The lyrics-and-text annotation site, which was founded in 2009, has been letting users provide their own explanations for song lyrics and other things. After becoming a part of the Hip-Hop vernacular, the startup quickly made itself known by interviewing popular stars such as Ab-Soul and Nas upon receiving a massive $15 million investment by Andreessen Horowitz in late 2012.
According to the SEO juggernaut, Rap Genius offered a trick in the guise of an invitation where members of its “Rap Genius Blog Affiliate” program would participate in a link exchange coordinated with Justin Bieber’s latest album. The links were designed to trick Google into giving Rap Genius better result rankings on searches for lyrics to songs from Journal.
After the tactics were published in a widely read blog post, Google’s webspam czar Matt Cutts announced an investigation on Hacker News, which prompted Rap Genius to apologize in an open letter to Google. Since then Google has pushed Rap Genius down to the fifth or sixth page of search results. Adding “Rap Genius” to the end of any query actually makes the site appear deeper down the results than it should.
Rap Genius recently released a statement indicating they’ve been working with Google to resolve the issue. “They’ve been really great, helping us identify changes we need to make, even on Christmas,” the site says. “We’re working on it as fast as we can, and expect to be back on Google very soon.”
Do you think Google’s punishment towards Rap Genius was harsh? Or justly warranted? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Props: The Verge