Apple App Store use cloaking web pages?

If you read Google webmaster guidelines about cloaking you should not serve different content to users and search engines. When I searched Google and found weird results from Apple App Store I got suspicius that something was wrong here.

Here is one simple example using Mozilla Firefox and 2 plug ins:

  1. Search for Super Monkey Ball
  2. Look at the result, right now when I write this post it looks like fig. 1.
    Notice that Google can display a correct title and description.
  3. Clicking on the link redirects you to a page where it tries to connect to iTunes Store.
    Using Live HTTP headers you can see all redirects and this what the final page looks like fig. 2.
    This page is totally irrelevant and is nothing what I could expect from what the description was in the search result.
  4. Now use User Agent Switcher, pretend to be Googlebot and click the link once again.
    Now we get a completely different page, simply an XML-file see fig.3.
  5. Cloaking? Well definitely not the same content and sure some weird redirects.

Google, as we all know, wants to present relevant information. When displaying information that does not exist for most of the Internet users, I personally think this is a cloaking web-page. And this is just one example, all pages seems to be the same in Apple App Store.

The only time this result could be some relevant is when i have installed Itunes and owns iPhone or iPod touch. So do you think Google will consider all this pages as spam and remove them from their search results? Do you think theese pages are irrelevant and breaks the webmaster guidelines?

After all, Apple is quite a big company, but rules are rules 🙂


Below are images showing the different pages:

Fig.1 Search result for Super Monkey Ball
Fig.2 Resulting page with browser
Fig.3 Resulting page with Googlebot

Feel free to add your thoughts.
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