Why WidgetBucks Got Banned From Google

Shoemoney was the first to report that WidgetBucks was slapped with a Google penalty and speculated that it happened because of the WidgetBuck TOS requiring users to link to them. The Google slap hit pretty hard. WidgetBucks doesn’t even show up when you search for WidgetBucks or widgetbucks.com. Well, it does show up as a Sponsored Link. Maybe this is Google’s new evil scheme – remove sites from their searches so they have to purchase Adwords in order to rank.

BlogStorm is claiming the WidgetBucks ban has nothing to do with linking requirements. They think the ban was caused by dupe content.

Luckily Yahoo gives us the answer right away, all the links to Widget Bucks have the users referrer id in them so there are thousands and thousands of pages with exactly the same content being indexed.

All Widget Bucks needs to do is set a cookie when somebody clicks on a referrer link and then 301 redirect the user to the main widgetbucks.com homepage and they will be back in Google within a few weeks.

I’m sure WidgetBuck would love the solution to be that simple but it looks like Got Chance figured out the real reason WidgetBucks got bitch slapped: hidden text links.

widget11.png

After looking at it, i understood that it is the Flash animation that rolls over this text-link and hides/covers it. The Flash is generated using the Javascript code. So, I used my Web Developer toolbar to disable javascript. Then, i viewed my site (that used WidgetBucks). As expected, I found the Text Link alone.

Hiding a link behind a flash animation would surely piss Google off and get you nuked. The question now is, will Google get mad at publishers who are running WidgetBucks? Got Chance is taking no chance. He has dumped WidgetBucks and is running TTZ Media ads instead. Good choice. πŸ˜‰


60 thoughts on “Why WidgetBucks Got Banned From Google”

  1. Eureka Diary says:

    Ouch… seems kind of harsh. Oh well I don’t use WB anyway.

    1. On 22nd October I already discussed the WidgetBucks hidden links and I was already expecting a ban from them. Than on 24th I also made a comment on PageRank ouch! but I did not reported that they got banned because it was so obvious.

      I had also sent an email to one of the staff of WidgetBucks on 23rd October but he never responded to me.

      I was more worried if webmasters that use WidgetBucks would get penalized, but in a short email exchange with Aaron Wall he explained that since WidgetBucks implements those hidden links they are most likely to get banned and not the webmasters that use their widgets. And so it happened.

    2. Ups seems like my post was moderated for having 2 links within the content. Could you John please check the comment and if you think it deserves to remain in moderation than remove it, or just remove one of the links and than publish it.

      Danke.

  2. TTZ Media ads is rocking for me on another site too. WidgetBucks load so dang slow!

  3. I guess I should have posted about the noscript thing on my own Blog instead of commenting on others!

  4. simon says:

    I don’t like WidgetBuck 😈
    Why they call it a widget?? That just a flash ad 😑

  5. Keith Dsouza says:

    These pricks should be banned, what the hell do they think they are doing with having hidden links

  6. I don’t think the hidden links are the reason. Thousands of widgets use links in things like noscript tags and noframe tags to get search engine benefit, its been going on for years.

    1. John Chow says:

      Google’s stance of hidden text is clearly written:

      “If your site is perceived to contain hidden text and links that are deceptive in intent, your site may be removed from the Google index, and will not appear in search results pages. When evaluating your site to see if it includes hidden text or links, look for anything that’s not easily viewable by visitors of your site. Are any text or links there solely for search engines rather than visitors?”

      1. The key issue here is that the hidden links are NOT on Widget Bucks site. If they had hidden links on their pages then of course they should get banned.

        In this case the hidden links were being voluntarily added by other websites on other websites so I don’t see how Google can give them a penalty.

        1. Shrihari.S says:

          As you can see from Widget Buck’s TOS, the publishers are forced to add the Text Link. It is not voluntary. Many publishers are unaware of the Hidden link. So, it is really Widget Bucks that should be banned.

  7. Jonathan says:

    John,

    You missed another reason why widget bucks probably got banned from google: Offensive Adds against Adsense.
    http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=518889 😈
    Actually, I saw a couple just before they disappeared from google.

  8. Jonathan says:

    My bad,

    The one who was publishing those ads is someone evil just like you John.
    http://www.jimkarter.com/2007-10-22-widget-bucks-referral-campaign.html

  9. Maxx says:

    John,thanks your information. πŸ™‚
    It’s useful for newbie like me.

  10. Domtan says:

    Another one bites the dust. The Google saga continues.

    1. yup, one way or another, there’s will always be a new way to crack the code…

  11. Shawn Farner says:

    A really sleazy move on the part of WidgetBucks. They not only broke the rules but might even be endangering the publishers associated with them. I think bloggers should stop advertising this shady company.

  12. Kenny says:

    If only they would fix all the shortcomings of the system, there is huge potential. Even with the slower loading ads, widgetbucks brings in more revenue than AuctionAds does for me. I have not tried TTZMedia ads yet, but I think I’ll give them a try next month if I can get accepted.

  13. Bujes says:

    Google is angry, because Widgetbucks.com steals ad space from Adsense.

  14. Bryan Phelps says:

    I’ve had great success with widgetbucks so until I get penalized for running their ads, I love ’em. 😎

  15. Indeed, for weeks, I was never able to get to widgetbucks.com by simply typing widgetsbuck in Google search . They were clever enough to start a blogspot.com blog which shows up high enough in the results for both widgetbucks and widgetbucks.com .

  16. Mike says:

    Just another reason to hate google

  17. I still promote WidgetBucks, but I don’t use it myself. πŸ˜›

  18. Hidden links are a definite no-no. I’m not sure what to say about WidgetBucks, but when payday comes around conclusions will be drawn.

  19. Sutocu says:

    They changed it already. Fast reaction, don’t you think?

  20. Yep they definitely changed it to plain text. But you can see in John’s picture that it was a link.

  21. KingJacob says:

    If you really think google would nock you for using widgetbucks you’re probally wrong but just in case why dont you just set it up to display ttzmedia banners to all people without flash. that way you dont waste space, dont have hidden links and get the higher paying clicks from WB

  22. warzone says:

    Damnit. I was thinking widgetbucks would be the new zing thing because of its very high CPC rates and the fact that they awarded everyone with 25USD on joining them and stuff. I dont know what to do anymore.

    1. KingJacob says:

      The ad network is still working great, they just dont rank in google which has nothing to do with your earnings.

      1. Yep, quite rightly they got hit for this and not their customers. The only problem with using their widgets is slow loading.

  23. Armen says:

    Why are some people blaming Google for this? WB tried to cheat the basic system which is there, not for Google’s sake, but for our sake. If people could get away with hidden links, then you’d find it hard to compete in the search engines.

  24. Etienne Teo says:

    i am just testing it out, at least the first payment should come before i switch to TTZ MEDIA…i guess it is a much better and friendly program.

  25. They were totally asking to get banned for those hidden links in my opinion. They sent notices to publishers a little while ago to update ‘old’ widgets with a ‘new faster’ widget code (one which removes the hidden link). They wont admit their shadiness.

  26. Justin says:

    Oh well. I don’t use widget bucks anyways.

  27. GettyCash says:

    I remember it was a link but today i got email from them to replace my old widget with new code so I noticed it changed to plain text.

  28. danielctw says:

    Hmm.. The new code from WidgetBucks has changed if I am not mistaken. Though in their widget, you can actually search for the a href link and clear it if you want. But I am not sure WidgetBucks would like it though

  29. uttoransen says:

    my spellings are poor, so i could never reach to widjet bucks! J=G!
    so i tried yahoo to search and reach it!
    If google penalize big sites, then they will lose there search pretty soon!

  30. Andy Beard says:

    Sigh…

    That dodgy link (which I spotted on the day they launched and wrote about) isn’t the reason they don’t rank.

    Even them not ranking is an old story, and the real reason was written about ages ago.
    http://sphinn.com/story/10494
    Read my comments there about the dodgy redirects

  31. lyricsreg says:

    haha … we should start buying Adwords ! πŸ™‚

  32. wow man google is giving really hard slaps these days πŸ™‚

  33. The big G is underestimating the inventiveness of the blogging community. None of their devious moves will make any difference.

  34. Dandruff says:

    I feel really SAD for the sites who are getting such badly slapped by google. πŸ™

  35. Lucas says:

    Hi,
    I have a site with affiliate links that generates a lot of pages that are
    mydomain.com/index.php?id=1
    mydomain.com/index.php?id=2
    etc…

    how do I create that cookie that you explain in

    “All Widget Bucks needs to do is set a cookie when somebody clicks on a referrer link and then 301 redirect the user to the main widgetbucks.com homepage and they will be back in Google within a few weeks.”

    Yours,
    Lucas

  36. Jim Karter says:

    Widget bucks says (on their blog) that this is rumor spread by some “people” (you know who), who have some vested interests in it who says they are banned. :mrgreen:

  37. sylv3rblade says:

    err.. If WB was banned. Why is it showing up on SERP now?
    There were penalized for the backlink and the missing SERP result was out of idiocy.

  38. I think they got reincluded!

  39. Nick says:

    At least it appears Google is being reasonable enough to see that the issue is with WidgetBucks and not the sites running the widget.

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