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.
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.
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. 😉