Mutual-Funds-Advisor.com » Articles on the History of Mutual Funds » www Financial Times Com Website Scandal

WWW Financial Times Com Website Scandal

Financial Times' name has recently been involved in a scandal connected with search engine optimization. It was difficult to believe, but Financial Times has broken the corresponding ethical coding and has included hidden links selling as part of its services on their website.

Hidden Links Explanation

One of the factors by which the popularity of a website is determined is the so called link popularity. This means that in order for a search engine to decide on how popular is a website compared to others, it uses the number of linked sites. If a website has a lot of external websites linking to it and these sites are in turn very popular among the Internet users, then the chances of the website coming up as the first result in a search engine are greatly increased.

On the other hand, hidden links represent one of the oldest ways in which a search engine can be deceived. This is done by programming the website in such a way that links that cannot be seen by the users. However, the search engine is not aware that the links are hidden to the users. Therefore, it reads them as normal links. As a result a website that includes such links deceptively moves to higher positions in search engine results. Furthermore, this strategy is considered dishonest, since search engines would like to see the pages the way users do.

Financial Times Abuse Finding

Ted Mc Gaffin was the first, who noticed the hidden links that Financial Times was selling. He was doing a competitive analysis of a competitor of www.moneysupermarket.com and surprisingly found that Financial Times was linked to it. What further increased his shock was the discovery of more than 200 links to www.moneysupermarket.com coming from the Financial Times. When he went to the Financial Times's website, he had hard time finding the actual link, since it was hidden to the common user.

Being indignant at the hidden links that the Financial Times has included, Ted posted a message on his website about the link misuses. The search engine optimization community became aware of the unethical action and spread the word. As a result, the discovery of the hidden links also reached the Financial Times, which quickly fixed the problem and made the link visible to outside users. When they gave a call to Ted, a straight forward answer to the question of why have they done so, was never received. This further strengthened the suspicions that this was not just a mistake, but a deliberate action aiming at search engine optimization.

The Importance of the Case 

Those of you, who don't consider ethics on the Internet an important issue, will proclaim the hidden link as a type of invisible paid advertisement. However, by engaging in such misuses, Financial Times ruins the trust it has created in its services over the years. It also breaks the ethical rules that all Internet users have agreed upon. What's more, FT.com presents itself as a most famous audited business website, whose unique users amount to more than 3.7 million. The violation of the rule, stating that no hidden links should be included, may result in blacklisting for the FT.com, which will surely hurt its reputation and image as a trustworthy company. Generally, Financial Times is characterized as a news sources. It is listed with Google and Yahoo news search engines and includes many listings on both engines.

Finally, Financial Times needs to prove that the hidden link was an omission in their programming. Otherwise, its reputation as a trustworthy and ethically responsible website may be badly hurt. If this is not done, an investigation should be launched in order to reveal the people behind the placements. For at least a sales representative to offer the hidden links and a programmer to place them are needed.

Rate this article : Low
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
High