When your social media campaign attracts the attention of Google's chief spam fighter Matt Cutts, it usually isn't a good sign.
Entrepreneur and founder of TechCrunch Michael Arrington, writing on Uncrunched, revealed that he received an email from the social media marketing company Social Chorus offering to compensate for posts promoting the brand-new Internet Explorer, along with a link to IE. While the campaign wanted personal experiences from bloggers, it was also required that each blogger disclose that it was a sponsored post – using a very specific wording from the company.
Cutts tweeted Gregg Hanano, the program strategist from Social Chorus whose name and email was on the landing page sent to Arrington.
@mattcutts Thank you for reaching out Matt. I just sent an email back and cc'd some more employees to better answer your questions.— Gregg Hanano (@gregghanano) June 18, 2014
The landing page, which has since been removed, asked bloggers to email Hanano the sponsored post rate, the date it could be published, and the "general topic for your post". Then Social Chorus would send a contract and the information and assets needed for the sponsored posts. The deadline for all posts was listed as July 10.
Neither Social Chorus nor Hanano has responded publicly to the sponsored posts campaign they were doing on behalf of Microsoft for the Internet Explorer team, aside from Hanano confirming in his tweet that he had emailed Hanano and CC'd members of his team.
Will Internet Explorer get penalized in the same way that Google Chrome did when they were caught with a sponsored post campaign? So far, it still ranks for [internet explorer] and is on the second page of results for [browser]. Those who remember the Google Chrome banning, it lost rankings for both its name and the keyword [browser].
Microsoft released the developer version of the next Internet Explorer this week, but there was also a major zero day flaw in Internet Explorer that caused many of those who still used Internet Explorer to switch to Google Chrome or Firefox.
Google Chrome still has the number one browser, with Internet Explorer steadily declining while Google Chrome continues to grow at a rapid pace, according to W3 Counter.
Microsoft has released a statement stating that the program has been suspended: "This action by a vendor is not representative of the way Microsoft works with bloggers or other members of the media. The program has been suspended."