Search engine Google is punishing itself for breaking its own advertising rules.
Google will drop the search ranking of its Chrome website for at least 60 days for paying hundreds of bloggers to say the web browser was cool.
Some of the paid blog posts contained cut and paste "garbage" text and included links to pages where people could download the browser.
If another company did this, they would be banned from Google's search engine index for between a month and a year. But Google hasn't banned Chrome.
Apparently it is blaming Chrome's advertising companies but said today it would reduce the page ranking of Google's Chrome home page as a penalty.
Google made updates to its algorithm to penalise sites offering "thin" content and reduce their search rankings. However, Danny Sullivan, of Search Engine Land, said his jaw dropped when he found 400 examples of blog posts that Google sponsored.
Associated Press said that links to websites in sponsored posts should include the "nofollow" tag, meaning they are not used to determine a site's ranking on the Google index.
It is the third time that Google has banned one of its own acquired companies. Last year BeatThatQuote.com was banned for violating its search guidelines, and Google Japan has been penalised in the past for paid posts.
One of the digital media agencies working with Google on the campaign, Essence Digital in London, told AP that Google had not known about a sponsored-post campaign but only agreed to buy online video ads.