Google News Played by Foreign Sources?

    March 1, 2007

Take a look at Google News U.S. and how many obscure foreign news sources are linked to. Of course nothing is wrong with this until you realize that the stories these sources are writing about are U.S. based. Looking deeper it’s obvious that some of  the news sites appear to be only writing about these stories in order to get traffic from Google News U.S..

Google News Played by Foreign Sources?
Google News Played by Foreign Sources?
Google News

Google News has made a point of linking to authorative sources which is why many blogs aren’t included in the news engine. Google’s algorithm doesn’t seem to apply this formula to its foreign based sites. At the time of this writing there are at least 10 U.S. based stories on their front page of Google News U.S. linking to non U.S. news sources. Possibly more concerning is the quality of the sites being linked to.

For instance…

— The site Playfuls which is based in Cyprus seems to have 5-10 stories Google+Search&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_nsrc=playfuls+com&as_nloc=&as_occt=any&as_drrb=q&as_qdr=&as_mind=29&as_minm=1&as_maxd=28&as_maxm=2″ title=”Playfuls gaming Google News?”>linked to on the front page of Google News at all times. They currently are linked as the top story in the entertainment section covering Paris Hilton driving on a suspended license. Amazingly, Playfuls has nearly Google+Search&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_nsrc=playfuls+com&as_nloc=&as_occt=any&as_drrb=q&as_qdr=&as_mind=29&as_minm=1&as_maxd=28&as_maxm=2″ title=”Google News listings”>8,000 listings in Google News, more than even the New York Times.

Google news: images

— News site SpiritIndia is linked to as the top source for an article called, "Low fat dairy foods may increase infertility risk". This was based on a study by Harvard University.

Google News: Spirit India images

Interestingly, both of these news sources have a high concentration of Google Adwords on them. SpiritIndia goes as far as hiding the bulk of text in their articles in order to display ads at the top and bottom of stories without the content interfering. Both sites are clearly going after Google News traffic juice to fuel Google Adwords clicks.

google News gamed by AdWords sites? Google News Playfuls on Google News on Google News
Google News played by Playfuls?

Aren’t there any news sites on the scene of these stories. For instance, should be the top link covering the latest Paris Hilton or Britney Spears story … not Aljazeera, Xinhua, or Playfuls.

Don’t forget this is Google … people assume the top links on story groups to be the most relevant link to an article.

I know Google wants to appeal to a worldwide user base but constantly linking to obscure foreign sites rewriting U.S. based stories in order to promote their Google Adwords is probably not a great idea.

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