Tag Archives: news

Googlebot Now Crawling Google News

August 26, 2011

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Google News recently made a new update to crawl the news using Googlebot. Well, it might not be a very important update for most of the publishers and thus, news organizations who wish to opt out of Google News can do that. But I’m sure that none of them would want to do that considering the reach of Google News network.

Google Help Center has provided some guidelines on how to use robots protocol if you wish to be excluded or included. Some of the main points are listed here:

  • You will only see Googlebot user-agent in your website’s traffic logs. Google has clarified though that Googlebot instead of Googlebot-News does not matter as long as inclusion policies are concerned. So, if you opted out of Googlebot crawling your news and you see Googlebot coming in your traffic logs, don’t panic. Google respects your decision but is just trying to make the naming conventions standard. Moreover, if you still have doubts, you can check your website in Google News search bar by typing, site:abc.com.
  • If you are using any analytics tool, then you should be able to see two sets of traffic just like before, one coming from Google Search and one coming from Google News. The only difference is that the automated visits from Googlebot-news crawler will not longer be visible.
  • If your website is complying to the guidelines for Googlebot then you don’t have to make any changes to your website. Though the websites that require login or registration before displaying the full article, Google News will only be able to crawl the text that is visible prior to login.
  • The News Sitemap of websites will still be crawled in the normal way. So, the news publishers who have not setup a news sitemap, this is a good wakeup call for you guys to make one.

To summarize in simple words, any news publishers who wish to opt out of Google News and want to stay in Google Search can disallow the news bot and allow the search bot. You can check out the help article on how to do this here.

From SEO or Marketing perspectives, I’m really not sure how this update would help, but let’s see how many news websites go for the change.

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FTC Takes Action Against Fake News Websites

April 21, 2011

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The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office said that many websites that feature news report about weight-loss benefits of acai berry products aren’t genuine.  

They have claimed that these news websites are fake and that the claims about acai berry products helping people to reduce weight is not supported by science. During the last week, FTC has filed 10 lawsuits in courts across the U.S. and Illinois Attorney General has filed an additional lawsuit in her state against the affiliate marketers of acai berry products.

The affiliate marketers place billions of ads linking to these fake news websites and consumers have paid almost $10 million for acai berry products.

Some of the websites in the list are using names such as News 6 News Alerts and Health 5 Beat Health News. The fake news sites use logos of legitimate news websites to easily fool the people into believing them.

“We’re alleging that nearly everything about the defendants’ websites is false and deceptive,” said Charles Harwood, deputy director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

These fake news sites feature a news reports who always produces the same result across several websites. According to the report, the reporter always lost 25 pounds in four weeks without changing either the diet or exercise routine. Moreover, the picture of the reporter is of a real-life French reporter who did not even give the permission for her image to be used.

“We allege this is pure fabrication,” Harwood said. “There never was any sort of test conducted by any independent reporter, and the weight-loss results … are impossible to achieve. There simply is no scientific evidence that acai berries can help anyone lose weight, let alone cause rapid and substantial weight loss.”

The purported news sites also contain “user” comments about weight loss using the acai berry products, including Acai Max and Acai Optimum, the FTC said. But the sites don’t let visitors post comments, and the same user comments appeared on multiple sites “complete with the same spelling and grammatical errors,” he said.

The FTC lawsuits have asked courts to halt the websites’ allegedly deceptive practices.

So for people still looking for weight loss tips, please stay away from these fake news websites.

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