|Yet another opinion on Google conspiracies|
The most popular conspiracy theories seem to center around the idea that Google has unleashed update Florida on the world to either:
A. Enrich their coffers by selling AdWords.
B. Deploy an algo substantially different from Inktomi's to insure their continued dominance in the free search biz.
Typically, these conspiracies also imply that optimized pages and/or SEOs are being targeted.
Many years ago my wife worked for a very prominent IT consulting firm. One of her projects included upgrading billing systems for a utility company that operates statewide. Another was developing a complete patient and billing management system for a major hospital network. This provided me some exposure to large-scale project management techniques.
Make no mistake, managing 3 billion Web pages in a database that must be online 24 hours a day, is a large-scale project! That means major milestones to the project are mapped out a year or more in advance. The steps needed to meet those major milestones, and the staff needed to accomplish those steps, are probably identified six months or more in advance.
It's clear to me that Google picked this time of year to update simply because it fit their project schedule. It's unrealistic to expect a business to put their "bread and butter" project on hold for the holiday shopping season and furlough a substantial portion of their staff.
All of this is just my opinion of course, but it's consistent with my business experience and my limited project management exposure.
>>It's clear to me that Google picked this time of year to update simply because it fit their project schedule.
It is clear from a corporate project management viewpoint, but in all fairness we have to admit that one of the reasons people expressing doubts may be doing so is because of the fact that the PR0 penalties rolled out right in the midst of the Holiday season two years ago, same as now.
I've worked for companies that literally closed their doors for the last two weeks in December. Of course that was motivated by seasonal peaks and lulls, but the fact is that many employees take time off for the Holidays so a lot of companies take the short-handed situation into advance consideration when planning major projects.
Given that, if there's a problem that needs to be remedied, will there be enough staff on hand to resolve it expeditiously, or will there be a delay - until January?
There's an assumption that there's enough testing done before rolling out a major new build to ensure quality, but apparently there are mixed opinions on whether that was actually the case.
If it was to effectively combat what's considered to be spam, in some categories I watch the spam sites have moved from the second page to the first. And no, they don't give the surfer what they're looking for - they're totally irrelevant to the topic. Maybe the problem wasn't dealt with adequately because people like myself didn't report what was dis-satisfactory and off topic. I did today.
We absolutely have to look at the viewpoint from both ends but we have to look at it realistically, based on visible evidence. Was enough preliminary work done, and was the new truly ready to go live?
On the big projects I have been involved with, the release date was always a major part of the plan. In fact, the release date often drove the whole project - I don't see why it couldn't have been the case here.
If there is anything other than just common paranoia to the 'adwords theory' this is the perfect time to do it.
Just as many firms are rubbing there hands together at the thought of the xmas shopping frenzy post thanksgiving...
Projects don't live in a vacuum, one must discern the reason for a project in the first place, in a pre-IPO environment it would be to demonstrate revenue growth.
Lets not forget about the estimated 10 to 20 billion dollars on the table.
Turn out the lights guys, any public company needs to consistently perform and Wall street isn't looking at SERPs, the continued revenue growth at google is dependent on one vehicle; ad revenue; sooner or later it will simply be "pay up or dissappear". Pure search is probably not the best model in the long run, pleasing investors and searchers is the proverbial "burning the candle at both ends".
Of course we'll know what happened in a few years when the "I worked at google" books start hitting the stands.
good thread and intelligent reasoning here... it makes one question if Google is following it's publicised "mission statement" or if it is off on a tangent.
Conspiracy: An agreement to perform together an illegal, wrongful, or subversive act.
Theory: An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.
Therefore, the name conspiracy isn't appropriate to describe Google's actions. And theories isn't appropriate either.
Web people shouldn't be afraid of naming Google's action of this month: Business Strategy.
It's a business strategy because there are events properly identified that could shake Google's business foundations:
1. Yahoo replaces Google.
2. Google's IPO
It'll be OK to name Google's actions "conspiracy theories" if the above events were fictional.
Don't be afraid of calling what Google deployed this month by its proper name: Business Strategy.
Yes, Just business [news.com.com].
When Microsoft stuff up most people assume it is down to incomptence. When Google stuff up why do people assume it is all part of a bigger plan to make more money?
Big businesses make big mistakes - that's a fact. There will always be some people that think those mistakes are part of a cunning plan but that is very rarely true.
It is my experience that the simplest explanations are almost always the most likely to be true. The simplest explanation for spam-infested duplicant results is a cock-up.
However, as I posted in another thread, it is possible that things simply are not going to be fixed. Many people here are of the opinion that filters exist that can cause pages and/or sites to drop hundreds of places for exceeding certain SEO parameters by a fraction. I don't know if this is true or not, but if it is and this is now part of Google's design philosphy, then results will get worse and worse.
I studied cybernetics at University. Having completed the first year of any similar degree, any student should know that non-linear components make control very difficult. Creating non-linear behaviour deliberately in a control system is just plain suicical.
A search engine is not so different from a control system that this does not apply. If Google are applying penalties for straying over arbitrary SEO boundaries, then search results are guaranteed to be worse. If such a policy continues it will kill Google - that is no exaggeration.
Perhaps non-linear filters exist at Google or perhaps not - I don't know but it is clear that many people believe that they do. It is also possible that simple programming bugs are present - this would explain the absence of many index pages.
I doubt very much that Google are deliberately downgrading results. They are just getting things wrong right now.
zafile, well said.
IT projects usually have as a goal: greater efficiency/speed/cost savings/access or similar achievement.
Business strategies take account of macro and micro category trends, competitive activity, corporate goals, profit goals, market share goals, etc.
Florida is *not* an IT project ;-)
The timing of Florida may or may not be tied to the holidays. Honestly, the impact of this update would be no less stunning if it happened in a different month.
The game has changed, big time. Now, let me see, where did I put that affiliate site...can't seem to find it...
> When Microsoft stuff up most people assume it is down to incomptence. When Google stuff up why do people assume it is all part of a bigger plan to make more money?
I think Microsoft has come in for a little criticism from time to time for abusing its monopoly position to make more money!
If memory serves. Google has rolled out some type of significant algo change at six month intervals for the past three years or more. Some of them have created major waves here (usually of dissent ;) ) and some produced hardly a ripple.
|fact that the PR0 penalties rolled out right in the midst of the Holiday season two years ago |
I'm confident there was project management time allocated to pre-rollout testing and there is time allocated for post-rollout feedback, data collection and algo tuning. We KNOW Google invites and collects "spam reports," we've seen click tracking enabled and disabled, and GoogleGuy participates here, and I'm confident they have other sources for feedback. Unfortunately, the "fix it in the field" mentality has been a fact of life in modern business since the 1970s. It's financially driven and economically proven.
|Was enough preliminary work done, and was the new truly ready to go live? |
zafile and others argue that "Business Decision" is a more appropriate term for this update but imply that it is linked to an IPO. I agree with the term but consider: Google is very profitable now, thank you very much, an IPO is simply to raise capital for continued expansion and to repay venture capitalists. $100K in AdWords sales from a few unhappy webmasters is just not significant to a company of this size. Florida is a business decision simply in the sense of Google building the best search they can on the most cost effective schedule they can.
From some of your posts, I get the impression some of you missed my point about project management. It's as if many of you think Google decided to build the best search engine on the Net, then after they had that in the bag, they decided to bolt on AdWords, then they decided to bolt on AdSense, etc. I'm suggesting that all of these major milestones, including Florida, were on the "drawing board" since perhaps January of 2002 and they are being developed and deployed at Google's own pace. That pace is governed simply by financial and technical resources.
I've said it before but remember, Google has the benefit of the Dot Com Bust few years ago AND they've watched other SEs rise to prominence, then fall into obscurity or bankruptcy. These are intelligent folks that have learned from those blunders.
I'm looking forward to the "I worked at Google" books. It will be VERY interesting to learn what the truth really is. :)
|It's a business strategy because there are events properly identified that could shake Google's business foundations: |
1. Yahoo replaces Google.
2. Google's IPO
Now why would Yahoo! drop Google. Don't you think these serps are making them a spot of green too?
When their representative comes here and proclaims that they are only interested in providing relevant results for the users while at the same time they are intentionally burying relevant results, that is subversive.
From a short term point of view, it does appear subversive, especially if we ASSUME they are "intentionally burying relevant results."
|When their representative comes here and proclaims that they are only interested in providing relevant results for the users while at the same time they are intentionally burying relevant results, that is subversive. |
But understanding any entity's behavior and motivations REQUIRES data be considered over a longer term to identify "behavior patterns."
<added>Yahoo's contract with Google was discussed here at WebmasterWorld over a year ago. When Yahoo annonuced the acquisiton of Ink et al, their plans became clear, to us. Google was obvoiusly aware of Yahoo's plans before we were and that's part of my point. Google has a much longer view of this game than most of us seem to have. Many of us see how it impacts us and quickly conclude "Conspiracy!" since it undermines our financial situation.</added>
Kaled, thank you for an excellent analytical post. It helped round out some of what my own observations have brought me to believe over the past week. This is starting to look more and more like a king size mess up but with a lot of implications for our community here. Many of us are redesigning pages, setting up multiple sites, planning to engage in defensive cloaking and the list goes on. That is a complete waste of time and possibly very damaging if this is in fact a screw up.
Since Dominic I believe they have been attempting to combat spam in the Pharmaceutical and adult spaces while progressively making a mess of a lot of other areas. This latest may be an attempt to roll out simultaneously as many as three significant algorithmic changes ...stemming, Local Rank and possibly a more advanced on page optimization detection. I'm by no means sure of the last as it is quite likely an unanticipated consequence of bugs introduced by the other two changes. They are also trying to overcome some nasty disconnects between the DMOZ category structures and their own as the two got badly out of sync and that is also going on simultaneously and of course live.
Project managing the introduction of any one of those on a live system is challenging and there is evidence that it has been confined to certain searches only. Doing this simultaneously however makes no sense unless there is pressure to correct some serious problems introduced by Dominic, Esmerelda and the DMOZ issue; not impossible.
In another place on this board an example was given where a new set of hotel results for a popular location was better than the pre Florida result; and it is. The problem is however that it only produces 2 hotels, one of them a national chain. Pre Dominic I believe it would have produced mostly hotel sites and a couple of agents just as ATW does now. Isn't that what the searcher asked for? Bad luck if they did as it's pretty difficult to find one anywhere on planet earth right now using a single search on Google.
Yes the ongoing modifications since March have removed a lot of the performance pill peddlers in favor of legitimate Pharmaceutical entities but how many things can we no longer find without having to go to a directory. Right now in the effected areas on Google a buyer can no longer link directly to a supplier using web search but is directed instead to an intermediary. That's hardly an enhancement no matter how you spin it.
[edited by: Marcia at 9:58 am (utc) on Nov. 30, 2003]
[edit reason] Minor semantic modification. [/edit]
Yes, Google won the contract but it was non exclusive. It doesn't mean Yahoo has to drop Google. If we follow the money we see Yahoo as the big winner here. (anyone sign up for inktomi recently). Yahoo is risking nothing for this. At this point I wouldn't spend a dime with Google. Also consider that everything Google is gaining(?) is at the expense of their goodwill. In my opinion, their goodwill represents a disproportionately large amount of their total value as a company. When its all dried up, they just won't be the same.
|Yahoo's contract with Google was discussed here at WebmasterWorld over a year ago. |
<added>I guess, if you've gone to all the trouble to create the goodwill, you might as well make something off it before the suits on the other end of the IPO trash it anyway.</added>