Google Is Looking Into Rap Genius Linking Scheme Masked As Affiliate Program

rapgenius-logoYesterday, John Marbach exposed the popular music side, Rap Genuis, for starting an “affiliate” program in order to get unnatural links pointing to their web site. After it was exposed, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, said, “we’re aware and looking into it.”

Here is the Facebook post, which is still live, on their Facebook page:

rapgenius-affiliate-facebook-post

When John Marbach emailed them, they asked that he link to their site with keyword rich anchor text. In exchange for the links, Rap Genius will tweet out a link to their post and that will result in him getting “massive traffic.” Here is a copy of the email shared by John:

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Now this is not all that uncommon and no one should be surprised that a site, even a popular site, is doing this. It is a shame to see, especially after all Google has done to publicly shame sites using manipulative link building techniques. Will Google take action? We don’t know, they have not responded to our inquires for more details. But trust me, you do not want to be the site called out for doing this, forcing Google to take a close look at your site and all you have done over the years.

Postscript: Rap Genius responded saying they messed up:

We effed up, other lyrics sites are almost definitely doing worse stuff, and we’ll stop. We’d love for Google to take a closer look at the whole lyrics search landscape and see whether it can make changes that would improve lyric search results.

They then went on to defend themselves and why they thought it was not a linking scheme.

Here are some stories of Google going after manipulative link schemes:

Postscript: Rap Genius has now published an apology, saying that in some cases, Google might consider the links it is trying to create to be “unnatural” but also saying that Google should also take a closer look at the practices of other lyrics sites.