D Day for Gaming Affiliates? Big Media Sites Could Also Get Hit

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
May/05/2024

Google on Sunday unleashed its latest update, and some believe it will be the most devastating ever.

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The search giant actually provided two months warning and, as of Saturday at least, it didn't appear that some of the likely offenders received the memo.

The focus of their latest update seems to be on site reputation abuse and expired domain abuse.  To be clear, the impact will be across a vast number of industries, not just the gaming sector.

To get some sense of what is going on, simply type a big name gaming brand into Google News, then select "most recent".  This past week we had plenty of news related to DraftKings, including how a former executive got into hot water for passing along propriety info to a competitor.

Unfortunately if you are seeking out information about one of the industry's largest sports betting companies, "DraftKings", you'll instead be inundated with results about bonus codes.  Some of these results are appearing on otherwise respected news outlets like Newsweek and the New York Post.

Google cites "site reputation abuse" as something they are going after full force.

"Sometimes, websites that have their own great content may also host low-quality content provided by third parties with the goal of capitalizing on the hosting site's strong reputation. For example, a third party might publish payday loan reviews on a trusted educational website to gain ranking benefits from the site. Such content ranking highly on Search can confuse or mislead visitors who may have vastly different expectations for the content on a given website.

"We’ll now consider very low-value, third-party content produced primarily for ranking purposes and without close oversight of a website owner to be spam."

Expired domain abuse is described by Google as "expired domains purchased and repurposed with the primary intention of boosting search ranking of low-quality or unoriginal content".

Google goes on to explain "this can mislead users into thinking the new content is part of the older site, which may not be the case. Expired domains that are purchased and repurposed with the intention of boosting the search ranking of low-quality content are now considered spam.

"Search helps people with billions of questions every day, but there will always be areas where we can improve. We’ll continue to work hard at keeping low-quality content on Search to low levels, and showing more information created to help people."

It's not just expiring domains.  Recently, the long established internet sports and pop culture site Deadspin was purchased by a company called LineUp Publishing.  The new buyers fired all the staff with some internet sleuths believing their intent is to turn the site into a gambling referral site. Gambling911.com cannot independently confirm this to be the case.  Little is known in regard to the new company however.  The site mostly features Field Level Media recaps at the moment with little in the way of affiliate-generated content, at least none that we can see.  

Income Stream Surfers, which seeks to uncover new strategies every day for marketing businesses online with an organic-first approach, released a 'must watch" video over the weekend pertaining to this latest update.  While they do mention the Deadspin acquisition, ISS focuses heavily on more mainstream media outlets such as Forbes and The Guardian.  They claim both sites are full of affiliate generated content well outside their wheelhouse. 

For example, Forbes searches now rank high for all types of puppy care queries, hardly something we tend to associate with the long-standing and reputable financial publisher.  Much of the content appears to be tied to pet insurance affiliates. 

Tedium.co discusses the Deadspin deal while alluding to another big name publisher that's pretty much been gutted and maybe becoming more of a gambling affiliate site.

Internet Stream Surfers does question whether Forbes will actually get penalized with this latest update. They conclude that much of what Forbes is publishing may fall outside of the spam parameters, even if puppy care is something more appropriate for Modern Dog than an American business publication.

Nevertheless, ISS fully anticipates a bloodbath with a number of otherwise innocent bystanders getting hit in the crossfire.

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