Patrick Byrne Gettin' All Searchskanky on the Internet? Who Woulda Thunk That?
Google slaps Overstock back for slimy-looking SEO tactics.
The incident, according to Overstock, stemmed in part from its practice of encouraging websites of colleges and universities to post links to Overstock pages so that students and faculty could receive discounts on the shopping site. Overstock said it discontinued the program on Feb. 10, before hearing from Google, but said some university webmasters have been slow to remove the links.
Overstock said that it has dropped in Google's search results. Above, an Overstock warehouse in Salt Lake City. Internet search experts say that sites associated with educational institutions, which come with ".edu" in their Web addresses, are often considered by Google's search algorithm to be more authoritative than commercial sites. Experts say educational sites rarely link to commercial sites, so a shopping site can surge in Google rankings if an .edu page links to it.
Not such a stretch for a company run by a guy who has, in the past, employed Internet cyberstalkers and sock-puppeters who harrassed, threatened, and smeared critics of Overstock and Byrne (myself included).