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Google says it cannot change results
ScottM




msg:83457
 2:02 am on Apr 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Our search results are not manipulated by hand. We're not able to make any manual changes to the results."

So much information...not sure who is telling the truth.

Please, let's keep this to a discussion about Google and not the controversy of the topic.

[news.com.com...]

 

Brett_Tabke




msg:83487
 7:54 pm on Apr 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

again - the specifics do not matter -- and will not be a part -- of this thread.

donpps




msg:83488
 8:06 pm on Apr 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

I tend to agree with GG. It's a technological, political, legal and social slippery slope if Google gets into the business of responding to "bad searches" manually. Yes, there is PR issues to be considered but I believe like the whole Internet, policing should be left to individual users. Put sites such as ..<in question> into a results block or filtered sites and they would not show up when you do a search.

Just my piece.

Don

BallochBD




msg:83489
 8:26 pm on Apr 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

So historically Google has very strongly tried to follow a policy of letting our algorithmic search results stand as they are; we put our efforts much more into improving search by writing better algorithms instead of trying to fix a smaller set of searches by hand. We have a quite small set of circumstances that can result in taking manual action: things like a valid legal request (e.g. a DMCA complaint), spam and things outside our quality guidelines (e.g. off-topic porn for a person's name), and a very small amount of security-related stuff (e.g. credit card numbers on a web page). Other than that, we do our best to let our algorithms work out the results on their own. I think that's the right approach, and I think most of our users would prefer that instead of lots of hand-editing.

I appreciate the principle but I cannot help but feel uncomfortable with it. If I were to publish a hard copy directory of any kind with adverts for extremist organisations like Al Q@eda I could expect trouble so why not just ban them all? No reasonable minded person could possibly object to this, or could they?

<snip>

The sad face of Capitalism :o(

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 8:41 pm (utc) on April 7, 2004]
[edit reason] lets leave the specifics and the ads, and the politics out folks. thanks [/edit]

GoogleGuy




msg:83490
 9:05 pm on Apr 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

BallochBD, I see your point, but who gets to define what's an extremist organization or who's wrong? If you were to take 100 people and ask them to list all the extremist groups, I guarantee you'd hear everything from Greenpeace to the current U.S. administration and everything in between.

There's a group in San Francisco called Critical Mass. Once a month they ride around the city in large groups to rally for better biking infrastructure. Sometimes it causes traffic jams and angry car drivers. Is Critical Mass an advocate group or an extremist group? You can see where it would get problematic if people had to make value judgments like that.

RonPK




msg:83491
 9:11 pm on Apr 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

I can't understand why someone would petition a search engine because he or she doesn't like a particular site that shows up in the results.

Anyway, I'm seeing a wikipedia article as #1 in the SERP.

[edited by: RonPK at 9:24 pm (utc) on April 7, 2004]

Pikin_It_Up




msg:83492
 10:29 pm on Apr 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree with GG...

Regardless of the results that are displayed on the SERPs, I think it would be wrong to take them off by hand.

Look at the way counties counter terrorism. They don't give any exceptions. They will not agree to terrorist demands.

Instead, Countries try to find a better way to fight the threat. One that will eradicate the problem at the source. Not at the receiving end.

I have no doubt that google work 24/7 to find a way to tweak their algorithm so that it not only filters the site in question (didn't wan't to drop names) but also all of the other sites for different terms that contain similiar results.

I don't envy Google.

They have a lot of hard graft on their hands and they keep getting condemned for it. Think about how many successful searches you perform every day. I bet that the unsuccessful ones don't outweight the good ones.

danny




msg:83493
 11:17 pm on Apr 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Anyway, I'm seeing a wikipedia article as #1 in the SERP.

Yes, people are trying to Googlebomb that - and I think that's got to be a better approach than a petition. Anyone who cares about the results for this search should just link to the next ten sites. I can't see there being any problem getting enough support for this - forget 50,000 signatures, 500 links will be plenty good enough.

idoc




msg:83494
 1:06 am on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't think anyone has said G can't delete a serp from the database if they need to. I just think what they have said is they don't hand edit the serps unless of dmca issues etc. not to because of just the morality of the content. I can see why they need to do that. The minute they *try* to control the serps for morality issues they will then become liable for doing so... both for the ones they edit out as well as those they miss. It could be a never-ending struggle. I have not seen this website and don't care enough about it to look at it, but really what one word generic search term like this *should* give a relevant serp to begin with?

hitthedeck




msg:83495
 2:34 am on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

It seems Google has been moving to this "underlying principal" for some time. This admission in itself is of interest.

"we do our best to let our algorithms work out the results on their own. I think that's the right approach, and I think most of our users would prefer that instead of lots of hand-editing."

This is what sets Google apart from other SE's, the key word here is "lots" PR0 and hand edits are an admission of failure, that is why we see less and less of them.

robertito62




msg:83496
 2:57 am on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Steven Weinstock needs to hire a SEO.

All this proves is that SEOs are in as much need as lawyers.

plumsauce




msg:83497
 5:18 am on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

The story reminds one of a response that
might be encountered by 60 Minutes from
a hospital profiled for malpractice.

We cannot comment on this matter due
to patient confidentiality

Laissez-faire is a concept that leads to
the slippery slope. He who does not get
involved deserves what he gets.

+++

jaxomlotus




msg:83498
 5:32 am on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think the bottomline here is that if a hate-site comes up as the #1 search result for Jew, Google's search technology is flawed. I don't see any moral problem here. I simply see a glaring problem with Google's search technology and one they should address if they can tell their browsers with a straight face "our technology is the best."

danny




msg:83499
 5:53 am on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Is it ok if an anti-Scientology site comes up #1 for a search on "scientology"? How is that different?

I don't see that this is Google's problem - people have Googlebombed a hate site to the top of the SERPs while no one was looking, but now we've noticed it's going to be knocked off that spot in no time flat. And yes, this means that if a site (or cause) has lots of supporters it'll probably do better in search results. There's nothing new about that.

ILuvSrchEngines




msg:83500
 6:55 am on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

After reading this thread it looks to me like we might be making some new headway into defining the new Google algo.

We can see that Jew Watch is in the DMOZ as usual.

****
Jew Watch - Archive of essays, articles and online books about a perceived international Jewish conspiracy. Society: Issues: Race-Ethnic-Religious Relations: Hate: Hate Groups: Anti-Semitic (1)
****

So Google is holding true to form with loving anything from the DMOZ.

So here is my latest stab at the Google algo.

--start Google algo/filter---
1. Is it a mom and pop commercial site? If yes delete.
2. Is it in the DMOZ? If no delete.
3. Is it a hate site? If yes pass through.
4. Is it a business related site? If yes, then rank by how much paid to Google for advertising.
5. If site ranked too high (above big Google advertisers) then accuse of spamming then delete.
6. Display results of sites who NATURALLY spend the most advertising $$$ with Google or display worthless hate sites, directories or other non-commercial irrelevant pages.
---end Google algo/filter---

Seems that a Jew hating bunch of nutcases has a much better chance of getting through the Google filters than a site for 'minor emergency care in Sacramento'. I guess Google has to decide what is really important and that is a tough job for most of us dumbies out here to understand. Obviously a jew hating site is more important to the Google search engine algo than a local minor emergency medical care site and we just need to undertsand that and deal with it.

beakertrail




msg:83501
 8:15 am on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Isn't the traditional method of dealing with web sites containing such material to contact the hosting company / owner and take it from there?

I'm sure that this site shows up in Yahoo! and other search engines, so why put all the emphasis on Google to sort it out?

It's like telling one tv station to stop reporting on the conflict in Iraq. It doesn't stop the others and it certainly doesn't stop the conflict.

Beaker

Yidaki




msg:83502
 8:52 am on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sorry folks, didn't you read Brett's comment: keep the specifics out?! We can discuss the issue without mentioning <thesearch> and <thesite> or <anyothersearch> and <anyothersite>.

This thread is not about politics. And this forum's TOS don't allow political and/or religous discussions anyway.

It would be a shame if the thread would get closed just because we don't respect Brett's rules and comments.

bull




msg:83503
 9:02 am on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

RonPK
Anyway, I'm seeing ... as #1 in the SERP.

As mentioned in a post by Yidaki earlier, you seem to live in a country (like me, too) where some results are "corrected". Using a proxy can help. Did I overread a GG comment on this country-specific filtering?

Pikin_It_Up




msg:83504
 9:07 am on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

The SERPs are not going to be changed by google. Their algorithm will be.

It is unfair for us to put so much weight on one search.

I have visited the site in question and agree that it is greatly offensive and also makes a number of untrue claims.

We will see this site dissappear soon enough, but when it does, it will be filtered out by the algo, not by hand. I would much prefer this as hopefully, the new algo will filter any other offensive sites, relating to another key term.

I also believe that going to the hosting company for the site in question is probabally the best action.

Are there any other examples of similiar sites but for different keywords? Don't post the url or anything, I was just wondering if Hate sites are exclusive to this keyword or whether they appear on any other SERPs.

kaled




msg:83505
 11:28 am on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

We will see this site disappear soon enough, but when it does, it will be filtered out by the algo, not by hand.

Algo for the new controversy filter.


[b]if[/b] (complaints are made) [b]and[/b] (bad publicity may ensure) [b]then begin[/b]
writeln('The algo is automated. We can't do anything.');
[b]for[/b] i := 1 [b]to[/b] 4 [b]do begin[/b]
pause(14 + rand(7) days);
dec(PR); { leave toolbar PR unchanged }
[b]end[/b]; { for }
[b]end[/b]; { controversy filter }

Kaled.

jeffers




msg:83506
 12:07 pm on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Have I got the wrong end of the stick here? My understanding is that GG is saying that Google staff have no control over page ranking results as the algo is making all the decisions. Isnt this an admission of the tail wagging the dog?

Surely if, and again I may have got the wrong end of the stick here, people on this thread are looking for someone to point the finger at for poor search results, distastful sites coming up, innapropriate results ets. they need look no further than the people who programmed the search criteria in the first place. I don`t remember this much concern, acrimony and dispair six/severn months ago when there was a regular and seemingly fair update.

This is a fairly new problem because of uneeded tinkering. Stop blaming the machines and get the Google staff to do a better job.

sidyadav




msg:83507
 12:55 pm on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

if (complaints are made) and (bad publicity may ensure) then begin writeln('The algo is automated. We can't do anything.'); for i := 1 to 4 do begin pause(14 + rand(7) days); dec(PR); { leave toolbar PR unchanged } end; { for } end; { controversy filter }

lol Kaled, But great post! I mean, code. It kinda explains the whole situation to a C programmer who doesn't know what this is all about..

Sid

finer9




msg:83508
 1:34 pm on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Interestingly, with all the talk about "no hand penalties" I know a particular network of sites that went from PR7/8 to PR0 on ALL sites this recent update.

Pikin_It_Up




msg:83509
 1:47 pm on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

They's been penalized for something

Leosghost




msg:83510
 1:48 pm on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Lack of adwords ...?

bsand715




msg:83511
 1:49 pm on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

<quote>"That is as close a public admission that they are powerless to act on people gaming their system as I have ever heard"</quote>

If this thread is still is still a discussion about the algo and possible "gaming" of SERPS, Why has no one made a comment about the #5 result on the mentioned search term. In case it changes #5 on my screen is a redirect of a for sale domain. To come up #5 out of 1,720,000 seems IMHO is a serious flaw in "something"!

This gaming act is rampant thru out google. I kid you not one phrase I searched for returned 300+ redirects to the same site in the first 500, I dont often go that deep but was amused by what I was seeing.

As a webmaster I like Google, Google has been good to me, Well until the last couple of months anyway.

As a frequent user and director of people who search daily on the net for diverse items and want fast clean revelant results, it seems to get worse, also the new look is way to busy and loaded with adds for us.

If google would admit the main thrust is money for add words with a secondary goal of revelant returns it would make it eaiser to Understand the Big G at this point in time.

Will the old Google please come back.

trillianjedi




msg:83512
 1:53 pm on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

It kinda explains the whole situation to a C programmer

I don't mean to nit-pick, but it looks like pascal to me.

TJ

finer9




msg:83513
 2:37 pm on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

The PR0 network is looking more and more like a 'searchking' type situation...

Duke51




msg:83514
 2:49 pm on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

The PR0 network is looking more and more like a 'searchking' type situation...

What exactly is a "'searchking' type situation"?
Do you mean when it was published in federal court documents that "Google knowingly and intentionally decreased the PageRank assigned to both SearchKing and PRAN." Or did you mean something else?

Brett_Tabke




msg:83515
 3:47 pm on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

they never said how that was done Duke. Deleting 500 of the worst spam filled doorway domains on the network, would - ya, that would kill the pr or the mothership.

Ledfish




msg:83516
 4:14 pm on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I stopped reading this post at the 3rd page....mostly because my thoughts have been formed.

While I don't think the site at the top is worthy of the publicity, I think if google manipulates the serp results for morality issues, it is pure and simple censorship and not something if I were Google that I would get into. The internet is full of all sorts of material that most certainly is offensive to someone or some group. religion, race, age etc. Do it just once, refuse to do it again and then the lawsuits will fly for sure.

However, If the site clearly violated Googles webmaster/spam guidelines, then any sort of manipulation is justified. This would also extend to any proponate sites just like any site would be subject to as well.

GG, it was nice to see your participation in address this issue.

GoogleGuy




msg:83517
 5:02 pm on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

GG, it was nice to see your participation in addressing this issue.

And bear in mind that this is just my personal take, based on my experience of working at Google. One of the reasons I wanted to join WebmasterWorld was to be able to explain Google's stances on questions in greater detail, dispel misconceptions, etc. So I wanted to explain the context of the original quote, and describe why Google tries not to take manual action other than in cases of spam or when we're legally required to do so.

I've said many times on this forum that Google prefers to write new algorithms to improve our quality instead of trying to fix problems by hand. I do believe most users would prefer a search engine that tries to avoid hand editing their search results. I remember once noticing that for a rather obscene query, another search engine had hard-wired the first result for the search to return Google's executive biographies page. I also remember when another well-known search engine hard-wired it so that a search for "Google" would return the text "Google: The Inferior Search Engine" before the regular results started. I'm sure the people at those search engines considered those to be funny pranks, but I find that sort of hand manipulation of results more disturbing, personally. If those results were selected by hand, what other searches might be chosen with bias like that? Both of those search engines are no longer around at this point.

By the way, danny makes an excellent point in message #51, because this actually happened to Google as well a few years ago. Do folks think that for the search "scientology," we should have hand edited the results to remove an anti-scientology site from the #1 result? I do think many users who step into our shoes and try to come up with a policy on requests for results to be hand-edited can at least see the potential difficulties. Google tries to be fair and consistent by limiting the situations in which we take manual action.

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