There's a loophole in Googles search indexing that allows a publisher, who is approved and indexed by Google News, to have even their paid for advertorial content indexed as if it were news. In the example image we searched on "Lean cuisine" and found this paid for advertorial from Lean Cuisine at Mashable. If the Ad Detector plugin can see that it's paid for content, why can't Google News?
The loophole was initially discovered by aimClear founder Marty Weintraub, who calls it "perhaps the greatest ranking algorithm gap in years" as it allows marketers to "literally buy their way into Google search results with paid content".
The new FTC guidelines puts the weight of disclosure on the advertisers, not on the search engine; "Yet another setting in which consumers may come upon native ads is in non-paid search engine results. Advertisers should take steps to ensure that any non-paid search listings for a native ad do not suggest or imply to consumers that it is something other than an ad."
While Google news is picky about which publishers are allowed in that search, specifically saying:
Google News is not a marketing service. We don't want to send users to sites created primarily for promoting a product or organization, or to sites that engage in commerce journalism. If your site mixes news content with other types of content, especially paid advertorials or promotional content, we strongly recommend that you separate non-news types of content. Otherwise, if we find non-news content mixed with news content, we may exclude your entire publication from Google News.
they seem a lot less picky at enforcing this rule. But now that Marty Weintraub has pointed it out, they may take action. After all, we search Google news for news, not for paid search results and advertorials.
"It’s hard to believe that Google will continue allowing advertisers to pump paid content into Google’s vaunted organic Web Search SERPs. One can argue allowing advertisers to game Google’s organic search algorithm with paid content distorts organic results. At best, allowing paid SEO tilts the playing field, making it even harder for smaller, perhaps more relevant players to compete for free Web Search results."
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