the offer.

Bill Rice weighs in as well.

Correction made in original as per comment one below and a re-read of Rice’s post. I apologize for any confusion.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bill Rice says:

    Thank you for drawing attention to this scam. However, for the record, Dawn’s Early Light (Bill Rice) was not a victim of the scam, nor was the site solicited by Business Barn LLC.

    Dawn’s Early Light, like your blog was trying to increase awareness to a horrible scam that targets bloggers and severly hurts their reputation on Google.

    Kind regards,

    Bill Rice
    Dawn’s Early Light Blog