Posted February 12, 2009 5:20 pm by with 16 comments

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gjsadWe all know that Google is against using paid links to promote your site in search engine results. But apparently they didn’t exactly put that on the internal memo, because Google Japan took a major PR hit for doing just that.

Google Blogoscoped covers the background on exactly how Google Japan was paying for links:

Akky Akimoto at the Asiajin blog recently reported that Google Japan was paying bloggers to review a new Google widget. Using pay-per-post service CyberBuzz, blog posts like the following popped up, strangely resembling each other, as Asiajin reports

Naturally, this news is a bit of a shock to people in the US after the similar stateside PayPerPost service received some pretty harsh treatment from Google (see Matt Cutts’s take from Dec 2007).

Okay, so that looks pretty bad for Google and Google Japan. So what’s a search overlord to do when a regionalized site violates its guidelines? Make GJ apologize and sit in the corner?

Score one for the rule of law today, folks—Google did the same thing to its own site that it did to other sites. As Search Engine Land confirms from Matt Cutts’s Twitter stream, Google Japan dropped from the 9 range in PageRank to the 5 range. (They actually did apologize (translation), too, but anyway.)

Naturally, it’s possible that another 9-range PR site would be penalized more heavily for violating Google’s guidelines, but I’m glad to see Google taking some action against GJ here.

What do you think? (But let’s not have this devolve into a paid links debate, mmkay?)