Joe 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.