Google Authorship Bug: Hijack And Destroy Authorship

by Michael GeorgeI’m not a big fan of Google, the company. For those of us that make a living online, Google is something that we are forced to deal with, like it or not. I’m not a fan of coerced relationships of any kind. And if Google decides you are “low quality”- guilty or innocent, it doesn’t really matter. They will harm you. Missing reviews? Not a problem for Google. Authorship gone? Not a problem for the old Goog. Someone linked to your site 10,000,000 times in an attempt to harm you? Cry me a river! Call Google’s customer service line…

If Google decides you are guilty, they could easily ruin your life. And according to Google, “they” don’t even decide. The algorithm does. A robot. Does anybody else feel disconcerted about the idea that they have satellites photographing our houses or that they are buying military robot factories? Has anyone seen Terminator besides me? Is Google actually Skynet?

(Hint: Yes. Google is Skynet.)

If I’m dead tomorrow and the cause of death is “robots,” someone please tell the police it was Google.

Major Bug in Authorship Algorithm

If you contribute content to any major website, and you have authorship attached to that content, anyone could easily hijack your authorship. If we believe Google– when they tell us that authorship, and whether or not your photo appears in the SERP’s, is based on “quality”- then someone could easily thwart your efforts to be a quality author. Even if it doesn’t harm your rankings, it could lead to a great deal of embarrassment. This bug is wide open for abuse.

It’s just this simple:

If you contribute to a website like ActiveRain or Ezine Articles, and you connect your authorship, you are wide open for a hijacking in five easy steps.

Step #1: The negative SEO finds your photo in the results and realizes that you are a “good author” in the eyes of Google.

Step #2: The negative SEO clicks on your name to find all of the content that you write, everywhere, on every website.

Step #3: The negative SEO sees a blogging platform or major website for which you write content, and gets an account at the same website.

Step #4: The authorship hijacker attaches a link from their brand new, bogus Ezine articles profile to your Google+ profile and *surprise*! You already list yourself as a contributor to Ezine on your Google+ page. That works out nice!

Step #5: He or she starts cranking out a ton of crap content and spun articles, about a wide variety of topics, from casino gambling to Viagra to ecigs. All good stuff in the eyes of Google.

Someone could do this very easily because I just did it myself. Not in an effort to harm anyone, but simply to test my theory before publishing it. It seems that this is another huge hole in the Google authorship algorithm that so many of us depend on. If we believe Google, in that quality authors will be rewarded with a photograph in the rich snippets- then it would be far too easy to destroy someone’s reputation.

Not to mention, if someone searches for my name and clicks to “read more”- I could be very embarrassed if they found a bunch of articles about unsavory things. At minimum, someone could cause me to lose clients when my clients click my name in the SERPs, just to see that I’m an expert on duck hunting, Viagra, basketball and European nude beaches. (I’m only an expert on one of those things.)

 

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Comments

  1. Hi George,

    A lot of research here…Wow. So How do we pretect ourselves posting on a major web site like Active Rain etc
    Thanks

    • ActiveRain was the first place I discovered this hole Fred. But it’s everywhere, actually. I don’t know how you’d protect yourself to be honest. That’s why I posted it on Google+. Hopefully, Google will read it and respond accordingly.

  2. Oh I thin your intro will get Google’s attention! But yea, the opportunity for negative seo is definably there. I Think as it sits now, the only way to protect your authorship is to monitor closely. Now Im in luck because the only website that I contribute to is my own blog so I think Im safe there. Although I did have somebody go so far as to create very unscrupulous pages and then link them to my author archive. How nice huh.
    I don’t really see how they would fix this hole though. Unless you were to have to list every article that you wrote on Google +.

    • Michael George Says: January 16, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      Thanks for commenting Grant. Isn’t it strange that this company has so much control that we are afraid to speak out against them? There are more holes than this too.

  3. You know to me this thing actually looks counter productive – authorship, massive ranking changes at the drop of a hat. How does one make ‘quality’ content when at the end of it there is no definition of ‘quality’ from Google. If you chop and change traffic at the drop of a hat do you really expect people to create even more ‘quality’ content when the traffic is unreliable. At times I think Google forgets that it is webmasters who make their money so they can sell Adwords. Without that they have nothing.

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