Anthony - Digital Marketing Agency

Google – A Host of Misleading Ads Court Finds

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Recently the Australian Federal Court overturned a lower court’s decision in finding that Google was not responsible for advertisers breaches of Australia’s Trade Practices Act. On appeal, the Court found Google liable in breach of trade law for hosting misleading and deceptive advertisements through the Adwords Platform. This ruling reinforces the responsibility of hosts to their advertisers content.

The ruling was based on four ads which had appeared on the Google Australia website. Advertisers had used the names of competitors as keywords to trigger their own ads appearing. The court found this was likely to mislead individuals who were searching for information regarding those competitors.

From what I gather, the direct accountability for misleading or deceptive ads hosted on the platform lies with Google. This is relevant to paid search results where Google as the ad provider had staff and technology which helped advertisers “take full advantage of the system” according to ACCC Chairman Ron Sims. The involvement of Google is found in its technology, Google’s response is misleading, though the keywords are selected by the advertiser, “what is critical to the process is the triggering of the link by Google using its algorithms” the Court said.

Pending Google’s appeal in the High Court, there appears to be a certain amount of insulation for advertisers using the Adwords platform and the open use of branded keywords. We shall see what amendments Google makes. We have not heard the end of this.

Google Plays Hardball with Paid Link Networks

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In their heightened quest to disband sites and services who try to artificially manipulate their search results, Google has signaled a devastating blow to blog/link networks, de-indexing a significant majority of site and its system of link networks.

This move comes to no surprise to some, as Google has a history of disbanding link networks. As highlighted previously on this blog an “over optimisation” penalty is being cooked up by Google tech scientists. Attaching your sites to such networks is a recipe for over optimisation but Google are increasingly effective in negating the source before even having to penalise a site. It does go to show that adopting a mass paid link strategy is far from sustainable. I believe long term site integrity is a lot more conducive to building brand equity than short term exposure, where your site could be flagged for unnatural links. The punishment? A simple warning, index penalties or being invisible (dead) to Google FOREVER.


So how do you go about building a legitimate link portfolio? Google assesses link penalties algorithmically. Things to avoid are linking to sites with little or no relevance or possessing minimal brand presence. Inversely too much exact match anchor text also yields possible penalties. It definitely is a tight rope of getting your link strategy right. You don’t want to be undertaking both activities at once, Google will come knockin’ at your door, y’all be in trouble!

Yes building links from legitimate sources can be a hard task and extremely competitive (depending on the industry) but with the right sprinkle of creativity and the strengthening of your value proposition to potential reciprocates, an effective ethical link strategy is very much possible.

Zynga Makes $200 Million App Purchase

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Reported on All Things D, Zynga has acquired Draw Something’s developer OMGPOP for a reported $210 million. The split involves $180 million to own the rights to the game and an additional $30 million for employee retention payments.

Having raised 16 million over 4 years, OMGPOP has enjoyed a meteoric rise since developing Draw Something for itunes and Android. The game app which can be characterised as “social Pictionary” has maintained its position as the top app for both platforms, already attracting 30 million downloads which was a significant factor in receiving such a handsome offer. The web didn’t do anything for them in 4 years, the App Store did it for them in 7 weeks.


The move is not an anomalous strategy by Zynga. The mobile game juggernaut has acquired 14 game companies in the space of 12 months, solidifying a market leading portfolio of games. The acquisition by Zynga gives them one of the biggest gaming hits, and one of the biggest revenue earners with reportedly $250K a day from in app purchases.

I really need to get into the app development business.

“Over Optimisation” Penalty Coming Soon to Google

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Google’s Matt Cutts has announced that a search ranking penalty is in development, targeting sites that are “over optimised” or “over SEO’d”. This has heralded an impending win for firms that undertake ethical SEO practices and stemming the effectiveness of implementing “black hat” SEO practices.

In a panel at SXSW titled “Dear Google & Bing: Help Me Rank Better!” which also comprised of Search Engine Land’s Editor in Chief and Microsoft’s Senior Product Marketing Manager of Bing it was revealed that a penalty for the over optimisation of a website had been in development the past few months. With a proposed timeline of being introduced into the search results in April or even within the next few weeks, the main purpose of the penalty was to “even the playing field”. Sites which supply great content for users and engage in “SEO friendly” practices will be rewarded, where sites which lack usability, aesthetic appeal and/or an undesirable user experience due to over SEO will be penalised, relegated or even disqualified from ranking.

In 2009 Matt did a video on over optimisation penalties, stating there were none. Check it out.


Cutts elaborated they were making the GoogleBot smarter, identifying sites which make a great site and content, where inversely, focusing on sites which take advantage of the Bot, such as irregular keyword density and anomalies in heightened link exchange. The organic Google search results have always been a source of an “even playing field” where companies are able to effectively compete online versus competitors who may have a larger offline presence and marketing budget. I believe the introduction of the over optimisation penalty will only encourage the creation of innovative and creatively designed sites, making the online experience an increasingly more pleasurable one. Lets wait and see.

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