Some recent housecleaning at Google News has resulted in the removal of some controversial foreign news sources that appeared to be gaming the Google News algorithm to drive traffic to their AdSense-heavy site.
One Romanian site, Playfuls.com, had been highly prominent in Google News search results, to the point where as many as ten stories from the publication made the front page, as illustrated by WebProNews in March.
As pointed out by news aggregator Texyt, Playfuls has been recently been removed from the Google News index.
A Google spokesperson confirmed the move, saying “To ensure a high quality service for our end users, we periodically review our index of news sources, particularly following user complaints, and have recently removed some sources that do not meet our criteria as news organizations, including Playfuls.com.”
The spokesperson declined to discuss Playfuls’ situation specifically, but offered the guiding principles it uses when considering a site for inclusion, and thus for removal:
- The source offers information that is updated regularly
- It is managed by an organization (not an individual) and includes organizational information on its site
- The source does not include hate speech or pornography
- The source does not allow open posting of content without editorial review
- The source’s website is technically conducive to inclusion