Is Google Referrer Spamming To Detect Spam?
Michael VanDeMar has documented possible evidence that Google is using fake referrers, possibly to detect forms of spam. Michael said the GoogleBot is being cloaked and is sending fake referrers for keywords the site is not related to and has no chance in ranking for.
So why is Google now taking this approach? Personally, I am surprised I have not seen more complaints about this in the various forums. With Bing, it was a huge issue that many webmasters complained about. I assume, that if this is true, Google is doing this in a much more sly way, in order to not be detected.
I have emailed Google for a statement or explanation about this reported issue about 24 hours ago. I have yet to hear anything back. When I do, I will post an update on this story.
Postscript: Google has sent me a statement about this. It seems like Google had to act quick when fighting off some sort of malware attack and it resulted in a bug. Here is Google’s statement:
Turns out, we were running an experiment to detect malware targeting Hot Trends queries related to the Haiti crisis. Because this experiment was developed in response to an urgent situation we moved quickly and as a result used an incorrect Google search referrer which we’re now working to fix. Thanks for calling this issue to our attention and we apologize for any confusion we may have caused.