Google Cash Scams – SEOs to the Rescue

    September 3, 2009
    Chris Crum

There is a scam going on inside of Google search results called Google Cash, aka: Google Money Tree, aka: Google Treasure Chest. This is where alleged scammers misrepresent themselves as being affiliated with Google, and advertise a low-cast kit, which would enable people to make money.

Now SEO professionals are teaming up to try and influence natural search results that would ordinarily bring up links to these scammers, to instead include articles warning of its existence. This is being referred to as "White Knight SEO." (HT: Matt McGee)

Google knows about the scammers, and has even posted warnings about them to their company blog, but some wonder why they they are still letting advertisers target keywords like "Google Cash." These ads may not be scams, but it certainly creates some confusion.

Google Cash Ads

"I am more than a little surprised by those defending Googles (lack) of action here. How hard would it be for Google to prevent ads from showing on the keyword ‘Google Money Tree’ or ‘Google Cash?’" asks Jonah Stein, (who coined the term "White Knight SEO") in a comment at Search Engine Land. He has written about the topic in Google’s Cash Cow – Scam Advertising & Profits, as have David Rodnitzky in Alert – Google Cash Scam and Johnathan Hochman in Google Turns Blind Eye to Scam Ads.

It looks like the "White Knights" have prevailed though, because the organic results all appear to be in reference to Google Cash as a scam. As McGee points out, usually Google doesn’t like these organized efforts to influence results, but perhaps considering the cause, they will let this one slide.