During SES San Jose 2009, I heard about plans to launch a White Knight SEO campaign to fight the legion of Google Cash Scam artists. If you want some background on the effort, read Jonah Stein's post "Using SEO for Good - Introducting White Knight SEO."
As Stein explains, the group aims to protect users from spam blogs (splogs), Made for AdSense (MFA) sites, and other Google Cash Scam artists by "dominating organic search results with consumer protection information. We hope that we can place advisory content to take over the top 10 results in Google for searches related to common scams and online fraud with a particular focus on areas which are using adwords & adsense to snare victims."
The White Knight SEO campaign's first target is "Google Cash" and related terms. And it has already started generating posts.
One of the earliest that I've found is "Alert - Google Cash Scam," which was posted August 19, 2009, by David Rodnitsky of PPC Associates. Rodnitsky says, "Move over flogs, now there's something meatier! Introducing, um, fnews - fake news! I got a full-screen pop up today from the 'Los Angeles Tribunes' with the headline 'Breaking: Google is Hiring at Home Workers. Pay $373 Dollars a Day (or more).'"
On August 21, Jonathan Hochman, the founder of Hochman Consultants, joined the White Knight SEO campaign when he posted, "Google Turns Blind Eye to Scam Ads." According to Hochman, "Unless you live under a rock, you've no doubt seen those 'Google Cash business opportunity' ads from entities like Google Money Tree and Google Treasure Chest. They seem to be everywhere."
And earlier today, Stein re-doubled his efforts by posting "Google's Cash Cow - Scam Advertising & Profits." Stein writes, "By now, you have gotten at least one email inviting you to make easy money by placing links on Google. These scams go by names like 'The Google Cash System' or 'Easy Google Cash'. The bottom line is pretty simple, these offers are scams and they are designed to take advantage of the most vulnerable people in our society, the unemployed, the opportunity seekers and the naive."
It's still early days, but it will be worth watching the White Knight SEO campaign against the Google Cash Scam artists. If you search for "Google cash" in Google, the #1 organic listing is the question in Google's Web Search Help, "Is Google Cash a legitimate service?"
But the eye goes to the #4 organic listing, which is a YouTube video entitled "Google Cash Scam." You can also watch the 4-minute, 12-second video by Sean Kells of the ReviewAroo.com blog below.
Who knows, maybe there are already enough warning signs around for even the most naive searcher. On the other hand, it never hurts to ensure that the warnings are even more explicit. Stay tuned. This story has legs.