Google Storm: The MyBlogGuest Saga With A Twist!

MyBlogGuest Google

MyBlogGuest Google

I’ve been following this story today. If I understand it correctly, a guy called “Doc Sheldon” got a notification on 20th March 2014 of a manual, site-wide penalty from Google.

The action against Doc’s site seems to stem from the relationship he’d had with MyBlogGuest which recently ran foul of Google’s interpretation of its webmaster guidance.

Back in January, Matt Cutts wrote a blog post saying that guest blogging was “done” because it had become too spammy. Ann Smarty, who created MyBlogGuest, wrote a post in reply stating that MyBlogGuest would continue to require bloggers who used its content to use dofollow links.

MyBlogGuest is NOT going to allow nofollow links or paid guest blogging (even though Matt Cutts seems to be forcing us to for whatever reason).

Jump forward from January to 19th March and Google slapped MyBlogGuest with a penalty. Although the blog network wasn’t named by Matt Cutts, Ann Smarty confirmed the penalty.

Initially, MyBlogGuest said they wouldn’t budge and would not therefore be allowing publishers to add nofollow to guest posts at the blogs. Although, after the penalty, they’ve said they’ll give publishers the flexibility to “nofollow byline links“.

The interesting twist to the saga is that Doc Sheldon’s manual penalty seems to have resulted from him mentioning on his site that he was a moderator for MyBlogGuest in 2011. You can read Doc’s March 22nd open letter to Matt Cutts and everyone at Google here. On 24th March Matt Cutts replied to the open letter stating that some guest post content on Doc’s blog was the reason for the penalty. A whole lot of discussion ensued, including here.

It looks like Google gave Doc’s site a manual, site-wide penalty because it linked to MyBlogGuest but decided to give as their reason one of just five guest posts on Doc’s site… from a total of 111 posts since 2011.

So what’s the message we need to understand from this storm? Well, if you want to play by Google’s Guidelines, you have to be scrupulous about which sites you link to. As a webmaster, you are responsible for everything on your site, from content to links to organisational structure and load times. If something is “wrong” on your site, you run the possibility of a penalty, especially if there’s also something “wrong” with your backlink profile. Note, the definition of “wrong” is down to Google, and seems to change over time, so be ultra-careful.

What do you think? Please comment below.


About Neil_Shearing

I've been an Internet Marketer since creating and selling my first ebook in 1997. As a former scientist I like to test money-making ideas, then simplify and share them. Apart from this blog, I can also be found on many social media sites. Click here for a list.
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22 Responses to Google Storm: The MyBlogGuest Saga With A Twist!

  1. TomH says:

    Do I remember correctly? Google’s tagline “Do No Evil” Yeah…….right!!!

    Not just referring to current situation in OP, but many Google actions in the last, uh five years.

  2. Reuben says:

    The writing was on the wall a long time ago. I too have been following the trends concerning guest blogging since Chris Crum of wrote about it on January 20, 2014.

    We all know that once Matt Cutts says something it is an indication to what the Google spam team will go after next. In a way, it is a good thing to clean the web of junk but then we have to realize that there are millions of people with genuine intentions, those who play by Google’s rules but must they be punished for the sins of others? Looks as if “nofollow” will be the order of the day.

    I frequent Matt Cutts blog these days and noticed that he linked to some sites and “FORGOT” to include “nofollow” tag which he himself has been advocating all along. He linked with keywords etc.

    • Hi Reuben,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I understand that when Matt Cutts says a link building technique is on the way out, people should be much more wary of using it. I also know that Google has never actually condoned any link building, so they can say they haven’t moved the goal posts. I just find it disingenuous that Google can decide to heavily penalise link building techniques that it ignored in the past. Perhaps giving notification and then penalising any future links built using the technique would be more reasonable…


  3. MikeR says:

    Do I really have to serve what the zionist banksters’ online server sez,
    or am I aloud to talk to my readers in the language they tell me
    they want to hear?

    Don’t answer that …. :-)


  4. John says:

    It has become painfully clear that Google wants GoogleDom (as in Google Domination)… they no longer want a free internet with free expression, but rather, a monopoly Google controls and directly profits from — sadly, they feel they must control every distant corner of the internet realm in order to secure their corporate interests. In any other industry, this would be unfair trade practices so why is Google being allowed to carry on? They should be disbanded like AT&T was in the 1980’s. Search, pay-per-click, apps, mobile communications, email, video, video advertising, and the list goes on & on & on == too much power one company’s hands. I’d love to see the restoration of a fair marketplace, and more important, a free internet. And if we can’t see government intervention on the behalf of consumers’ best interests, then surely there must be a grass roots way to make Google “irrelevant” in our lives. A rich irony that would be, indeed!

    • Hi John,

      Thanks for your comment. I remember the same argument way back around 1995-2000 about Microsoft being all-dominant and needing to be broken up. It certainly would be nice to see some real competition to Google at the present time. Sadly their main competitor, lying in a distant second place, is Microsoft!


      • John says:

        Cheers Neil… I’d forgotten about Microsoft having the same criticism… and I reckon IBM in their day when Microsoft knocked them off the PC-DOS pedestal with Windows… ;) It’s partly the nature of markets and market leaders, but I do agree that competition is a healthy thing to happen to any market — at least from the consumer’s perspective.

  5. Hello Neil,

    My name is Daniel Voyles and I’ve been on your email list for quit some time and I enjoy all the terrific information you and your wife put out onto the internet.

    Like so many internet marketers I have the Google slap and had my online business basically destroyed by Google.

    Neil, I have a question for you about your:

    “About Neil_Shearing”

    I’ve been an Internet Marketer since creating and selling my first ebook in 1997. As a former scientist I like to test money-making ideas, then simplify and share them. Apart from this blog, I can also be found on many social media sites. Click here for a list.

    Are you really serious about this statement “As a former scientist I like to test money-making ideas, then simplify and share them.”? Are you willing to put that statement to the test for me? If so please read on.

    Here is an opportunity for both the average individual person and for the business person. This should not take you very long because of your back ground.

    Once you have done your home work please get back to me and let me know what your findings are.

    This is very important to me and could be very important to not only you and your wife but to many other people also.

    Please copy and paste these links and check out the information from each link. It won’t take you that long.

    1. [snip]
    2. [snip]
    3. [snip]
    4. [snip]
    5. [snip]
    6. [snip]

    I will be waiting to hearing from you.

    Thank you Neil,

    Daniel Voyles

    • I appreciate your kind words about the information Linda and I provide, Daniel.

      I checked out the sites you mentioned, but they all seem to relate to different aspects of the same “cashback program”. Similar programs have been tried multiple times in the past and not gained enough traction to succeed, so my question would be, “what’s better about this one”? More important, to me, is that it’s a USA/Canada offer, so I couldn’t take part even if I wanted to. As I can’t do an in-depth investigation or recommendation, I snipped the links.


  6. Dee says:

    It’s time to stop relying on Google for free traffic – in the same way you list your site on DMOZ, but never look back to see if it’s been approved. Produce content, use social media, pay for traffic; if you get high organic Google rankings, consider it a bonus.

  7. Mary says:

    Thanks for your post, Neil!

    Well, its Google’s search engine and they can do exactly what they want with it.

    I think it’s just crazy to rely on the search engines alone for traffic. The smart folks have diversified away from Google a long time ago.

    If you want to control your online destiny – learn the fine art of paying for traffic and turning a profit! Its not really all that hard, you know.


    • Hi Mary,

      I agree that it’s Google’s search engine. However, they seem to be sliding down the slippery slope of telling webmasters and bloggers what they should and shouldn’t write about and link to, at least as far as using “dofollow” links is concerned.

      I completely agree with you that paying is a valid way to get clicks. However, I’m a bit more old-school and like to find ways to get free traffic. :)


  8. Tom Jay says:

    What about starting to use and promote BING? Remember Google used not to be the top dog in the past. I’m sure other search engines will not complain if they get extra traffic.

    • Hi Tom,

      Yes, I too remember the days before Google. :) Sadly, Google’s dominance is pretty much universal. I read that in the USA, Bing has a foothold, but in the UK, Google’s market share fell recently… to 90%! :)


  9. Kevin Polley says:

    Thanks for the heads up Neil, I just read the numerous threads you’ve linked to with interest and see that the penalty on Doc’s site has been lifted, so that’s good news!

    Was a sitewide manual penalty overkill for one bad link on one page? IMO Yes.
    Is there now a rumble about moving away from Google to other sites? Yes
    Are people actively turning away Google Bot? Yes but not many .. yet
    Are ‘we’ (marketers) to blame for the position we put ourselves in with Google dependency? Yes

    Over the years you and I (and others) have been working with the web we have seen how many products promoting Google and how to get cash out of Google?

    IMers made good money ‘teaching’ folk about Adsense, ranking on Google etc … and while it may not be a popular perspective ‘we’ have made a rod for our own backs. Even now IMers don’t talk about Bing or Yandex or DuckDuckGo or any of the other specialist search companies.

    Google want to be #1 and while ‘we’ panda (no pun intended) to them and put ‘them’ on a pedestal as the ‘only’ viable search company that won’t change. The reality is that Google don’t care about ‘us’, they care about their profits and their domination.

    Every dog has it’s day and maybe(?) this little bite at the hand that feeds it will eat away at that 90%.

    • I can’t argue with any of that, Kevin. :)

      It is truely remarkable how far Google has come, as the world’s biggest content scraper. It will be very interesting to see what happens next. :)


  10. Kris says:

    I pray for the day when some startup SE gives Google some real competition. It’s easy to say “don’t rely on Google” or “pay for traffic” but not all websites can afford to pay, especially in competitive markets.

    I guess I get some satisfaction when I see manual penalties (and my “money” site got one recently so I know how it feels) because it means their precious algorithm must have failed.

    Screw Google, go Bing!

    • While I can understand your sentiments, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out that “manual review” is a legacy phrase and it’s all automated nowadays!


  11. Bonnie Gean says:

    While Google may have the main foothold online, there are certainly other means of getting traffic to a website that do not rely on whatever “mood” strikes their fancy.

    I realize that some people cannot afford the “pay” methods in order to get traffic, but before I brought my business online, I did just fine finding customers offline.

    I didn’t have to pay a monetary fee to get them, but exchanged blood, sweat and tears by telephone and cold calling. Hey… whatever works!

    While Google sits there in their almighty throne casting down “rules of engagement” I know that I can easily flip them the finger and bring traffic to my website through offline methods – some free, some for a fee.

    Regardless of what Google does, I will survive. I didn’t need them before they existed in the marketplace and if push comes to shove, I can do without them in the future, too.

  12. Mitz Pantic says:

    My site got hit and I did use myblogguest a little bit.. Actually I have 4 sites hit from MYbloguest association.

    But I have to say, now that I am checking those links out, they are looking spammy to me. I am mad I did not see this earlier.. Of course there were some awesome writers using myblogguest but there was also spam..

    But I hate the way Google has done this, as it would have been more helpful to just come straight out and say what the problem is instead of playing games and leaving us wondering..

    Anyway the posts I have written on my site lately will not make Google happy at all.. They will probably never lift my ban now.

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