Google has come under fire for violating its own anti-spam rules by sponsoring hundreds of blog postings in order to promote its web browser Chrome.
The 'paid' postings, which give glowing "reviews" to the software for use in small businesses, clearly showed that they are sponsored by the search giant.
They also include sponsored links that work to promote the term "Google Chrome" in Google's search results.
The company apparently violated its own rules against using spam to manipulate rankings, the Telegraph reports.
Google, however, said the fault lay with a media buying firm called Essence Digital, employed by Google.
Essence Digital, an internet-advertising company that has worked with Google to promote Chrome, posted a statement online to explain 'what happened.'
"We want to be perfectly clear here: Google never approved a sponsored-post campaign. They only agreed to buy online video ads. Google have consistently avoided paid postings to promote their products, because in their view these kind of promotions are not transparent or in the best interests of users," the statement said.
"In this case, 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," it added.
Meanwhile, Danny Sullivan, a search engine expert and writer at the Search Engine Land blog, described the content promoting Google Chrome as "garbage".
"Google's paying to produce a lot of garbage," he said, noting that many of the 'review' postings contain identical text that could apply to any web browser.