The Inquisitr is on the top of my list of websites that make me crazy. They only started covering reality celebrities last year but somehow managed to trick Google into thinking they were worthy of a top spot in the SERPS and they have convinced Google that they deserve to be called “news”.
Their articles are on par with WetPaint…the titles are click bait, the content is often scraped from smaller sites with no attribution or worse scraped from websites that publish hoaxes! In addition to the erroneous click-bait they engage in unnatural link schemes with pals like WetPaint.
What’s interesting is that NO one knows who owns The Inquisitr. Considering Google considers transparency and accountability key to getting a high Page Rank, how did this site manage to get such a high PR with no trace of ownership?
The closest thing we have is a domain registrant which is Enom which is the infamous Demand Media. So they may be Demand Media content farm 2.0, but who knows.
Recently they were accused of plagiarism by NPR which is a pretty serious allegation so why does Google keep giving the site so much “authority”?
Here is an excerpt from npr.org
“As I write, for example, the education team at NPR itself has been tweeting indignantly that it has been copied by the news and lifestyle site Inquisitr. And the affected story was about—I am not making this up—plagiarism. Of the academic kind.
“Hey @theinquisitr,” tweeted NPR reporter Cory Turner, “You took my @npr_ed story on plagiarism, badly paraphrased it, then dropped my name. Being ironic?” His colleague Anya Kamenetz took off the gloves and used the dreaded p-word: “Hey look! @NPRCoryTurner‘s @npr_ed piece on plagiarism was totally plagiarized! (sic)”
As if the allegations of plagiarism are not enough, The Inquisitr has been accused multiple times of publishing hoax news stories as legit news. As recently as last month they published a story on April 3rd, 2015 titled “Ku Klux Klan Forces Black Baker to Make Racist KKK Cake, So Does Memories Pizza Lose Religious Freedom?”. They originally referenced the Tribune Herald‘s fake news article from 2013 several times.
Prior to that they published another hoax about actor Roger Moore quoting a phony interview with Moore boasting about his sex life and appearance.
Last year they published a hoax contending that 30% of people already have an RFID chip implanted in them and don’t even know it. You can see they took the article down but the URL still exists.
And prior to that The Inquisitr wrote a story titled “Cheerleader Flu Shot Girl: Hoax or Real?” claiming the story was a hoax citing zero evidence to support their claim.
According to InfoWars:
“The chief culprit in erroneously circulating rumors that Jennings’ condition was a “hoax” has to be “The Inquisitr” website, a tabloid gossip rag that in-between obsessing about the vacuous activities of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, also thinks it has the knowledge to dismiss medical conditions by watching You Tube videos. On October 22, the website carried the headline, Cheerleader Flu Shot Girl: Hoax or Real? The story mentions that Jennings’ condition had been diagnosed by several doctors as genuine, yet still implies that the story is a “hoax,” citing no proof whatsoever. The agenda behind this becomes clear when the website lambastes “anti-vaccination nutters” for merely highlighting the case.”
Here is an article titled “Anatomy Of A Fake, Viral Story: The Priest Who Met A Female God In His Near-Death Experience” about fake news stories. “(My Tow Center research found that Metro U.K. was one of a collection of news sites that consistently jumped on unverified, and often dubious, claims that had the potential to generate clicks. Inquisitr is also a member of that club.)”
They sure are!
Look everyone makes mistakes. That is not the issue. The issue is that The Inquisitr jumps on unverified claims in an effort to generate click-bait. It does not do the minimum due diligence to verify a claim before printing it because they don’t care. And why should they. How could anyone hold them accountable since no one knows who they are. And certainly there are false stories all over the internet, but sites that regularly publish such stories should not qualify as “news” and should not consistently top the search cue when more reliable sources exist for the same search terms.
None of these examples are anomalies, the paper regularly espouses claims like this with zero evidence. They are often forced to print retractions after receiving legal threats, but the damage is already done. The question is why does Google continue to legitimize such a sleazy website? This website would disappear on it’s own if Google did not make their consistent lies so profitable by placing them at the very top.
In the articles below we gave a slew of examples of The Inquisitr engaging in unnatural link schemes in an effort to manipulate SERPS. This in addition to the countless misspellings and grammatical errors that pervade their articles.
And if you need any more evidence about The Inquisitr’s sleaze look at this ad for a “do-follow link” from the Inquisitr for sale for $250. And notice how they are boasting about their PR of 6 from Google.
Why is The Inquisitr exempt from the same code of conduct that other websites must follow?
Update 1/06/2015: I suspect the answer to why the Inquisitr and other big Google advertisers receive such favorable treatment in search rankings lies in this patent application.