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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 :-)

 

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.

Miop




msg:717786
 2:30 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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

Not a bad analogy here in Britain - if you want a Yellow pages listing you have to pay for it. Having a phone line just means that you will appear in the alphabetical telephone directory listing, which does not list businesses under the service they offer.

<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...]

That's interesting, thanks.

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

It is almost a virtual one, due to the sheer weight of people who prefer to use it to anything else.

IMHO our task as webmasters, is to (as nicely as possible), persuade people that they may find a better choice by using other advertising services and engines. Ecommerce is still in its infancy, comparatively speaking, and there are few economically viable ways of getting exposure for your site from the internet audience, unless you are a large national or multinational company who can afford to throw millions away on spray and pray advertising.

I find it quite interesting that the only SE I have seen advertising on TV is Ask, and yet my referrals from them are very low indeed!

Web_speed




msg:717787
 2:44 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.

Well then the rich parties would have taken multi million dollar adwords campaigns and flood the right hand side columns, while the small parties are nowhere to be found (simply do not exist)....you see where we are going with this? Do you understand what is wrong with this picture? .....google will probably label the big parties as advertisers and the small parties as spammers when asked why.

It's just ain't right not to mention anti democratic & anti competitive. The public should be made fully aware of your filtering policies (right there at the bottom of your SERPs).

Can you do that? off course you can! BUT you must disclose to the public using your service the fact that you are actively blocking all small parties from appearing on these search results. Saying otherwise, or saying nothing IS simply misleading (and probably illegal in many countries, under product/policies disclosure laws).

I could not find any “terms of service” or “privacy policy” on google SERPs….Yahoo & MSN has them right there at the bottom of every page. You have to really dig them up when it comes to Google, and when you do find it, it is as blurry as blurry can be.

Miop




msg:717788
 3:02 pm 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.>

Google has built a brand image (how?) which has pulled in customers (i.e. searchers) and marketers (sites).
I can't speak for small businesses, but in my case, I just built a site, submitted it to search engines, and waited. The traffic grew organically, with 90% of referrals coming from Google. You don't have to build your web site to be totally reliant on Google traffic, it just ends up that way because that is the brand that Google has built and which people prefer.

<So what does that have to do with camp followers and freeloaders crying because they are not making enough money when it changes direction? >

Who are the freeloaders and followers? You could argue that Google freeloaded billions of dollars from us by using our (free) data to build a massive company, which was previously just a small bunch of computer programmers!
In any case, I doubt that many people just thought they would 'freeload' on Google - it is just necessary to be in Google's index because as you say, that is the preferred choice of searchers. The Adwords argument doesn't really fly yet, because still most people click on the free listings, so it is the free listings that you have to show up in to get a reasonable amount of traffic. If Google doesn't want freeloaders, it will charge for an entry to the index, but at the moment, it continues with the symbiotic relationship of not charging webmasters for the data which attracts its advertisers and investors.

<Google has made changes and is still the global search leader.>

We have noticed the changes before the users will notice because we are seeing mass referrals.

<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.>

People don't consciously pin everything on one source - and I would hardly call it taking advantage if the way things are at the moment means that people *must* be in Google to get any kind of business. This situation has itself grown 'organically' - millions of businesses are now dependant on Google for their income - as I understand it many businesses have actually had to lay people off or close because of the recent Algo changes - that is the reality. I believe that the time has come to acknowledge this reality and address it.
Google - millions of businesses are dependant on you, and provide you with revenue - what are you going to do to build a proper business relationship with these people?

<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.>

Sorry, but I do not understand why people cannot see that Google has a business relationship with its data providers. No data, no index, no shareholders, no profits.
IMV that means they have a duty to liase with those businesses instead of acting like some kind of Big Brother who just issues pronouncements once in a while. Having said that they also appear to be treating their shareholders with contempt too, so hopefully they may come to realise that at the end of the websites or the money they are given, there *are* real people with whom they willingly or not, struck up a 'business relationship'.
What's more if they insist on blasting round the world telling governments they are too slow in getting Broadband installed (because they want to promote their business), they deserve to be called to account when they cause businesses to fail due to *their* policies.

Google are currently paying the price for this kind of arrogance in the form of a slump in share prices, for inadequate communications (refusing to give growth forecast info to investors and what observers are calling a 'corporate no-guidance policy') - I can only hope that they learn something from it, but *still* I note that there is nothing in the news headlines about webmasters who have gone down the pan due to Google's 'no-guidance' policy. Still, as you say, we are not paying for anything so why should anyone be interested?

(not all this directed at your comments - just wanted to get things out!)

europeforvisitors




msg:717789
 3:10 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

*still* I note that there is nothing in the news headlines about webmasters who have gone down the pan due to Google's 'no-guidance' policy.

What about those who have moved up in the rankings to replace those who have gone down or disappeared? As has often been said, Google listings aren't a zero-sum game.

And Google doesn't have a "'no-guidance' policy." Google publishes Webmaster guidelines, and it has even begun to e-mail warnings to owners of seemingly legitimate site who use shady SEO techniques. (Predictably, some Webmaster World members have complained that such attempts to be helpful are "spam.") I'm sure the black hats would love to have Google spell out every detail of its algorithm to make their reverse engineering easier, but let's be realistic: That would be like taping the vault's combination next to the bank's front door.

Miop




msg:717790
 3:15 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Further to what I wrote above, I've just read that Google wants everyone to give them their hard drive data to store in order to make a universally accessible database of information which will be more secure than the users own copy! (though I note that the report was 'leaked' and not released!) Should I ask what's in it for them?
I sincerely hope that people refuse to participate in this project, or request that they be paid for the use of data.

NB. No way would I want my hard drive stored by Google, but I guess that would mean that I must have something to hide. :)

[contractoruk.com...]

RichTC




msg:717791
 3:18 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think some here are missing the point here

Google is now valued at more than a large country! as a result it does what it likes to stuff who it likes in its quest to a) continue domination and b) increase revenues.

It is us the webmasters that have helped it in its quest to dominate and put the company up there.

The real problem is that it does not currently have a viable competitor in the market that could change things. In the UK google in one shape or another control about 80% of all search requests done, no other search engine comes close and thats why it can do well, just about what it likes without recourse

Unless the market can be more balanced with a number of competitors offering a search service imo the google serps will remain "just ok" with a continual bias towards getting every site to buy more adwords.

In fact they are one step away from charging for search bot spidering - im sure they will have thought of that already, if wasnt for the fact that sites would say B@@locks to them im sure they would try that tact also!

Finally, ask yourselves this - Has search from google improved since 1998? i dont think so. All that has changed is that Google has managed to learn how to make it more difficult for a site to rank and to rank for a range of related keywords without buying/ increasing your adwords quota.

Once if a site was an authority about "Blue widgets" it would rank for that and "Blue Widget", "Your blue widget", My blue widget" and "everyones blue widget" etc, etc but now its a case of buying adwords to cover all of these options because to rank for them all is unlikely.

The result to the searcher is that for certain string searches sites that are highly relevent that should come up dont for half the time unless the site is there for adwords, so search is not so good.

For webmasters your free traffic that you use to average down the cost of the adwords program is slowly being eroded away until you get very little free search traffic at all.

[edited by: tedster at 4:54 pm (utc) on Mar. 12, 2006]

buckworks




msg:717792
 3:26 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

people *must* be in Google to get any kind of business

If you're not getting traffic except from Google then you *must* ramp up your other promotional activities to strengthen your foundations and safeguard your own survival.

Some people may need to develop (or hire) a whole new skill set to achieve that.

bobmark




msg:717793
 3:33 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yeah, I agree RichTC.

The main problem for us is the lack of balance in the SE market.

As to those who say Google is not a monopoly, they have defacto monopoly status and a greater level of concentration than Bell did when it was broken up under anti-trust law (course that was then. With the current climate in Washington, I think you have to have 99.9% of a market to even get a look by the Justice department :)

Again, the yellow pages is not the example; TV Guide when it was the choice of the majority of North American TV Viewers is.

europeforvisitors said "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."

hmmmm. I am the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis and TV Guide says to me "Well, yes all your listings disapeared but we MAY have found something in them that didn't meet our standards. Well, no, we don't know what it is and we can't put them back right away but if you really, really look hard and arbitrarily change anything you can think of in your program listings that might cause us a problem maybe we might re-include them in 3 months or so.

Oh yeah. We're also changing our database and your and other stations program guides may disappear one week, be back the next but be giving the listings from a year ago, them be gone again. Please bear with us - its not easy doing this, you know!"

Yeah, right - that's how you do business. And of course since its Google, my poor Minneapolis NBC station doesn't even get the courtesy of this conversation, just a blank wall of silence.

Miop




msg:717794
 3:34 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

<What about those who have moved up in the rankings to replace those who have gone down or disappeared? As has often been said, Google listings aren't a zero-sum game.>

Well yes, but then it is a foregone conclusion that businesses will make money from being listed in G, but not that they might go bust!

<And Google doesn't have a "'no-guidance' policy." >

In the world of investors, it does - it appears to treat them the same as it treats us, i.e. saying little and just leaking information now and again.

[fin24.co.za...]

<Google publishes Webmaster guidelines, and it has even begun to e-mail warnings to owners of seemingly legitimate site who use shady SEO techniques. (Predictably, some Webmaster World members have complained that such attempts to be helpful are "spam.") >

The guidelines are very loose, and as some people have pointed out, not even true in some cases. The sending of emails is very good news, but it doesn't help people whose sites have simple fallen dramatically in the SERPS, but with no obvious explanation as to why, or penalised sites, and not all banned sites have ever been given an explanation. The presumption seems to have been that they knew what they were doing was against the rules, but I know at least two cases where that isn't true.

<I'm sure the black hats would love to have Google spell out every detail of its algorithm to make their reverse engineering easier, but let's be realistic: That would be like taping the vault's combination next to the bank's front door. >

Why does it have to be a vault? If the guidelines were obvious, then black hats would be obvious, and white hats would have a better chance. But also, we all know some black-hats that are doing very well in the SERPS -
G's algo evidently does not filter out black-hats (even though the 'guidance' clearly states what is black-hat) - perhaps it would help if it did.

Miop




msg:717795
 3:40 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

<If you're not getting traffic except from Google then you *must* ramp up your other promotional activities to strengthen your foundations and safeguard your own survival.

Some people may need to develop (or hire) a whole new skill set to achieve that. >

I agree with that, but we are still in the situation where most people use G to find what they are looking for.
My site is not new - it ranks well in all SE's and I have spent thousands on listings in (decent) directories, ppc advertising (including Adwords) and space on relevant quality sites. The fact is that I get very few referrals from any of them because people are not looking there.

rbacal




msg:717796
 3:47 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

miop
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!

There's something to that argument. BUT, remember that when you give access, you do so voluntarily. The irony, and perhaps the real truth on some of these comments is I'm willing to bet that almost ZERO of the people complaining have NOT excluded the googlebots, and "pulled access".

That said, here's a reiteration of something I wrote in a nother thread.

1) Google is not interested in where any SINGLE website places in SERPS. It's irrelevant to them. Their concern is that the results are what searchers are looking for and will be satisfied with, and NOT which sites are in the top ten, or whatever.
2) It's a zero sum game. There will always be winners and losers. A change means some winners will lose and some losers will win. And hence there will always be unhappy webmasters.

Finally, google may "owe" something, in some way to the aggregate of web owners, but it owes nothing to any individual web owner.

Personally, I occasionally wonder at the complexity of search engines, and worry about the power concentrated in the hands of google, and lesser extent yahoo, msn. But short of more search engines entering the competitive market, etc, I don't believe there is a solution that won't have horrible side effects.

Like I said before, the Internet (and SERPS) are always moving around and shifting, and if you can't or don't want to cope with the realities that exist, then perhaps you're in the wrong business. Yes -- it's got risk attached to it (I just had one site disappear completely after years in the SERPS). Yes, a business dependent on a website could be crippled by changes beyond your control.

Google, in particular, has helped make many webmasters wealthy -- sometimes people making money on the web could never make the kind of money they make doing something else. The hard truth is that there are a fair number of webmasters making money online (and from google) who have limited skill sets, knowledge and even ability that could not be used to make the same income off the net.

I don't like the way things are either. In the market economy we have, I don't see easy solutions. So I, (and you) have a choice. If you can't deal with the uncertainty, you need to look at other non-internet ways to make a living, if you are capable.

rbacal




msg:717797
 3:56 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

hmmmm. I am the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis and TV Guide says to me "Well, yes all your listings disapeared but we MAY have found something in them that didn't meet our standards. Well, no, we don't know what it is and we can't put them back right away but if you really, really look hard and arbitrarily change anything you can think of in your program listings that might cause us a problem maybe we might re-include them in 3 months or so.

It's goofy on the surface of it. Except when you think about it. The TV Guide is more like a directory, not a search engine. Since google operated algorithmically (there's no other reasonable way to index millions or perhaps billions of pages), it's NOT like the TV Guide.

I know it sounds weird but Google DOESN'T know why a particular site or web page doesn't rank well in it's algo driven system. The whole point of algos is that it's not necessary to actually humanly look at each page, and it's not necessary to know how a change in the algo will affect any specific page or site.

Anymore than it's necessary for the phone company to call each phone number and manually ask who lives there to verify its phone book listing.

Miop




msg:717798
 4:11 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

<< miop
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!>>

<There's something to that argument. BUT, remember that when you give access, you do so voluntarily.>

Well sort of - the spider comes and scavenges the information regardless, unless you specifically tell it that it can't therefore it is taking advantage of any data that it is allowed to gather. It's not even as if it only comes because you've asked it to - it comes regardless.
I have a site under construction (which has not been submitted to any SE's) that it has scooped up because I didn't have the foresight to ban googlebot from it until it was finished. I'd guess it's something that people don't think is likely to happen.?

<The irony, and perhaps the real truth on some of these comments is I'm willing to bet that almost ZERO of the people complaining have NOT excluded the googlebots, and "pulled access".>

Indeed - I certainly didn't when my site suffered though I felt like it - I just couldn't afford to lose what little traffic was left.

<That said, here's a reiteration of something I wrote in a nother thread.

<1) Google is not interested in where any SINGLE website places in SERPS. It's irrelevant to them. Their concern is that the results are what searchers are looking for and will be satisfied with, and NOT which sites are in the top ten, or whatever.>

I'd agree with that.

<2) It's a zero sum game. There will always be winners and losers. A change means some winners will lose and some losers will win. And hence there will always be unhappy webmasters.>

IMV the problem is that is *is* a game. Again I will say that I do not know any other field of business where such games are played and I'm not sure if people in business want to play such games (well maybe SEO's get a thrill out of it! :)

<Finally, google may "owe" something, in some way to the aggregate of web owners, but it owes nothing to any individual web owner.>

The aggregate of web owners is the sum of its parts. That's just the way it is.

<Personally, I occasionally wonder at the complexity of search engines, and worry about the power concentrated in the hands of google, and lesser extent yahoo, msn. But short of more search engines entering the competitive market, etc, I don't believe there is a solution that won't have horrible side effects.>

What kind of side effects?
Directory sites manage to create effective lists of businesses out there by simply ordering the information somehow. Relying on algorythms to determine which is the most relevant seems very complex and perhaps unnecessary to me. Directories allow you to specify the keywords which you want your site to be found for - there is no need to black-hat them.

<nd SERPS) are always moving around and shifting, and if you can't or don't want to cope with the realities that exist, then perhaps you're in the wrong business. Yes -- it's got risk attached to it (I just had one site disappear completely after years in the SERPS). Yes, a business dependent on a website could be crippled by changes beyond your control.

Google, in particular, has helped make many webmasters wealthy -- sometimes people making money on the web could never make the kind of money they make doing something else. The hard truth is that there are a fair number of webmasters making money online (and from google) who have limited skill sets, knowledge and even ability that could not be used to make the same income off the net.>

That doesn't mean we have to resign ourselves to being treated as if we don't exist.
Can you imagine what would happen if Google banned E*ay from the listings?!

<I don't like the way things are either. In the market economy we have, I don't see easy solutions. So I, (and you) have a choice. If you can't deal with the uncertainty, you need to look at other non-internet ways to make a living, if you are capable. >

I've come from a non-Internet business which almost failed because the world has changed so much that it is hard for people with little or no capital to break into business in non-Internet ways.
I don't see why we have to resign ourselves to the uncertainty - Google evidently wants to play in the non-Internet world (by floating) - now would be a good time to say that perhaps different rules should apply.
This is a market economy as you say, and we have a resource of marketable value.
If we ourselves are not prepared to set any rules or conditions, then I guess we get what we deserve.
I can't see it happening though - too many of us are one man bands who rely on G for a very basic standard of living.

europeforvisitors




msg:717799
 4:12 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

As usual, rbacal has hit the nail(s) on the head.

I'd add that Google's founders probably never envisioned the Google Search index as a tool to help sellers make money. Their focus obviously was (and is) on the user--which is why, for example, it makes perfect sense for Google to filter duplicate content such as boilerplate affiliate pages or product catalog pages from the index even if that leads to teeth-gnashing and economic pain for Webmasters who have built businesses around Google's search results.

Contrary to general opinion here, Google isn't a business directory, and it has no obligation to list every Web page of every business--or even any Web page of any business--that hopes to profit from Google's search audience. I say that as a Web publisher who lost 70-90% of his Google referrals for two months last year.

What's more, changes in the offline world can hurt businesses just as much as changes in the Google index do, and businesses live or die with that fact every day. If you own a diner on Main Street and McDonald's moves in next door, or if you're a bookseller across the street from a mall where Barnes & Noble has just opened a new store, you need to adapt or find another way to make a living. (And in the Google world--unlike the offline world--there's always the chance that your rankings and revenues will return in a few months even if you're lacking in imagination, capital, and business skills.)

Miop




msg:717800
 4:36 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

<I'd add that Google's founders probably never envisioned the Google Search index as a tool to help sellers make money. Their focus obviously was (and is) on the user--which is why, for example, it makes perfect sense for Google to filter duplicate content such as boilerplate affiliate pages or product catalog pages from the index even if that leads to teeth-gnashing and economic pain for Webmasters who have built businesses around Google's search results.>

But the reality is that Google *now* is a business tool because it has evolved that way.

<Contrary to general opinion here, Google isn't a business directory, and it has no obligation to list every Web page of every business--or even any Web page of any business--that hopes to profit from Google's search audience. I say that as a Web publisher who lost 70-90% of his Google referrals for two months last year.>

It currently has no legal obligation, no - I am saying that since Google has evolved into a business directory and has used our businesses as *the* resource for making 21 billion dollars, it *does* have an obligation to the businesses who are the contributors to Google.
Would they have made 21 billion dollars (or even a penny) had it been a SE full of say academic info or personal websites only? The google index is a money-spinner for Google *because* it contains our business resources.

Miop




msg:717801
 4:42 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

<If you own a diner on Main Street and McDonald's moves in next door, or if you're a bookseller across the street from a mall where Barnes & Noble has just opened a new store, you need to adapt or find another way to make a living. (And in the Google world--unlike the offline world--there's always the chance that your rankings and revenues will return in a few months even if you're lacking in imagination, capital, and business skills.) >

If a new store opens next to you, you can move your store elsewhere, or try to compete by cutting prices. That situation already exists wrt your competitors in the SERPS. This is more akin to turning up one day to find that someone has boarded up your bookshop and removed its listing from the phonebook, but without telling you why or what you can do about it.

I'm not sure that when anyone submits their site to Google, they view Google as a competitor in itself.

theBear




msg:717802
 4:48 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Web_speed, then Google could also not accept political ads. Sort of like newspapers huh?

End of your problems.

Everyone here is arguing from extremely biased viewpoints.

It is time you develop what in the bricks and mortar world is known as a brand and for you to also put together a means of generating traffic.

If that requires that you buy or sprout a new skill set so be it. Those in the bricks and mortar world who don't are doomed to the bankruptcy scrap heap.

There they will find a lot of company.

Traffic man it all about building traffic, that means many paths not one.

bobmark




msg:717803
 4:51 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

um ... europeforvisitors and rbacal.

1) Your arguments might make sense if other SE's didn't function without the chaos, arbitrary exclusions and general screwups that characterize Google. You guys make it sound like its just so complex we shouldn't criticise Google's incessant failures.
2) Once TV Guide got out of the manual typewriter and printer galleys age, they didn't read every program listing either. Your point is invalid. You think it isn't complicated maintaining a db with program guides for virtually all local TV stations in the North American market AND getting that to print and disributed every week? Maybe TVGuide should give up TV and go into SE; they seem to know how to deliver a product, unlike Google.

"Contrary to general opinion here, Google isn't a business directory, and it has no obligation to list every Web page of every business--or even any Web page of any business--that hopes to profit from Google's search audience."

Once you have a defacto monopoly, responsibilites change, as any regulatory agency or anti-trust lawyer will tell you. I don't care what lofty populist goals Google claims they had when they started: through aggressive marketing, consolidation and M&A Google has sought to dominate the SE world. No regulator cared what Bell did to their customers when they were one of many competitive players; when they exceeded 60% of the market, things changed.

europeforvisitors




msg:717804
 5:06 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

No regulator cared what Bell did to their customers when they were one of many competitive players;

Are you now suggesting that business owners who have managed to get free listings in the Google search index are Google's "customers"? That's pretty farfetched.

Advertisers = Google's customers

Searchers = Google's end users

Webmasters = Neither of the above

Miop




msg:717805
 5:09 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

<Are you now suggesting that business owners who have managed to get free listings in the Google search index are Google's "customers"? That's pretty farfetched.>

They didn't manage to get free listings - they are free by default.

<Advertisers = Google's customers

Searchers = Google's end users

Webmasters = Neither of the above >

Webmasters of commercial sites are advertisers, aren't they?

europeforvisitors




msg:717806
 5:24 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Webmasters of commercial sites are advertisers, aren't they?

Some are (though many aren't), but they aren't customers in the context of organic search results.

WebFusion




msg:717807
 5:37 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

From you talk I suppose that you don't have laws against unfair trade conditions in your country. In my country and I think that in the whole European Union there are laws that regulate market functioning, that's why Microsoft has pennalties in European Union, did you know?

That's no comparison bud. The fact that google built a better search engine, and gained the vast majority of market share DOES NOT make them a monopoly. Anyone with the resources necessary can try and make a better search engine anytime they want -there is nothing preventing them from doing so. Don't confuse good marketing with unfair trade. The first search engine that can provide me with a better search experience get's my business as a user. Period.

Google has no right to benefit A instead of B without telling why A is better than B.

What a LOAD. Google is a BUSINESS. They can rank whatever site they want whatever way they want. A statement like that is like saying that you have no right to choose who advertises on your site. if I came along and told you that my site is the most relevant site to your market, and you have no right not to drive free traffic to it, what would you say?

Get real people.

andrea99




msg:717808
 5:48 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think Google has improved considerably when it comes to their ugly habit of destroying businesses and lives willy nilly. They are learning and will probably survive because they can and do improve. I'm pulling for them, but they still do have a long way to go.

They are in fact, the leading edge of the experiment that is the internet (which intersects exactly in many places with the experiment that is "our civilization").

I said early on that Google needed to communicate more and better with the people they affect and who populate their SERPS. They have and they continue to do so, but they are not perfect and I will not be happy until they are. And all you apologists who think their imperfections are something we should live with because "Google owes you nothing" are totally insignificant to me. I have a very low opinion of you and ignore you as best I can while I try to help Google improve.

rbacal




msg:717809
 5:54 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

If a new store opens next to you, you can move your store elsewhere, or try to compete by cutting prices. That situation already exists wrt your competitors in the SERPS. This is more akin to turning up one day to find that someone has boarded up your bookshop and removed its listing from the phonebook, but without telling you why or what you can do about it.

Uh. No. Nobody boarded up your store. Bad part of the analogy. What is closer is removing from the phone book. It's really related to the marketing function, and not whether your site is boarded, up which it isn't.

As for "moving" your store elsewhere, perhaps you are missing the possibility of moving off the Internet. You have that option -- open a bricks and boards, or some other variation that isn't internet reliant. But, of course, the issue would be whether the owner has the skills or even a business model that survives in the non-virtual world.

And, as for options, it's a marketing problem/issue. People are used to "free marketing" via the search engines, so the prospect of paying to market in whatever media isn't happy making. But it IS how the rest of the commerce world works. Why do we expect the Internet to be different, where we expect free customers sent directly to our doors?

But there IS a bottom line, which I think is underneath much of this. I think that probably the MAJORITY (at least 50%) of businesses or money generating enterprises, simply could not survive if they had to make significant investment in paid marketing. The models often suck big time, and depend on free customers coming in at least to browse.

It's commerce bottom-feeding, which is only sustainable due to low overhead.

bobmark




msg:717810
 6:16 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

LOL You guys focused on use of the word "customers" taking it slightly out of context as it was in a different paragraph.

Actually we are the producers of all Google content as I had said B4. We are unpaid in a formal sense, although there is, presumably, an exchange of value in referrals. To continue with the analogy, had TV Guide chosen to arbitrarily exclude program listings from selected stations, does anyone think they wouldn't have drawn the attention of federal regulators?

As to WebFusion's "What a LOAD. Google is a BUSINESS. They can rank whatever site they want whatever way they want. A statement like that is like saying that you have no right to choose who advertises on your site."

Without getting into the ideological background:
What right does the U.S. Federal Government have to tell Walmart they have to carry the "morning after pill" in markets where they have a defacto monopoly? Well they did, so I guess they think there are broader issues and those issues focus on the responsibilities of companies when they achieve near monopoly status.

We're all familiar with the myriad court decisions you can find every year which you can lump under the general heading of "retstraint of trade" ... media companies forced to handle content they would prefer not to, etc.

Google chose to use various means to dominate the SE market. Do that and you operate under different rules.

Related to this, one disturbing issue that is emerging with Google Adsense/words is their handling of what amounts to spam sites in the form of the "fake directory" sites (the ones who simply spider the web, put up a list of links with ZERO original content solely to generate Adwords clicks). Google has chosen to define these sites as legitimate (apparently exempting them from dup content and other website guidelines) and accepts their dollars for Ad Sense advertising (as I see them showing up all the time) as well as their click-thrus.

So we have a case where the company providing the majority of search results also seeks to provide the majority of advertising and then offers preferential treatment to content providers who also advertise. Sounds a lot like some of the Microsoft anti-trust case issues, huh?

WebFusion




msg:717811
 8:13 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

They have and they continue to do so, but they are not perfect and I will not be happy until they are. And all you apologists who think their imperfections are something we should live with because "Google owes you nothing" are totally insignificant to me.

Don't seem to recall EVER having said google was perfect. As a matter of fact, I think their relevance nosedived quite some time ago, and I don't use it much anymore.

Having said that, let's be realistic. The complaints so often posted here are much less reflective on the lack of google's quality than they are a reflection on the inherent weakness of a business model that can only survive if it can be delivered leads for free, regardless of the source. The fact that google is (at this time) the orginiator of the vast majority of free leads is (IMO) secondary.

Does google have signifcant relevancy/spam/index problems? You bet. Am I happy with the current state of the serps? Not hardly. But....the premise of this thread was started with a question asking what the "value" of google is if you can't rely on them. The answer for a TRULY successful web-based business should make the ASSUMPTION that free traffic from google, or any engine for that matter, is only valuable as an auxillary traffic source. Any marketing channel, not matter how dominant, should never factor into a primary pillar of a sound marketing plan if you can not excercise any control over it.

The truth is, if you can't quantify the overall value of each and every visitor that visits your site so as to be able to implement profitable (and stable) sources of PAID traffic that delivers a sound ROI, than your business is already in trouble, and google has nothing to do with it.

If you take that as "apologizing" for a company who's product has severely deteriorated, than you've missed my point. Google is, IMHO, broken....but that does not make them in any way responsible for the financial difficulties that those who've built their businesses on quicksand are expericing. I've has a site MIA in google since last July....and yet it still makes $$$.

Imagine that.

andrea99




msg:717812
 8:35 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

They have and they continue to do so, but they are not perfect and I will not be happy until they are. And all you apologists who think their imperfections are something we should live with because "Google owes you nothing" are totally insignificant to me.

Don't seem to recall EVER having said google was perfect. As a matter of fact, I think their relevance nosedived quite some time ago, and I don't use it much anymore.


You probably never said Google was perfect and neither did I. You appear to be saying that Google has no value, at least to you. Ok, you're entitled to that opinion and perhaps for you it's true. If that's not your point then you're right--I've missed your point.

Google is of value to me and I continue to work to improve that value.

blueeagle




msg:717813
 10:11 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

4 years ago google helped me with free listing into the business. After Florida update I was gone. Since than I was looking for a way how to get back. Before Florida I had many visits truth free listing and I did not care about revenue from this visits. After Florida everything changed totally. I was not able to pay ad words because my sites were not competitive enough. I have started to improve the quality of my sites to get back to the free listings and to get max revenue from low number of visits I got truth free listings and another advertisements.
Today I can say I am back. Our free listings is still not back but I am able to compete on ad words. I can buy a NR. 2 position for a 28,800,000 search, the price for this position is €2 and I still make %100 profit for this position.
If I would get back free listings that would be great, but I have learned how to survive without Google free serps and I am very proud for this.
Google thanks.

Kirby




msg:717814
 10:25 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

>Only ten can be page 1

Change your search preferences to 100. That will help 90 more get on page 1.

Google is a tool, not a business plan.

paintbox




msg:717815
 10:26 pm on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

From what has been said above I conclude:

Google can do whatever they like with their own search engine. They are under no obligation to anyone.

Google now (quite legally) has a near monopoly on internet search.

Personally I see a huge problem here.

Google currently has the power to make or break thousands of companies through an ever so slight tweak of their algorithm. This power is given to them by the end users simply by their (very often completely unwitting) choice of search engine.

What if people are using Google just out of habit, just because they don't know of any other possibilities, just because they don't realize that they are unwittingly helping to build a monster monopoly?

I am surprised the news media show so little interest in what is going on in this area. Why have they not jumped on Google's saga of problems with canonical issues that have caused legitimate sites to rank poorly through no fault of their own for a very long time? Why have they not exposed the fact that thousands of legitimate pages have suddenly gone supplemental for weeks, wiping out hordes of companies simply because of a "glitch" in Google’s system? If people knew that lots of valuable pages have in fact been missing from the serps for weeks, they might just start giving other SEs a chance.

Is Google really the “best” search engine? Why do most people believe it is? Is it because they haven’t heard anything to suggest the contrary? Is it because millions of web browsers cannot be wrong? - Of course they can be wrong! The many millions of people who ruin their health by overeating junk food are hardly doing so because they are making the “best” choice!

Google will be of value to webmasters (those of them that manage to get lucky) as long as the end users go on trusting them. Once the end users start having doubts that Google is serving consistent and reliable serps things may change very quickly.

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