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Google Responds to SearchKing Complaint

 7:19 pm on Jan 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi ,

I just noticed, that Searcjking has received an answer from Google and now there are selling password to see the documents for $20 each. Are they crazy?
What do you think about that?



 1:04 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

An opinion is an opinion, no matter how you acquire it.

I disagree to some extent.

If you say a stock has a P/E of 8 - people assume you have taken the price - divided by the earnings of the stock - and have an objective measure of a stock. This is not an OPINION.

This is what I EXPECT to see from PR. Google has published papers on how PR is figured out - and no where does it say adjusting for companies they don't like.

That being said - I think google has the right to make adjustments to their index. If they want to adjust PR - they should be honest about it.

I expect a site that say PR5 to be a PR5, just as when I go to fool.com or whatever and see a P/E ratio of a stock listed as 43.


 1:07 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Say you run a directory and rank sites based on the "popularity" of sites. Say one of those sites listed took a stab at reverse engineering how you do that ranking and by some way (involving people to pay HIM to get his sites ranked higher on your site OR for free) got his and his related sites linked higher than others making his sites look more important relative to others than they really are?

Your algo is imperfect of course, and there are ways to "cheat" it.

What would you do?

Change the algo? Ban or penalise those sites?

Of course you would, epecially if you wanted your directory to continue having any credibilty at all.

This all revolves around this crazy notion that because G has become so successful and has a large market share of free SE referral traffic, somehow it is accountable to every one of 3 billion non-paying webmasters, some of whom are attempting to work out your algo to give their sites an "artificial" advantage thereby devaluing your service, as well as its customers. Thats ridiculous. You can opt out from being indexed by robots.txt. Google does not "dominate" the Net; it does arguably dominate free indexing which is actually quite a small portion of the "net" except for those here, who 90% focus on free indexing.

Law is a funny thing. But objectively and morally, I dont see SK, Massa and Pradonetwork has a case at all. Just put yourslef in the place of google, in the scenario I descrived above. Would you not want to protect the integrity of your database and power of your ranking alogos? And just beacuse you become market leader from the very integrity of that database, why should you change? - unless you are a charity or government funded entity?

Thats one of the key perception problems that Google has. Too many people think they are a charity or a NGO. When they get dropped, they jump up and down and consult their lawyer who has a special hotline number on a direct line from their office.


 1:32 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

...Change the algo? Ban or penalise those sites?
Of course you would, epecially if you wanted your directory to continue having any credibilty at all.

Google is not a directory it is a search engine.

Let me get this straight, you would have Google over ride it’s mathematical algorithm, by hand manipulation, to protect Google’s search results? I think that’s an oxymoron.


 2:17 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Not if their intent is malicious or in an a attempt to restrain trade and certainly not with them now controlling virtually over 70% of the searches on the Net which puts them in a position to determine who survives and who doesn't.

You've made a big fuss about people posting opinions and not knowing the facts. Please point me to a law or a court decision that backs up your statement. Desperately wanting something to be true doesn't make it so, neither does repeating it over and over again. Especially when this point has been shot down time and time and time again.

Perhaps you should retire this hoary old chesnut?


 2:22 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Let me get this straight, you would have Google over ride it’s mathematical algorithm, by hand manipulation, to protect Google’s search results?

Yes, I would.

I care that they give me search results that I like. I do not care how they came up with those results. I do not care if a particular site is in the index, as long as Google presents me with sites that meet my needs.

Google has admitted to the existance of penalties for a long time. They have made no secret about the fact that they exist.

By no adjustments, they mean that they do not go in and tweak it during the month. It is real easy to add a section of code *to the algorithm* that in effect says

if (domain == 'searchking.com) PR = PR / 4;

There, it's in the algorithm. No hand tweaking involved.


 3:00 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

I care that they give me search results that I like. I do not care how they came up with those results. I do not care if a particular site is in the index, as long as Google presents me with sites that meet my needs.

BigD how do know that the web sites that some Google employee chose not to show were not much more relevant and would meet your "needs" much better than the hand selected results you are seeing?

What you are describing is a Directory not a Search Engine, you do know the difference don't you?

There, it's in the algorithm. No hand tweaking involved.

What do you think "hand manipulation" is? That they have someone type in the PR numbers for the tool bar by hand ;)


 4:04 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)
Here is an interesting article on the subject:

Do machines have opinions? Can "opinions" be protected by the 1st Admendment if they are not human opinions?


 4:04 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

As a search engine will rarely give me the most relevant information anyway, all I care about is that I get information that is as relevant as I need. And I am in favor of hand editing if that will improve the relevancy.

The difference between a directory and a search engine is defined by structure, not by whether there is a human involved in the process.

There is a "search engine" on my site. It only searches the files that I (a human) tell it to. It does not search our operationa documents, our link pages, or our about us page, because I (a human) have decided that those pages would run the risk of diluting the content that Joe Random Surfer is looking for on my site.

If you want a totally unbiased search, for your own use, I recommend that you go download [htdig.org...] and build it ans start crawling the web. Once it's done, you can do all the searches you want, unaltered by human hands.


 4:26 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Can "opinions" be protected by the 1st Admendment if they are not human opinions?

Of course. Corporations are not human, but the 1st Amendment specifically protects corporate speech. The same goes for PR. PageRank is an algorithm that was created to express a persons opinion on the relative worth (or relevancy) of a particular website. The fact that a human doesn't actually tabulate the result for each individual case, doesn't make the opinion any less valid in the eyes of the court.

Quoting from the article referenced:

In this case not only are we told that PageRank is objective and not an opinion, but we are told that that objective measure relates to people's subjective idea of importance. A "subjective idea of importance" and can be rewritten as "people's opinion of importance". Not only does this say that PageRank IS NOT an OPINION, but it also says the opinion that it corresponds to in some way is that of PEOPLE AS A WHOLE and NOT solely Google.

This guy is engaging in circular reasoning. PageRank is objective - in other words it applies the exact same standards across all sites. However the process that created PageRank was inherently subjective - the creators of PageRank infused the algo with their opinions as to what makes a page relevant. While PageRank may be applied objectively, that does not mean that the end result is objective fact. Quite the opposite. If you do a search on Google and FAST you're liable to get a different set of results ordered in a different fashion, for both sites.


 4:40 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

What many of you seem to forget that the methodology, or algorithm might be objective.
That is A * Factor = PageRank

BUT Factor, can be as subjective as Google wants it to be. Let's not also forget that there are hundreds of factors, or multipliers.

For example, Google could objectively (as in all across) lower all sites PR with black background 1PR point. Is that subjective or objective? Clearly the decision of black background is subjective, the methodology is objective.

Google NEVER stated that they manually adjusted their algo to hit Massa's site. They said they adjusted the algo manually to hit all sites doing similar activites as he does. The fact that no other sites came forward is not proof that only Massa's site was effected.

I think Massa is doing an excellent job to get his name out. I would not be surprised if he has a new venture tucked in his sleeve and ready to pop it once the news reaches sufficient frenzy. The infamous 2 minute lime-light...


 4:42 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

This guy is engaging in circular reasoning.

Talk about circular reasoning - rafalk did you read what you wrote?

PageRank is objective

until someone at Google decides they don't like a site or a person. Then it becomes non-objective.

If Google is such a good company why have they deceived the public by telling everyone that they do not "hand manupliate" results? But then in court papers say in effect - yes we have - so what - it's our right.

I guess in corprate America this kind of behavior is all right - but that is about the only place it is.


 4:57 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)


I know you have been involved in MANY penalty threads before. What the $#¦~ do you think a peanlty is?

How many times has GoogleGuy come on this board and said that they prefer to tweak the algo to get rid of lots of spam at once, but sometimes they have to resort to *manually* applied penalties. What do you think he meant by that?


 5:04 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

BigD said,
I am in favor of hand editing if that will improve the relevancy.
Then use the ODP that is what they do, hand select and edit, just ask rafalk.

What I think most of us thought was that Google used an algo to determine what was relevant, we thought this because that is what Google has been telling us - That is quite a bit different than useing people to select and edit web sites, and that is what has really been going on.


 5:40 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google has a right to set the rules as is sees fit. We have a right not to use Google or any of its partners if we don't like what it does. That is free democracy at its best.

Outside of the SEO industry most people don't have a clue how the SE's produce their results, and they don't care. They only care they are useful to them. If they are, they stay and they use that service, if not they vote with their feet and mice;)

Mr Massa broke the rules, got caught, and then attempted to claim it wasn't fair. He may never have been caught if he hadn't chosen to tell the world what he was doing. That was his mistake and he has probably learnt from it.

I'm sure he has several other "operations" that are keeping a lower profile....the sensible course.

I don't like the fact that Google has such a large percentage of the SE market. But attempting to stifle their right to it via most courses of action are simply spitting in the face of democracy.

If you want to reduce Google's market share then start an SE of your own and compete with them head to head, and let the people decide who offers the better service.

I'm a couple of pennies short of being able to afford to do that, so I keep my hopes on one of the other big players (MSN or Yahoo) levelling the field to some degree. I wouldn't like to see any of those dominate either!

As for Bob and SK, they may have acted like an A$$, but at the end of the day they should get over it and move on. The more they fight to win a lost battle the more they will look like fools. If they think this is good for PR (Public Relations ;)) I would have to disagree. They will simply have a small faction of followers which in the big picture will be totally irrelevant :)


 5:48 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

The question of policy (rather than law) that LawMeme brings up, may be the most important long-term issue here -- When a search engine becomes so highly influential, should they be considered a common carrier, and thus subject to greater regulation and a different set of measures?

The SK suit in its current form does not directly address that question, but it certainly helps bring it to focus. And eventually that question must be addressed, if not now, then certainly soon.

It seems to me that this is the question that many of us have been wrestling with, perhaps subconsciously, for quite some time now. Whether SearchKing has merit in this particular case or not, that underlying theme is massive. I'm sure Google does NOT want common carrier style regulation.

I know that most of us who depend on the web for our livelihood value our relative independence - and for that reason alone we would not lightly want to see any Interent company fall into a highly regulated state. But we also grow concerned about any major concentration of power and influence - our vulnerability is quite clear.

The common carrier policy issue is quite a knot!


 5:58 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

The problem is that no one country has the ability to regulate the internet. Congress doesn't have the ability to regulate internet gambling, even though it's passed numerous bills on the issue. If they tried going after Google, all Google has to do is move to the Bahamas or the Cayman Islands, and then what are you going to do?


 6:19 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

The common carrier policy issue is quite a knot!

I would rather not see that kind of regulation on any Internet Company.

What I would like to see is people to start seeing Google for what they have become, and start using other search engines - relevance is in the eye of the searcher not in any algo or any other persons view.

Google gained it’s popularity from word of mouth of Webmasters and SEO’s on forums like this, I think it’s appropriate that forums like this are used to draw attention to the “shady” and misleading actions of Google.

Even with the protests of Google employees and uninformed Google supporters, I think the message is getting out - Google may not be what you think they are or what they say they are. And Google is certainly not the “good guy” Search Engine on web anymore.


 7:44 am on Jan 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Please leave the personal stuff for another board.
Well, everyone has had their say atleast 3-4 times here, so lets move onward and upward.

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