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WSJ scathing Googles Autolink feature
Mossberg speaks out about the implications of autolinking
vabtz




msg:756114
 2:31 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Mossberg from the Wall Street Journal wrote a scathing Review of the new Autolink feature in the Google Toolbar

What if you had worked hard to design a Web page, carefully placing links just where you wanted them and carefully selecting the Web destinations to which those links led? And then, what if a company with great power on the Web started adding its own links to your page, drawing visitors away from your page to other sites of its own choosing?

Link:
[ptech.wsj.com...]

A subscription is not required for that link ( its part of the free teh coloumn

Looks like the mainstream press is interested.

 

dirty_marra




msg:756115
 4:13 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Isn't this just essentially adware?

Spine




msg:756116
 4:34 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Wow, google is stooping to a pretty scummy level now for revenue.

Features like google maps, good, features like scumware, bad.

Lorel




msg:756117
 4:49 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

What if you had worked hard to design a Web page, carefully placing links just where you wanted them and carefully selecting the Web destinations to which those links led? And then, what if a company with great power on the Web started adding its own links to your page, drawing visitors away from your page to other sites of its own choosing?

This is flawed info. Nobody can add anything to your webpage unless they have access to your site. He's talking about links appearing in the google toolbar and misleading people by telling them they appear on the webpage.

I agree that tool bar needs to be altered however.

plumsauce




msg:756118
 9:45 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is flawed info

I don't totally agree.

But, please remember that in previous discussions surrounding the feeding of the press, the point has been made that the message must framed in a way that the readers of the popular press can understand.

The writer has just introduced the topic into the mainstream. Followup articles may delve into more detail. But at least the idea is out there for others to do more research and commentary on.

100% of the population here agreeing on something will not result in change as much as 30% of the readership of WSJ deciding that it needs to be considered.

Being that Google is a publicly traded company, the WSJ is the perfect agent for addressing change. Even better than most techie oriented print publications. Analysts read the WSJ, traders read the WSJ. And if they think that a story starting there is going to spread further, you can bet your bottom dollar that they are going to start betting *huge* dollars on the way the story unfolds. An old trader once told me that you can make money on bad news or good news, but not no news.

walkman




msg:756119
 11:03 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

maybe that's why they hired that Firefox programmer.

idoc




msg:756120
 1:43 am on Mar 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

"scathing Review of the new Autolink feature"

It would be nice if somebody could point this guy at the latest goglejacking-hijacking-302 redirect thread. ;)

stargeek




msg:756121
 2:51 am on Mar 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

It would be nice if somebody could point this guy at the latest goglejacking-hijacking-302 redirect thread.

The fact that this guy shows an interest in pointing out issues with google means that if someone does point it out to him he may respond.

vabtz




msg:756122
 3:41 am on Mar 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

by the way I apologise for my crappy spelling/grammar...

I would have edited it but I didn't want to wait for the thread to get reapproved

friggin embarrassing

plumsauce




msg:756123
 7:18 am on Mar 11, 2005 (gmt 0)


It would be nice if somebody could point this guy at the latest goglejacking-hijacking-302 redirect thread. ;)

how 'bout you :)

Ledfish




msg:756124
 4:49 am on Mar 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Why don't people just start writing Mossberg about the issues with Google, like the sandbox and hijacking. Those stories would be much more facinating than the toolbar autolink story and I'm sure can be done in a way that the average reader could understand.

His e-mail address is at the bottom of that article.

MLHmptn




msg:756125
 7:30 am on Mar 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

If the Google Autolink feature was to add anything to our web sites or alter how they are viewed wouldn't that be a violation of the DMCA?! I don't understand how it wouldn't be?! Thoughts? Laws? Please advise!

MLHmptn

g1smd




msg:756126
 8:16 pm on Mar 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> what if a company with great power on the Web started adding its own links to your page, drawing visitors away from your page to other sites of its own choosing?

Pedantic, but I would have written that as:

>>...what if a company with great power on the Web started adding its own links to a page you were viewing, drawing visitors away to rival sites of its own choosing?

Whatever way it is worded, the public will get the message; and if they want to know the details then the appropriate WebmasterWorld thread is easily found from a Google search.

vabtz




msg:756127
 1:12 am on Mar 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

LedFish I think those issues would go right over the heads of most people.

SeanW




msg:756128
 3:06 am on Mar 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I wrote an article on my blog (see profile for link) that talks about how this is being way overblown.

First and foremost, AutoLink will only modify the page if the user clicks the AutoLink button in the toolbar. It doesn't happen automagically.

WRT book links, AutoLink only creates links for ISBN numbers that show up on the screen. It doesn't magically add links to Amazon on any other anchor text such as a title.

Ie, if you had something like

ISBN: 011111111

the user could click AutoLink, then click the ISBN number to be taken to Amazon's page.

It won't overwrite an existing link. So if that link above were hyperlinked to Amazon with an aff link, or to another site, or whatever, AutoLink won't touch it.

Sean

gregdi




msg:756129
 11:02 am on Mar 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

WRT book links, AutoLink only creates links for ISBN numbers that show up on the screen. It doesn't magically add links to Amazon on any other anchor text such as a title.

I must ask why you are so willing to excuse outright thievery? Many sites - mine included - are involved in this redirect/sitejacking mess. At this point, the only traffic I get from Google is what I pay for through AdWords. Now do they expect me to pay for traffic through AdWords so that they can steal it with their toolbar?

I think Google has overstepped their bounds for quite some time now. What really soured me on them was their initial handling of the privacy issue in regards to Gmail. Did everybody forget about that one already too?

At this point, it seems that Google no longer considers the web community any more, they only consider the bottom line and their buddies on Wall Street. Don't get me wrong, profits are a good thing, but at what point do you start looking more like a theif?

SeanW




msg:756130
 3:00 pm on Mar 13, 2005 (gmt 0)


Now do they expect me to pay for traffic through AdWords so that they can steal it with their toolbar?

You have several options:

Don't show an ISBN.
Make the ISBN a link to something, or find one of the javascript snippets out there that defeat AutoLink.
Provide enough value to the user such that they don't feel the need to go somewhere else.

As far as I'm concerned, the user owns the rendering of the page once it hits their machine. I don't complain when people run ad blockers, text to speech translators, or custom skins, so why should I complain about this?

Sean

HughMungus




msg:756131
 5:35 pm on Mar 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

It won't overwrite an existing link. So if that link above were hyperlinked to Amazon with an aff link, or to another site, or whatever, AutoLink won't touch it.

What if I have text talking about the book but I have an amazon ad for the book on another part of the page? I wouldn't want Google inserting links that compete with my links.

SeanW




msg:756132
 5:59 pm on Mar 13, 2005 (gmt 0)


What if I have text talking about the book but I have an amazon ad for the book on another part of the page? I wouldn't want Google inserting links that compete with my links.

The only thing it touches is ISBN numbers. And it only touches them if the user presses the AutoLink button. Furthermore, the cursor changes when hovering over the link, and a tooltip states that the link was added by the toolbar.

Sean

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