Would Google Penalize A Google Ventures Investment?

Jul 22, 2013 • 8:40 am | comments (18) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

RetailMeNotJoe Hall on Threadwatch highlights a post by Jacob King on how Google Ventures, Google's investment arm, has a big investment in one of the largest coupon sites on the internet - a site that gets the majority of their traffic from Google organic search.

There is no doubt that the site, RetailMeNot ranks for virtually every coupon query to plug into Google. You can't deny that.

Jacob showed how Google Ventures is one of the companies behind the investment of the site.

So as an SEO, you wonder, a coupon site like that, how does it rank so well. Joe Hall posted the question SEOs are asking:

Does Google favor sites they fund through Google Ventures?

Google has indeed penalized their own sites, time and time again.

Personally, I think a site like RetailMeNot is just as likely to be manually penalized or algorithmically slapped as any other site on the internet. Despite Google Ventures having a stake.

That is my opinion and I am sure the comments will chew me up on it.

The RetailMeNot investment risk section does clearly admit so:

We depend on search engines for traffic. Changes to search engine algorithms or practices could adversely affect our ability to generate unpaid traffic, leading to lower revenues and/or increased traffic acquisition costs.

Forum discussion at Threadwatch.

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Praveen Sharma

07/22/2013 12:54 pm

"I am sure the comments will chew me up on it." Everyone, please leave Barry this time. Let's eat something else. :)


07/22/2013 12:55 pm

They have dropped in ranking over the past few months in compare to what they were in the beginning of 2013.

N Patel

07/22/2013 01:52 pm

This is Amit Singhal's Google now, the most unethical. crook. ever. Even bigger than Larry Page, that almost went to jail for orchestrating some illegal drug ads http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/05/google-pharma-whitaker-sting/all/ , Google had to pay $500 Million to save him. Larry barks at Amit some quotas and that crook spits them out in Pandas and Penguins, not even a tool like Barry believes that Google is not rigged. Every aspect of Google is rigged, from Adwords (Quality Score) to display (hello deceptive ads that look like content) to ranking (hello Wikipedia on searches like "Loans" and "Auto Mechanic." Everything.


07/22/2013 05:05 pm

Homeaway has as investor Google Ventures, and appear in the first places in several countries, including Brazil. are just on the first page for all keywords ...

Josh Zehtabchi

07/22/2013 06:04 pm

You mean like promoting their YouTube channels over other video-based websites? Nawww, never.


07/22/2013 06:06 pm

Sometimes one hand doesn't know what the other is doing. So, one hand can certainly slap the other, but I'm sure that can be fixed with a few phone calls.


07/22/2013 08:25 pm

Speaking of Youtube: I hate how youtube videos mess up Google's search results. If I want to search for a video, I go to youtube. If I want to find text, I go to google. Wikipedia also takes away all the hotspots in the search results but I usually appreciate having a wikipedia link handy, even if I don't click on it. Google, stop pushing youtube videos in the search results!!!


07/22/2013 08:28 pm

only google sites deserved to get traffic from google.no free traffic for small/medium webmasters - use adwords!


07/22/2013 09:02 pm

that's exactly what's happening. To say that "Google has indeed penalized their own sites, time and time again" would make you think they treat all sites equally and that's fair. However, the difference has always been in recovery time. Google sites recover in no time, while it can take years for non-google site to recover, if ever.

Jaimie Sirovich

07/22/2013 11:42 pm

Barry, we actually brought this up in the SEO group on Facebook (we're both moderators) awhile ago. I asked "why does Retailmenot rank so well." Nobody had a good theory. Eventually someone noticed it was a Google Venture. Many were suspicious. There's really no way to know, but I do know I find Retailmenot early and often in the SERPs. I just don't know, so I can't opine. Search for anything coupon-related, though, and there they are . . .

H Blodget

07/23/2013 12:49 am

This is an investment scam, google pumps them with traffic priority until they sell their shares.


07/23/2013 03:59 am

panda/penguine white list, and wikipedia status for coupon searches


07/23/2013 04:00 am

they are not spammers, they are scammers!

Menachem Rosenbaum

07/23/2013 06:28 am

Google has Penalized sites that were acquired by Google in the past but it was only for 2 weeks just for some PR about bad links. I wish I could promote a site and get penalized just for 2 weeks...

Kamaldeep Singh SEO

07/23/2013 07:52 am

Google just penalized these site who are doing Spamming and make bad quality links :(

Stephen Moyers

07/23/2013 09:47 am

As per current scenario and Google's quality guidelines such sites definitely penalized manually like Google has done to so many other sites. But we all know that Google will never do this and the reason is obvious.. :) Cheers!


07/24/2013 04:13 am

I believe Google does penalize their own properties in the SERPs. However, an angle that nobody seems to be asking is "does Google share algorithm ranking factors information to their own?" I mean, we as SEOs can only speculate on the ranking factors. We always get a general idea of what every algorithm is about, but never very specific information. Isn't it possible that the Google search team shares specific ranking factors and algorithm information to the content managers or marketing teams of other Google ventures and products. In effect, they have the 100% Google's best practices, a great reason why they rank so well, and it allows the Google search team to keep saying "we don't discriminate, we also penalize our own" with all honesty. Just a thought.


04/12/2014 03:41 pm

Can you help me to prove that ? I face same problem here in France. The results are manually manipulate, it is obvious ! ... and illegal. GG will not be able to sustain such a behavior a long time. Things have gone too far. Please contact me frederic.peters arobase outlook dot com

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