Google Demotes Chrome In Own Listings To Repent For Paid Links

Google (NSDQ: GOOG) appears at odds with a London advertising company it hired to promote Chrome, after the campaign potentially broke Google’s own ethics rules.

Video agency Unruly Media’s campaign tapped bloggers to write articles, with its embedded promo video, about Google’s web browser, with the disclaimer “This post is sponsored by Google.”

Google outlaws paid links. SearchEngineLand and SEOBook have kicked up a fuss.

To slap itself on the wrist, Google says it will demote its own Chrome download page in searches for the browser for two months.

Unruly CEO Scott Button tells AllThingsD “human error” had meant bloggers had written flatting editorials about Chrome, not simply embedded Unruly’s video.

But Google responds (via AllThingsD): “Google never agreed to anything more than online ads … These kind of promotions are not transparent or in the best interests of users. We’re now looking at what changes we need to make to ensure that this never happens again.”

And Google’s ad buyer, Essence Digital, explains on Google+: “Google never approved a sponsored-post campaign. They only agreed to buy online video ads … Google were subjected to this activity through media that encouraged bloggers to create what appeared to be paid posts, were often of poor quality and out of line with Google standards. We apologize to Google who clearly didn’t authorize this.”

Chrome is set to overtake Firefox for global browser market share early in 2012 with a fifth of the market, behind internet Explorer’s 51 percent share (source: Netmarketshare).

Other Unruly clients include Heineken, Range Rover and T-Mobile.