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What value are Google if you can't rely on them?
colin_h




msg:717725
 5:27 am on Mar 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

For a long while I have been annoyed by the forum members who constantly say that business owners should not rely on Google to feed them business. My answer to them is what use or value is Google if you can't rely on them for business? We can't keep on treating Google like a favourite pair of shoes that are constantly letting the rain in ... if they don't do the job then what honest value do they have.

I, like many others, used to love what Google stood for ... until last year when everything changed. Don't ask me why they did it ... but last year many small businesses got hit and it seemed that Google didn't care about helping them get back. I for one will be only too pleased to site loss of Google traffic and the futile waste of time trying to get back as my main reason for bad performance last year ... I only hope the tax office understands.

Please Please Please bring back some of the values that used to make Google great.

All the best

Col :-)

 

europeforvisitors




msg:717755
 1:41 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am astounded we keep going over this same question season after season and there are still people who make their living from the 'net who continue to tow the "Google is good and owes you nothing" line.

Google may be good or bad, but that doesn't change the fact that Google owes you nothing. It also doesn't change the fact that perfection is unattainable in the real world.

If your site disappeared from the SERPs and you didn't do anything shady, then the pages should reappear eventually.

For that matter, if you did do something shady and you clean up your act, you can file a reinclusion request, and the pages should reappear eventually.

That sounds pretty fair to me. (Just don't assume that you have the right to good rankings--as Ronburk has pointed out, there are a lot of Web sites competing for the top 10 list!)

Miop




msg:717756
 2:11 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

<Google may be good or bad, but that doesn't change the fact that Google owes you nothing. It also doesn't change the fact that perfection is unattainable in the real world.

If your site disappeared from the SERPs and you didn't do anything shady, then the pages should reappear eventually.

For that matter, if you did do something shady and you clean up your act, you can file a reinclusion request, and the pages should reappear eventually.

That sounds pretty fair to me. (Just don't assume that you have the right to good rankings--as Ronburk has pointed out, there are a lot of Web sites competing for the top 10 list!) >

It must be just me but it doesn't sound 'fair' at all - I come from the 'old school' where for every deal, there is some consideration (as in contract law). No consideration, no deal. In the world of this interweb thing, normal notions of 'fairness' seem to vapourise with the wind, with people charging for services but making no guarantee to perform (i.e. fulfil their side of the bargain, )e.g. Yahoo charging £295 for application to their directory, with no guarantee that your site will actually be included, and web hosts that take your money to host your site but make no guarantee of service. Huge companies are uncontactable with no telephone numbers or points of contact for a customer, and lousy customer service in the form of automated standard keyword-related email replies.
I have no wish to regulate the internet per se, but I do wish it bore some resemblance to the real world sometimes, where you expect something for something. There is a deal going on here - we allow them (SE's) to use our data (and we could easily Disallow it LOL), while we hope and pray that in return, someone might actually be able to see our site address. Without data, no SE. It is a mutually beneficial relationship, not a one-sided one. I would like to think that where these companies are making billions of dollars from *our* data, that there would be some consideration. To me, hoping and praying, and playing guessing games about what constitutes a penalised site and what doesn't really doesn't fit in this age of technology.
I would be happy to pay Google X pounds per year to be included in their index, if inclusion was guaranteed, just as I would be happy to pay Yellow Pages for a listing. That way, maybe they could afford to pay some real-life people to sit at the end of the real life telephone, dealing with people's difficulties in getting found for their search term. Search Engines and rankings are a stupid and deliberately mysterious and elaborate game, and I can not think of any parallel in the real life world of real business.

Miop




msg:717757
 2:22 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I said...

<Search Engines and rankings are a stupid and deliberately mysterious and elaborate game, and I can not think of any parallel in the real life world of real business. >

..well ok...maybe the Inland Revenue :)

MasterG00gler




msg:717758
 2:24 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

The "Google doesnt owes you nothing" brainwash is getting old mate. Please quit it. Its boring and unsubstancial. We all had lives before Google and we all could live without Google. And by the grim look of things, we might as well ready ourselves to desintoxicate from that dependence.

I guess from 2001 to 2004 Google was a fantastic search tool, people had no trouble finding stuff (in comparison to the old search engines like yahoo or altavista), results were clear.

Google made lots of money on helping people finding exactly what they want. "If its on the internet I find it on google" that's what I used to said to my clients and friends. (I do many researches for college papers, companies, etc)

I don't know much about SEO so i'll stick to what I know. I've read a symbiotic example which pretty much hits the nail head on. Google is the stomach, good content sites are bacteria and enzimes, spam sites and dark SEO tactics are viruses.

Without the enzimes and bacteria, the virus would turn the stomach into a big cancer (sort of speaking, we all know viruses dont cause cancer).

Which, is what pretty much Google looks like from where I'm standing now. Last researches I did, i've been using Overture systems and Wikipedia. There's simply no patience to deal with all the authority sites that have been crapped out and the spam that creeped in.

Google is, not also being very harmfull to the symbiotic environment, its also being downright arrogant, not helping people understand whats going on (normal update variations my furry ass!), nor humbling themselves into rollbacking to a stable structure.

From what I've seen here, and in other forums, nobody wants to harm Google. Everybody wants to help it get back on its feet and that, for me, it pretty much seems Google owing a lot of good will and patience to all you webmaster folks and retributing with nothing but silence and arrogance.

Oh, and that BMW.de episode I read beats the crap out of any excuse they try to muster about being coherent.

And while they are playing, I've heard reports of people being laid off, companies down the drain... but heck... Google doesn't owes us nothing, right? It's a freaking lawless world!

Gonna try that excuse on my readers see if it works.

Reader - "Hey, I think your article about XYZ was bad!"
Me - "Shut up fool, I don't owe you nothing!"

Then again... he reads... he buys the magazine... heck... maybe I do owe him something...

Just for wraps, I do hope Google comes out alive of this dark pit. It was my favorite search engine and they did a lot for the search market with inovating tools and more stuff, like Google Earth.

But... its their business and we dont owe them crap.

europeforvisitors




msg:717759
 2:48 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I would like to think that where these companies are making billions of dollars from *our* data, that there would be some consideration.

Since we're collectively making billions of dollars from users who are referred to us by Google and other search engines, does that mean we owe the search engines some "consideration," too? If so, how much do you think we should be required to pay for our organic search listings?

MasterG00gler




msg:717760
 2:56 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

That would pretty much depend on the services they offer. I pay to have my company on Yellow Pages, but I've a phone number to call to, and a "problem solved warranty". And I even get the same treatment BMW gets. That would be worth paying for.

Web_speed




msg:717761
 3:02 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google may be good or bad, but that doesn't change the fact that Google owes you nothing

Off course they do. Google (currently) is like the internetís yellow/white pages. Real brick and mortar yellow/white pages have obligations and are governed by a strict set of government rules. When your number is not listed there is a phone number you can call and ask why it is not listed, they tell you why, you fix it and your listing is up in the next eddition (no guesswork there). Try doing that with google when your site is no longer in the index.

* Google continually claims that their algo is fully machine driven and that there is no human intervention in the search results or site ranking.

* They also claim that no other site can influence your ranking.

Any webmaster worth his salt know very well that the above two are complete nonsense, Googleís webmaster guidelines are outdated. They are continually tweaking the algo in favour of their adwords program and this kills many businesses (that can no longer be found on the index) on daily basis, a clear pay or die scenario.

Question asked, why arenít they clearly mentioning this fact in their policies/guidelines? Why do they keep selling the public their outdated policies?

Entities like Google DO owe the internet community (and public) proper communication, full up to date policy disclosure and a proper explanation of the fact that as of mid September last year, half of the sites on the internet no longer exist (as far as google is concerned).

IMO, google are now fully exploiting their monopoly power in a very negative way while enjoying almost zero government regulation. Many anti trust cases have started along the exact same lines. Google is no different...they are creating an unfair advantage for some and in a very large scale, while not fully disclosing this fact, even worse....they keep telling you otherwise.

europeforvisitors




msg:717762
 3:28 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Off course they do. Google (currently) is like the internetís yellow/white pages. Real brick and mortar yellow/white pages have obligations and are governed by a strict set of government rules. When your number is not listed there is a phone number you can call and ask why it is not listed, they tell you why, you fix it and your listing is up in the next eddition (no guesswork there). Try doing that with google when youíre site is no longer in the index.

Bad analogy. You get a directory listing because you've paid the phone company for a telephone line.

In the United States, at least, Google's search results are protected as "opinion" by the First Amendment, at least if we're to believe the federal court's ruling in the SearchKing case. See the Yale Law School's LaweMeme article (which has quotations from the judge's opinion) at:

[research.yale.edu...]

Also, Google isn't a monopoly--not by any stretch of the definition or the imagination.

Vampster




msg:717763
 3:40 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

europeforvisitors,

Please explain me something. Why there is always someone arising the "top 10" thing when nobody else is talking about that? It's pretty weird and it seems to me that I must be missing something here.

In my opinion, colin_h arose a quite relevant discussion here. In "real life" (I hate this real/not real life thing. I'm as serious in the Internet as I am outdoors), do you trust any business or person who you can't rely on? What's about Google? What makes Google an exception? AdSense?

Don't forget that Google is "real life" as much as any of us. Choose in which world you want to live and spend your AdSense earnings into... or not.

P.S. - Please also give us your definition of the monopoly you think we are talking about. I hope you don't think anybody here is talking about "monopoly" having in mind that U.S. or any other government is supporting Google...

[edited by: Vampster at 3:50 am (utc) on Mar. 12, 2006]

Web_speed




msg:717764
 3:46 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Unless I'm reading it wrong, the argument is not about their right to run their own engine the way they want. It's about applying different sets of rules to different sites for different reasons.

Posting rules and penalties for breaking those rules are one thing, but penalizing people for something that the advertiser gets to do is wrong and calling the non-advertiser a spammer is not going to make it right. Either they can be trusted to be fair and unbiased or they can't.

They should fully disclouse thier biased policies to the public. They are doing the exact oppsite...an anti trust case will catch up with them sooner or later.

Web_speed




msg:717765
 4:12 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

deleted

buckworks




msg:717766
 4:27 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm wondering if you could clarify for us how government regulation might improve the problem of deciding which businesses ought to be in the top ten out of 14,235 who would like to be.

EDIT - my comment was in response to one of Web_Speed's comments which he deleted while I was typing.

theBear




msg:717767
 4:32 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

buckworks,

I'd like to see that one in action..

I would be a hoot, just think of all of the meetings, votes, new laws, and international treaties.

Lions and tigers and bears oh my.

Web_speed




msg:717768
 4:38 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

buckworks,

I'm not talking about top 10,20,30, Iím talking about complete disappearance of sites from the index...lets not get childish please. I deleted my post because I knew this carp will pop up and have no wish to continue arguing with kids.

buckworks




msg:717769
 4:46 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm no kid, I'm a grandparent.

Google is under no obligation to list any site whatsoever. Not yours, not mine, not anyone's.

The bottom line in all of this is that you can't trust the search engines, you can't rely on them, you can't count on them. If you get traffic from the search engines, consider it a bonus, not foundational to your business. If you ramp up your business to serve extra customers who find you for free through the search engines, you need to do so in a way that you can scale down again quickly if you need to. Or have other promotions in reserve.

The search engines are a roller coaster ride, and you can get thrown off at any time. I don't have an answer for that except the answer already given in this thread, to find ways to work around it and develop your business in ways that don't depend on the search engines.

But belieeeeeve me, government regulation is NOT the answer.

theBear




msg:717770
 4:58 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well if Google actually looses a site I'd say they have a major bug, on the other hand if they remove a site for one reason or another they might in the interest of being nice at least tell the target of the removal they were being removed.

In fact I think they have already started that for certain classes of "problems".

So far here on WebmasterWorld I've seen several posts doubting the emails form Gooogle or stating that Google doesn't warn.

Interesting it seems (for an all in free zone) that pot and kettle have a few problems.

dodger




msg:717771
 5:52 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Interesting - I think Google should look very closely at their disclaimers (as if they already hadn't)

Hundreds of thousands of people depend on Google for their livlihood.

What if some smart lawyer decided to take Google on in a class action because those people were now out of business because Google changed the rules along the way.

Yes I know, Google owes you nothing but does it?

When you hold yourself out to be the global search leader with so many people relying on you to perform and when you dominate the market as Google does, there may be a responsibility that goes with that territory.

A responsibility that perhaps could be tested in a courtroom if someone decided to get Googles casualties together - I'm sure someone has already thought of it.

An interesting theoretical question to ponder.

In any case I'm sure Google feels the heavy weight of responsibility that goes with their dominant position in the search market and the many thousands of people who rely on them.

Gimp




msg:717772
 6:17 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google holds itself out to be a global search leader. And the public seems to think that they are since the public uses it more than any other search engine.

So what does that have to do with camp followers and freeloaders crying because they are not making enough money when it changes direction? Google has made changes and is still the global search leader.

If you are foolish enough to pin your entire income on taking advantage of something free and as elusive as an ever changing search engine, please do not expect a lot of sympathy when things change and your income drops except from other fools.

Google is doing "things" now that are affecting the camp follwers. And now the camp follwers want to sue google because the camp follwers are not happy?

Give me a break.

dodger




msg:717773
 6:22 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I agree Gimp, but the law may see it differently.

I wasn't putting that forward as my opinion just a posibility that occurred to me.

You never heard of people being sued unfairly? , you give me a break.

colin_h




msg:717774
 7:02 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Does anyone else think that doing away with the top 10 listings and only offering a list of 100 would lesson the frantic spamming and also give the small guy a chance to get seen?

IMHO Google are wasting too much time on trying to beat the cheats [and failing], instead of modifying their service in an attempt to lesson the impact of cheats.

Oh my God ... I'm becoming a 'Liberal' ;-)

Thanks to everyone for making this a great thread ... it's the first one of mine that anyones taken seriously [Big Pride Moment]

Gimp




msg:717775
 7:12 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

As a lawyer, I would not even waste my time looking at a case like this unless I got paid in advance to do research. I could probably come up with some arguments that could be used. Not that they would be winners.

Now if you are willing to pay, then we can talk. But if you are not, my legal opinion is that there is no case. If someone thinks there is, let them take it on contingency.

europeforvisitors




msg:717776
 7:21 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

do you trust any business or person who you can't rely on?

Google needs the trust of two audiences:

Searchers, who provide an audience for advertisers.

Advertisers, who provide revenues for Google.

The trust of businesss owners who want free organic search traffic isn't exactly a burning priority.

dodger




msg:717777
 7:56 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

<<The trust of businesss owners who want free organic search traffic isn't exactly a burning priority>>

If the free organic search results aren't any good the SE fails as a business and a provider of information, won't attract advertising and goes out backwards.

Business owners who want free organic search traffic is why Google is where it is today.

percentages




msg:717778
 8:03 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

>My answer to them is what use or value is Google if you can't rely on them for business?

Google is not designed as a free source of advertising!

It has value to those that pay for AdWords.

It had value to those that choose to spend their time "gaming" it instead.

Google is just a medium, it is a method of sending a message, much like network(air based) television/radio.

If you want premium coverage you either have to pay or cheat the results. I've never figured out how to cheat network TV, so Google is still one better in my book!

Web_speed




msg:717779
 9:21 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

But belieeeeeve me, government regulation is NOT the answer.

Well perhaps "government regulations" is a very harsh term....but what ever happened to industry ethics or industry code of conduct...surely we are not leaving in a Lawlessness society and the internet is no different.

Those who argue that google owe publishers nothing should be able to explain (comfortably) Googleís decision to for example remove sites belonging to certain political parties during election time. They owe these sites nothing right?....or favour one chain of book store while making all other book stores disappear (for one reason or another). They have every right to do so right....theoretically they can, at any time.

There must be some sort of government or industry entity looking after these type of issues, an entity the search engines will have to properly answer to and outline the reasons beyond a disappearance or de listing of x, y ,z, site from the index.

colin_h




msg:717780
 10:09 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Maybe it's time for our governments to make license charges for Search Engines to trade under .uk .de .fr banners etc. They do it with the mobile phone and television licenses ... why not search engine. Slap them with a massive license tarrif and see if they take our 'little' countries seriously enough to trade over here.

Does anyone know if Google pays taxes in Europe or is it just the USA? If not, maybe there should be an import export tarrif applied to their activities.

Markoi




msg:717781
 10:17 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

They are continually tweaking the algo in favour of their adwords program and this kills many businesses

Google can please the shareholders and themself by slightly worse or better natural serps.
So they can report the quarterly results as they want.

They are learning (educating) the SE users clicking on adwords, by giving not the best natural SERPS.

Year over Year the macro effects of managing this process will real be big for them.

simey




msg:717782
 11:00 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

People act like depending on Google rankings is some crazy enormous risk! Yes of course it is but any form of business (and business model) is risky. Hundreds of new &/or established non-web businesses go broke every year.
Most web "businesses" depend on free traffic to a degree. Would amazon.com & other major players be around now if their results were wiped from the SERP's 5 years ago?
I think a lot of people grow fat and happy from their SE rankings, then like to sit back and ridicule others who complain about their rankings.
But guess what-complainers?,... complaining never solves anything.

giedrius




msg:717783
 1:45 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

The quality of SERPs is not determined by satisfaction of webmasters, but by the users. When they will not be satisfied, they'll move to some other search engine and thats it. Will it happen? Not so sure.

Secondly, google is very good example of site that does not depend on serps or only on links. Most of the people already know its brand. Everyone will loose if you invest only in single marketing aspect, into single search engine, especially awaiting FREE traffic. Do some homework and search for other solutions.

Miop




msg:717784
 2:04 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

<Since we're collectively making billions of dollars from users who are referred to us by Google and other search engines, does that mean we owe the search engines some "consideration," too?>

We have already given consideration, in the form of data which they incorporate to build their index. No data, no index. We allow them access to our sites, to crawl over data which belongs to us and harvest it for their needs. NB - if they didn't need it, they wouldn't harvest it!

I'm very stuck by the altruism I have found on the net, with people willing to give very high level skills away for nothing, for example with open source stuff and the like. Amazing. However, Google in the real world(tm) is now a floated company and making a lot of money out of it. I can't help feeling that too many of us are still in the altruistic frame of mind which doesn't only amount to people feeling that they deserve nothing for their trouble, but has made them lose sight of the value they themselves give.

< If so, how much do you think we should be required to pay for our organic search listings? >

I would be prepared to pay extra consideration for extra consideration in return - i.e. I would pay for a listing, if my site breaks any rules or causes some problem, they contact me and we resolve the problem. They also make their rules clear up front so it's easier not to break them.

theBear




msg:717785
 2:13 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Web_speed if I was Google all political party sites would have been removed during election times.

That way no one could claim I was being biased or promoting a party.

This 179 message thread spans 6 pages: < < 179 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 > >
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