Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dirty blogging tricks

Earlier this week, I received an unsolicited email from someone promoting infographics. The offer was that I would be paid each time I posted an infographic the company would provide to me, as many as three times a week. The company even kindly directed me to three popular sites you've probably heard of that had already posted similar infographics. When I looked, I noticed that the infographics actually linked to a site that had nothing at all to do with the infographic. It seemed really sleazy, and I didn't respond.

Today I noticed one such infographic at a major site I visit daily. Here's the top of the graphic - - 19 things you didn't know about star wars. Sounds kind of interesting, at least if you're the type of person who likes lists:

But check out the bottom of the graphic:

That's right, the infographic is really an ad for a website that has to do with online learning. The image itself was linked to the online learning website, so if you clicked on it, you were taken to the site.

A Google search indicates that quite a few sites have posted the graphic. At least at the site where I saw the graphic, there was no mention of it being a paid ad.

So, posting the infographic 1. quite possibly violates Google's rules and is analogous to a text ad link; 2. misleads readers by not mentioning that it's an ad; and 3. tricks readers into visiting a site they're probably not remotely interested in.

UPDATE: I'm intentionally not naming any sites. Please don't name any in the comments. It's pretty easy to figure out who has done it.