MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.—Google News used to spider a relatively limited number of media websites in the years after it was launched in 2001, but as time went on it added more outlets to the list and also started including blogs in search results.
That was fine as long as results were relevant and the outlets being linked to had at least some cursory connection to providing information. But the approval process for sites spidered by Google News hit a somewhat serious snag recently when a bogus entity masking an adult tube site using a China top-level domain made it onto the list.
The fake news outlet, Colombia Journal, was noticed by an AVN reporter earlier this week in the normal routine of work. The title of the supposed news item was “Tube Porn,” which piqued the curiosity of the reporter, who clicked the link. Another link by the same outfit was titled “Extreme Tube Porn.”
The links did not direct to a news item, however, but to a landing page for an adult site that then redirected to a sexually explicit website using a tube-style format with a .cn (China) extension.
AVN subsequently sent a communication to Google News notifying them of the porn site posing as a media outlet, requesting comment at the same time how a bogus outfit linking to a porn site with a China extension could have been approved for spidering.
A short time later the same day, the link then directed to an internal server result, but Google News had not responded directly to AVN’s query by post time.